The Children's Hospital at Westmead hosted the launch of a history-making 80th anniversary fundraising concert on July 31.
The launch showcased the music therapy team at Westmead, together with performances by the exhilarating Male Voice Power Choir from Knox Grammar School.
The launch revealed the celebration concert program for 2019, as well as kicking off tickets sales and the fundraising appeal. A record amount is expected to be raised this year, after raising $30,000 for each of the previous two years. This year's massed concert in October is expected to play to a capacity audience at Sydney Town Hall.
The annual fundraising concerts have raised more than half a million dollars for The Children's Hospital at Westmead over recent decades.
Titled as "Celebration Sing Out! 80 Years", this year's event continues a tradition of Sydney Town Hall fundraising concerts by children and community members, with the first such charity concert held in 1939 for the aid of Polish refugees.
Fast forward 80 years to 2019 and 1000 singers and instrumentalists from Sydney and across NSW will gather once again to perform in what is possibly the largest community concert of the year. With their mission to raise much-needed funds for music therapy for the Children's Hospital at Westmead, the volunteer performers will harness the power of music and create a stunning visual and musical spectacle.
The singers and instrumentalists will span many age groups, from primary school all the way to some performers who will be in their eighties. The common bond will be a love of singing together and a shared commitment to supporting music therapy for children who are very sick in hospital.
Conducting the massed group of performers is special guest Brett Weymark, music director of the Sydney Philharmonia Choirs, based at Sydney Opera House. Celebration concerts founder and musical director is Mal Hewitt, OAM of Faulconbridge, who will be supported by Warren Fisher, director of choirs at Knox Grammar.
Mal Hewitt's drive to support music therapy stems from his own long, lonely and painful hospitalisation as a child, when music therapy was not developed. Since that time, it is now proven that the therapy contributes significantly to improving healing and happiness of sick children in hospital.
"It is an absolute privilege for me to help raise awareness and also much-needed funds for music therapy, by making music with children and adults who have such a love of singing and playing together," Mr Hewitt said.
"It's also an honour continuing an 80 year tradition of charity concerts in the historic Sydney Town Hall. I want to acknowledge the City of Sydney for their support and sponsorship since 1939."
The Launch of Celebration Sing Out! 80 Years fundraising and concert ticket sales took place in the Galleria at the Children's Hospital.