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July 2016

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The Western Health Choir performing at the annual volunteer appreciation function.

Corridors resound with the sound of music

Every Thursday afternoon at Sunshine Hospital, the sweet sound of voices singing in unison can be heard coming from the building’s auditorium.

The weekly rehearsals of the Western Health choir are now a regular fixture at the hospital.

Visitors, patients and staff regularly tell the choristers how much they love hearing the rehearsal music drift into the corridors near the auditorium.

The choir and the Royal Children’s Hospital choir are believed to be the only hospital staff choirs in Victoria.

The Western Health choir began in 2014 when staff from the health service with experience in community choirs sought a small grant from the Western Health Foundation to establish a hospital choir.

The grant funds a choirmaster for a few hours a week.

Dr Arlene Wake, one of the choir’s founders, said she wanted to introduce an activity for staff that was both joyful and relaxing.

The choir has brought people together from different areas of Western Health.

Its members include nurses, doctors, clerical staff, allied health staff and hospital volunteers.

‘A choir is great for your spirit and it’s an amazing leveller,’ said Dr Wake, Western Health’s community integration, allied health and service planning executive director.

The choir sings at formal and informal events at Sunshine Hospital.

It has performed at Western Health’s annual general meeting, at the annual lunch to honour the health service’s volunteers and at the hospital cafeteria.

Last year, the choir performed a Christmas walkabout, visiting hospital wards singing carols for patients, their families and ward staff.

This year they’re aiming to learn songs in other languages, such as Vietnamese.