Songs of Hope lit up the Concert Hall on 6 June 2023 offering a heart-warming concert featuring some of Australia’s best performers and the opportunity to make a positive difference in the lives of young people of refugee backgrounds.
Casey Donovan, one of Australia’s most versatile and beloved entertainers, was the headline artist for the concert, joined by a host of special guest performers, in a joyous evening inspired by music and cultures from around the world.
In Songs of Hope, Casey performed alongside some of Australia’s most respected artists and ensembles including Matt Hsu’s Obscure Orchestra, electronic duo Zemzemeh, hip hop visionary Ozi Jarel, singer-songwriter Menaka Thomas, accompanied by Meg Burstow and Tsoof Baras, Multicultural Australia and QPAC’s MOSIAC Choir and the QPAC Chamber Choir.
QPAC has presented Songs of Hope (formerly Songs of Hope and Healing) annually since 2015 (apart from a two-year hiatus due to COVID) to raise awareness and funds for HEAL (Healing through Expressive Arts and Learning), a charity providing expressive arts therapies to young people from refugee backgrounds in Queensland.
Hosted by Queensland Poetry Slam champion and comedian Anisa Nanduala, audiences were invited to enjoy an evening of world music and connection, while supporting a great cause that’s close to home.
Anisa's hosting was a breath of fresh air, infusing the concert with her infectious energy and delivering a delightful and hilarious performance that kept the audience engaged and entertained throughout the night.
Previous HEAL participant Nasteho Mukhtar gave a deeply moving account of her journey as a refugee from Somalia. Her heartfelt poem beautifully captured her experiences and her appreciation for the transformative power of the arts and to HEAL for providing empowering spaces for individuals from refugee backgrounds.
The finale number Higher Love, featuring Casey Donovan performing alongside all 170 artists on stage, was an awe-inspiring spectacle that filled the Concert Hall with a soaring sense of unity, hope, and pure upliftment.
For the first time patrons had the opportunity to give the gift of live performance to a member of the Queensland refugee community who may otherwise not have been able to attend with the Pay it Forward ticket initiative helping make the arts accessible to all and connecting Queensland’s diverse cultural communities with the performing arts.
HEAL is part of QPASTT, Queensland’s specialist torture and trauma recovery service. The HEAL program supports over 270 newly-arrived refugee and asylum seeking children and young people each year, relying on community donations and fundraising to provide their services.
Through donations, including funds raised from QPAC’s concerts, HEAL has been able to support 3000 children of refugee backgrounds since 2004.
Co-CEO of HEAL and QPASTT Sally Stewart said that community members from refugee backgrounds have expressed how much they enjoyed Songs of Hope and the messages of welcome it conveyed.
“Many people from our communities saw aspects of their own journeys reflected on stage to a receptive Concert Hall – an acknowledgement that created a powerful sense of belonging for those present.”
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