LOCAL music initiative Glenelg Shire Musical Mates 2020 has been celebrated state-wide with front woman Rosalea Collins getting a shout out on Melbourne ABC Radio’s Melbie awards.
The Facebook group began in March as a way to keep people connected through online music performances and has since become a huge local attraction with nearly 4000 members in the group enjoying community talent.
The success of the group has since been recognised with one of the group founders, Rosie Collins, nominated and winning the ABC Melbourne Radio’s weekly Melbie award.
The Melbie award was set up by ABC radio host Sammy J and is dedicated to local heroes throughout Victoria.
Glenelg Shire Musical Mates’ Rosalea Collins said the recognition was nice but the impact it has had on local community members is what it’s all about.
“I was nominated by Dean McLaren who has a cousin singing and he was saying he just loves seeing him sing again,” she said.
“It has just been so beautiful; so far there has been 918 posts of performances and from that there has been 113,600 likes, loves or care reacts and only three angry faces which were people who had accidentally clicked the wrong thing.
“The whole page is about positivity and we have deliberately kept it a COVID-free and isolation free zone so that it can be a musical respite of sorts.”
There were a number of musical contributors to the page with Ms Collins wanting to acknowledge that it has been a team effort to get it up and running.
Driving the administration of the group along with Ms Collins are other local music enthusiasts Kerri Colliver, Jarman Oakley, Jess Cook, Dean Outtram, Trish Thompson, Sophie Von Tunk and Dave Bartel.
“It’s definitely not just me running the page; Jarman Oakley is a driving force behind the scenes, he does all of the digital stuff,” she said.
“Not everyone has a family at home which makes connecting like this so important.
“I didn’t even know I was nominated until about 24 hours before I had to do the interview.
“It’s a volunteer-run group and it involves time and with it growing it’s getting busier so the support we’ve had from people is amazing.”
The driving force behind the group was connecting locals in a time of uncertainty and building a place where people can share and enjoy some community entertainment as a reprieve.
“So I was thinking about my friend who is a nurse heading to work and doing everything she can to help out when things were tough,” Ms Collins said.
“I kept thinking to myself I feel helpless, what can I do?
“I figured I could try and connect people musically, so I started asking some musical mates if they were keen and up for a bit of fun in these trying times to do a concert.
“It started on the Saturday night and we called it Safe and Sound to represent people at home and we had some acts on the Saturday nights and did that for about 11 weeks.
“We started to think maybe people who weren’t performing live would still like to have a go at getting their music on the page so we also started a mini gig which we called an open mike – it was very successful and so beautiful to see different people on the page singing.
“We had people who popped out of nowhere on the page like Karyn Barbary who people hadn’t seen sing since high school.”
The group has developed since its inception in March celebrating reconciliation week and Anzac Day in their own musical way.
“We also had an event for reconciliation week where Kerri Colliver organised for some Indigenous artists to play some sets which was amazing – we also had Trish Thompson play the bugle on Anzac Day,” she said.
“We’re aiming to continue building on the musical connections and hopefully develop face-to-face collaborations.
“We also hope to make a bit of an online choir out of it.”
When asked what has made the group so popular Ms Collins said its about locals and the community feeling to it has been a key factor to making people both comfortable and willing to get involved.
“In my interview with the guy on 774 radio he asked if he grabbed his ukulele and did a performance if he could put it on the page and I said actually no, because the whole point of it is people are seeing their mates on this page and the fact it’s local and for the community is a big reason why people like it,” she said.
“I also noted though that this sort of thing can work anywhere; any community can follow what we have done.”