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The power of music

Mikaela Sergi

It’s fitting that Palliative Care ACT is using ‘the power of music’ for its next big fundraising event.

On Saturday 3 June, Palliative Care ACT will launch its inaugural Power of Music Variety Concert at the Southern Cross Club to raise money for the organisation’s volunteer program.

The Palliative Care ACT is harnessing the power of music in two ways – firstly to raise money for its vital work and secondly in the charity’s day-to-day care for those with a life-limiting illness.

According to the organisation’s  CEO Gayle Sweaney, “music helps us to recall significant events in our lives and can evoke strong memories and emotions” and it is often an important part of a person’s journey to the end of their life.

The concert will feature accomplished vocalists and choirs including the Brindabella Chorus, Canberra Opera, Sing Australia, and Canberra soprano Louise Page OAM.


Louise Page, soprano, will be performing at the Palliative Care ACT concert.

Palliative Care ACT is a not-for-profit organization with volunteers and staff devoting their time through home-based and personal services and activities, giving sick people quality care to support them and their families.

Families such as Andrew and Ruth Terracini.

Diagnosed with a terminal illness, Ruth accessed the support of Palliative Care ACT volunteers when she moved into Clare Holland House.

According to Andrew “In a short time the volunteers become friends, and provided us someone to talk to who wasn’t going to ask about Ruth’s illness. As sad and devastating as it was to lose my beautiful wife Ruth, if it wasn’t for the services provided by Palliative Care ACT our final months and weeks together would not have been so loving and caring.”

The volunteers encouraged Ruth to listen to music as a form of relaxation.

“Ruth grew up loving music and learnt to play the flute from an early age. If it wasn’t for music, Ruth and I would not have met and ended up getting married (Andrew is a trumpet and piano player). Music was something that we shared together and as a couple could bring joy to others by playing at a number of family occasions. During her time at Clare Holland House music relaxed Ruth and made her smile. It brought us closer together.”

Palliative Care ACT is under constant pressure to supply care and increase its reach across the community – particularly in the areas of home care and personal based services.

According to Gayle, “80 per cent of people want to die in their own home and we are focused on supporting people with their dying wishes. We have increased the demand for home support over 400 per cent and have a waiting list.”

The organisation desperately requires funds to train more volunteers and provide this support to people at the end of their life.

For some, the chance to manage their illness within the comforting environment of home, is their only wish.

Gayle cites as an example “we recently had a referral for a volunteer to be with the young children after school so they can carry out the ‘normal’ activities as the young mum is too unwell to care for them full-time.”

Palliative Care ACT has 132 volunteers who help families manage life-limiting illness. With support of the community, Palliative Care staff, volunteers and sponsors hope the concert will “entertain, inspire and touch people’s hearts”.

the essential
What: The Power of Music Variety Concert
When: Saturday 3 June from 6.30pm-10pm
Where: Canberra Southern Cross Club, 92 Corinna Street, Phillip
Tickets: $40 for adults and $20 for kids (5-12)
To purchase tickets and for more information see Eventbrite


Mikaela Sergi

Mikaela Sergi enjoys all things creative and has recently joined the Her Canberra team. She enjoys music, health and wellbeing, and has a love for food. She is currently studying Journalism and Public Relations at University of Canberra and hopes to pursue a career within the industry. More about the Author