Sally Greenaway composes new project to share Canberra with the world | HerCanberra

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Sally Greenaway composes new project to share Canberra with the world

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Known for bringing beautiful music to life on the airwaves of ABC Classic, Canberra composer Sally Greenaway is working towards an ambitious new goal to bring attention to local music.

As part of a three-year ongoing video and audio project, Sally wants to make her music easily accessible to the world, in turn inspiring other artists to do the same.

“Music is one of those hard artforms,” she says. “Because I’m a composer I deal with music written down on a score and therefore it’s an abstract language where only those trained in music can read and understand…unless it’s performed, no one knows what it sounds like, only me in my head and a very select group.”

Spearheading the latest instalment of the recording project, which features the Luminescence Chamber Singers with Roland Peelman at the helm, Sally only has two choral pieces to go.

Inspired by the adversity faced during the 2019/20 Balck Summer BushFires, hailstorms, the COVID-19 Pandemic and the grief felt by Canberrans, Sally says her last two works explore the human condition and explore comfort through adversity.

“One of the pieces is called If I Could Have Given You A Note. It’s based on a poem by Canberra poet Sarah Rice and she wrote this stunning poem for somebody who passed away,” she says.

“The other piece is about the sense of community and wellbeing that you get when you are somebody singing with others in a group. It explores how a little note and a solo voice when it joins with other voices and the notes become many notes…it’s kind of like a musical version of community.”

However, after facing her own adversity during the COVID-19 pandemic, Sally needs the help of locals to finish the project.

“Because of COVID I have lost all of my income,” she says. “Even though Canberra is relatively unscathed in terms of COVID itself being actively transmitted in our community it seems that the arts industry is not really flourishing despite this amazing situation of good health in Canberra.”

Over the past 12 months, Sally has unsuccessfully applied for 14 arts grants. As the pandemic continues to impact the arts sector, she is worried the project will remain unfinished and she will leave Canberra’s story untold.

“Every musician and every artist is in this predicament… there are too many people applying for the amount of money that’s available and the money isn’t very good anyway,” she says.

“It might be $500 here or $1000 there which people think is a lot of money but not when you’ve lost thousands of dollars of income and you can’t pay your rent.”

Sally believes that funding bodies don’t always get the balance right in supporting full-time arts practitioners and as there are no grants specifically for the Canberra music arts community, she needs all the help she can get.

“I realised I needed to call on the community who loves music to see if they would like to personally choose where their tax-deductible money goes,” she says.

“This money doesn’t go to me, this is paying people in our arts community who are desperate to get funding, to keep them in work….to give them some sort of normality.”

Employing 21 professional arts practitioners, comprising musicians, film crew and audio engineers, a single $40 donation will help Sally cover the project costs, comprising professional award rates for the personnel involved in the project and venue hire.

With less than a week remaining to raise over $40,000, Sally hopes that she can complete the project so she can show the world the talent that is hidden in Canberra.

“How can we spread the talents of the creative community from Canberra, unless it’s distributed in some way?” says Sally.

“That’s what this project is all about, it’s about recording the music in a way that is easily shareable and is easily distributable at an incredibly high, professional level that stands up to the best artists around the world and so that it champions at the highest level possible what we can do here in Canberra.”

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