I was always really excited for the trip. I think being a Community Leader in the past had grown my passion for the idea of Girls from Oz, but looking back, I think many of us AGC girls had very little idea of what actually happens on the g-oz programs.
As choristers, we often hear about the confidence that g-oz nurtures in the girls through their programs, just as our time in the choir has done for us. But a week in Halls Creek highlighted both the reality and importance of this for me. One place I saw a snippet of this growth in confidence was in our friendships with the girls in Halls Creek. On the first days we met them, some were a bit shy and kept their distance, but you never would’ve guessed this from the sounds of all of us belting “Rather Be” in the back of the troopies en route to the Bungles only a few days later.
The impact of the g-oz program in the community was also clear to me just from watching all the different people come through the door at our first joint performance at the school. Parents, brothers and sisters, school teachers, grandparents, past participants and other members of the community all came together to see their girls perform. I have to admit, I did have an emotional moment when the final chorus to “I Am Australian” was sung. Lyrics like “we are one” and “we sing with one voice” took on a whole new meaning for me in that context. Even though us AGC kids had only been there for a few days, I felt extremely lucky to be even a very small part in an environment grown with much care over such a long time.
The friendships that I formed in the Kimberley enriched my understanding of the g-oz program by making it much more personal. The Halls Creek girls that I spent a week with all had such incredible personalities which left me with many memories that I’m still telling my friends and family today. With the zest and resilience that the girls already have, I can’t begin to imagine how much further they could go if g-oz week was every week! During my week in the Kimberley I was shown how good Performing Arts is at engaging the girls in school and with each other, and (as cheesy as it sounds), how good it is at bringing people together across Australia and across cultures.
It was a truly special and unique experience that 10 of us AGC girls got to have which I wish many more girls in the AGC and beyond could have as well. Returning home I feel newly grateful for the opportunities I have and the ability to share these with others. I have also formed a deeper respect for remote communities and Australia’s first people.
By Catrin Wood, AGC Shining in the Kimberley touring chorister (NSW)