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From Yorkes to New York


A small Catholic school on Yorke Peninsula is playing its part on the big stage through its participation in a project that supports and empowers families through music.

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Staff and students at St Columba’s Memorial School at Yorketown have been involved in the Lullaby Project Australia which involves professional musicians working with local communities and families to create lullabies.

Originating in New York, the Lullaby Project was established in Australia in 2019 by Connecting the Dots in Music and is delivered through an international partnership with Carnegie Hall.

Late last year Lullaby Project Australia partnered with SYP Community Hub and with funding from Country Arts SA and Arts South Australia was able to deliver a Lullaby Project across the Southern Yorke Peninsula.

The project’s coordinator was St Columba’s school counsellor Molly Flanagan.

The project created 23 songs which were performed live in Edithburgh on November 25 and are now available on digital platforms. The songs are also featured in a Lullabies of Yorke Peninsula songbook designed and illustrated by project participant, artist and local mother Ashleigh Abbott.

Molly said St Columba’s was instrumental in supporting the project as staff, students and school community all became involved.

Education Support Officer Gabi Schmidt wrote ‘Who I Am’ a song of affirmation inspired by her upbringing and the children she works with day to day.

The 2023 Reception class with their teacher Jorja Warwick and ESO Gabi Schmidt at the piano.

The 2023 Reception class added their “beautiful voices” to the recording of Gabi’s lullaby.

Another of the project songs, ‘Mama’s Lullaby’, was co-written by St Columba’s chaplain Katie Hughes, with the support of Lullaby artists Sarah Johnson, Liam Smith, Caleb Raymond and Meggie Moon.

“While most lullabies are for babies, this one is for the mums,” Molly said.

“It pays tribute to the enormity of the transition into motherhood and sings words of solidarity from the voice of the village needed to raise a child.

“It was inspired by Katie’s own mother’s group and the New Mama Meet Up group which Katie runs weekly from St Columba’s.

‘Mama’s Lullaby’ has been selected to represent Lullaby Project Australia and at the annual Lullabies of the World concert at Carnegie Hall in New York on June 1.

In the lead up to the concert some of the SYP artists and community workers involved, including Molly, have been invited with Katie to attend a three-day conference at Carnegie Hall.

The conference brings project partners together from across the world to share knowledge and engage with industry experts in collaborative community arts practice.

Molly said it was a “unique and incredibly valuable professional development opportunity” and would enable her to bring back new skills, ideas and connections to Yorke Peninsula and St Columba’s Memorial School.

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