The Melton Singers. (Photo: Aaron Verrocchi)

A voice for the voiceless

It’s a scientific fact that music can brighten our mood. Even sad songs somehow make us feel better through tough times. Melton resident Val Fisher recently found her salvation, accidentally, through music.

“For me, The Melton Singers has been a life-saver mentally and I can not imagine where I’d be without it,” she said.

Val is a local councillor and uses the power of music to help others. After starting up the Melton Singers, a group made up of people suffering mental health issues, Val says she has seen some lives dramatically changed, including her own.

“Some people in our group couldn’t get the motivation to get up in the morning,” she said, “and now (they) have a group that they can come to and can enjoy their life with.”

The Melton Singers aim is to offer a level of support to their members and most performances take place at aged care facilities in the western suburbs of Melbourne.

“I’ve seen people who can barely move but due to the enjoyment of our music can be seen making the slightest movement and tapping of hands,” she said, “which not only shows that we are helping them but also gives everyone in the group a reason to be happy. It’s a win-win situation.”

The Melton Singers. (Photo: Aaron Verrocchi)

Val says the fact that both the group and audience benefit from this is one of the reasons why it is a success.

“It’s a known fact that both singing and listening to music can benefit mental health and raise serotonin, which is the happiness chemical in the brain,” she said.

The group is not-for-profit and Val says seeing the happiness on people’s faces is better than any monetary reward.

“To see the residents in the aged care facilities who are both mentally and physically unwell, and the difference from the start to finish of our performance where they have joined in with our singing and having a dance, sometimes gives them hope and something to look forward to the next time we come back,” she said.

Val says the group makes her feel like she belongs and has helped her grow as an individual who’s has a tough life.

“The majority of us have mental health issues a lot of us suffer from low self esteem and low confidence,” she said. “I see people come in shy and barely sing and, as time goes on, they get more and more confident within themselves.”