The National Rural Health Alliance, the peak body for rural and remote health in Australia, recently launched a new virtual musical collaboration to better connect rural people during COVID-19.

The project is the work of Toowoomba songwriter, Josh Arnold’s Small Town Culture, Friends of the Alliance and the National Rural Health Alliance’s grassroots network of people and organisations from across rural Australia. People in rural and remote Australia will have the opportunity to contribute ideas for a song title and lyrics. The contributions will be collated and Josh will work with the participants to produce a unique and optimistic piece of music. Contributors will also have the opportunity to workshop ideas with Josh via Zoom.

“Times are challenging at the moment, with many rural people working on the front line providing essential services or working from home in isolation,” said Chair of Friends of the Alliance, Rachel Yates. “During this time of uncertainty we would like to bring something positive and uplifting for all rural people to enjoy.”

The project aims to help people in rural communities to lift their spirits during this time of isolation, as well as raise awareness of the benefits of music to improve mental health. It follows the success of ‘Better Together’, the first collaboration between Josh Arnold, conference delegates and Tasmanian primary school students which was performed at the 15th National Rural Health Conference in Hobart in 2019.

“I love music and I love collaborating with people,” said Josh Arnold. “Music is so important to our lives but more important right now than ever. Rural people have just faced the most devastating bushfires and drought and are now looking down the barrel of a worldwide pandemic.  This is why I’ve joined forces with Friends of the Alliance to create a song about hope, resilience and that fighting Aussie spirit.” Listen to a message from Josh Arnold via Youtube or visit the National Rural Health Alliance website for more information on how to contribute.

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