Ave Maria, it’s a girl!
Something to sing about
Jim Eves (Caritas Australia) received a CD version of A Place to Call Home from Tess Crellin (singer) of St Clare’s School
By Kathleen Carmody
The theme of Project Compassion 2002 – A Place to Call Home – was so inspiring to Jenny McKendry of Taree that she set her feelings to music.
Jenny – who is a volunteer music teacher at St Clare’s Catholic School Taree – said she thought about how it must be for people who don’t have a place to call home, and the words and music just flowed.
“There was nothing profound about it. I was just in the car and started to hum the tune and … it just all fell onto the page,” she recalled.
Jenny’s song relates the feelings of being without a place to call home. She said it’s a theme that everyone can understand.
“You don’t have to be a refugee to experience the feelings that are in that song. Everyone wants a sense of home and belonging, it’s a universal thing.
“If people want to take it on a higher level, home is where God is, in other words, here and now. Home is with Him no matter where you are,” she said.
The story may have ended there, but fate intervened in the form of Caritas diocesan director for Maitland-Newcastle, John Taylor. John approached Tony Potts, a teacher at St Clare’s, and asked if the school would like to launch Project Compassion in the diocese. St Clare’s had raised $5000 the previous year, a record for a single school. John also suggested they might like to perform a song for the occasion.
Tony recalls speaking to Jenny about possible music for the liturgy, and she mentioned writing the song. An amazing coincidence says John, who hadn’t told her about what John Taylor had said.
The song was performed by the St Claire’s Choral Ensemble, a liturgical singing group, at the launch. The students dressed up as refugees and children of war, and, according to Tony Potts, the audience was “bowled over”.
“Just to have that quality of music coming from the kids and to be performed so movingly. It bowled them over. They were not used to hearing such good music from a relatively small country school,” Potts said
But the snowball effect continued for St Clare’s when school principal, Larry Keating, offered to pay for the song to be recorded on to a CD at a professional studio.
The finished product was presented to Caritas representatives at a
special assembly only a few weeks ago. Tony Potts said the agency was delighted to receive the disc and couldn’t get over how good it was. Caritas has since decided to use the song for promotional purposes.
Tony Potts said the school and the students are thrilled with the way things have turned out.
“Personally (it’s) a great buzz to think all the work had been received so well, and has tapped into the spirit and message of Project Compassion,” he said
Project Compassion 2002 raised almost $6 million, and money is still coming in. St Clare’s School raised $5380 through its various fundraising activities, including the launch.