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Talent on show: Locals across the western district including Mortlake’s Julie and Rob Stewart-Murray are taking part in the Song Challenge, a Facebook group encouraging artistic locals to perform a song or read a poem during stage three restrictions.

Pioneers: Terang’s Joanne Ulrich and Allansford’s Danny Grigg were the pioneers of the local Song Challenge.

Pioneers: Terang’s Joanne Ulrich and Allansford’s Danny Grigg were the pioneers of the local Song Challenge.

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The Song Challenge Facebook group uplifting residents

LOCAL residents are turning to the power of music to uplift others during stage three restrictions.

The Song Challenge Facebook group encourages residents to record a video of themselves performing a song each week which is then uploaded for others to view on Facebook.

The group was started on March 18 by Terang resident Joanne Ulrich and Allansford’s Danny Grigg after they both challenged each other to perform and post their own version of You Are My Sunshine.

Group member and Mortlake local Julie Stewart-Murray said the initial challenge saw a small group of friends then perform weekly songs on their own profiles up until July.

But the return of stage three restrictions forced the group to get creative.

A decision to expand its audience to the wider public was made, with fellow Mortlake local Billie Bawden creating a Facebook group for locals to share their performances.

“When the first lockdown hit we said why don’t we pick a theme and then encourage people to do their own songs and get involved,” Mrs Stewart-Murray said.

“When the next lockdown came one of the members of the group, Billie Bawden suggested we make a group on Facebook so people could put their songs in there so everyone could see them rather than on their own profile.

“We put the first one up three weeks ago and it has multiplied from there. The first week we had two or three early in the week and then by the weekend we had more videos up.

“What we found was the theme was getting put up on Sunday and people were thinking about what way they wanted to do and then uploading the following weekend.”

After two weeks of challenges, Mrs Stewart-Murray said numbers were growing steadily, with the group now boasting 195 members.

The friendly nature of the group has helped its growth and according to Mrs Stewart-Murray it has created a positive environment for residents to show off their musical and creative sides.

“It gives the people who normally perform live an audience to perform to, but it’s not just for people who play an instrument and are used to performing live,” she said.

“It’s also for people who wouldn’t get up and perform in a group but are happy to record something and then put it up - it gives them confidence to do it this way.

“Not everyone posts videos but there’s a lot of support and likes and comments on the ones that are posted.

“It’s a good social outlet for people - the social interaction is really positive.”

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