BCHs Community Development staff Karen Crockford and Caroline Jordan, CEO Shane Crawford and Shedding the Blues Coordinator Des Gorman with the Federal Member for Corangamite Libby Coker who launched the new group.

Shedding the Blues

The launch pf a new men’s wellbeing group ‘Shedding the Blues’ focusing on a shared love of music was launched by Ms Libby Coker, Federal Member for Corangamite, at the Queenscliff RSL 21 February.

“From today’s turnout it’s going to be a great success,” said Ms Coker. “It’s a perfect setting for men to come together given the Borough’s older demographic.”

Shedding the Blues coordinator Des Gorman came up with the idea in October last year and with the help of an enthusiastic team of volunteers, the Queenscliffe Neighbourhood House and Bellarine Community Health, the idea has been transformed into a viable opportunity for mature-aged men who share a love of music. Although the prime focus is on men’s health and wellbeing, all genders are most welcome and can find out more by joining the Shedding the Blues Facebook page.

“This concept of promoting the health and wellbeing of men who have reached or nearing retirement through music of all forms has certainly hit the right note,” said Des. “It is well documented that this group of men who no longer have the social connections provided through work commitments and routines can often feel socially isolated. Music is a fine social connector, as well as being very good for maintaining brain health and cognitive function.

“By combining these two ideas we have formed a collective to regularly to play music, make and repair musical instruments, appreciate alternative forms of music, to learn how to play a musical instrument or learn the craft of song writing.”

Local singer/songwriter Gary Banks, who spends much of his time performing in Ireland, along with local members of Shedding the Blues performed at the event to much applause. One of the locals, Stuart Miller, wore a t-shirt that said it all. “I have a retirement plan. I plan to play the mouth organ.”

Participants from all over the Bellarine and into Geelong were exposed to a series of taster sessions that reflect the activities that they will engage in throughout 2020 and beyond.

These included an interview with Jim McLeod who headed up ABC Jazz for many decades, a songwriting process and performing session by local music teacher and band member, Peter Corcoran, a playing together session ably led by musicians Ian Zierk and John Matlen and an instrument-making session demonstrating stringed instruments designed and built by locals, Owen Brown and Tony Cook.

Vietnam veterans will receive a free guitar and 10 lessons when they join the group. Contact Des Gorman for more information 0407 546 391 or desgorman@bigpond.com

Shedding the Blues members will next meet at the Pavilion in Queenscliff 10am Tuesday 24 March.