Group has a thirst to support Lenten appeal

Thirsty Ground
NIGEL TAPP

PROCEEDS from the second CD produced by Hobart music group Thirsty Ground will aid the work of the synod’s Lenten Offering appeal.

Last year Thirsty Ground received a $13,500 Lenten Offering grant to assist its performance program and make its second CD. The group’s leader, experienced Hobart singer-songwriter John Coleman, said members were keen to give something back to the appeal as a thank you for the generous contribution.

The CD contains 10 original compositions – eight songs along with two instrumental pieces – which can be used as an entry point into worshipful meditation.

All Thirsty Ground members are members of Hobart’s Choir of High Hopes, based at and supported by Scots Memorial Uniting Church in Hobart.

Aged between 26 and 66, many have experienced significant physical and emotional challenges.

They form part of the regular Tuesday morning worship at Scots Memorial, which Mr Coleman facilitates. Once a month they provide the music for regular Sunday morning worship.

Mr Coleman said the grant allowed Thirsty Ground to take the time required to develop the CD to a high standard and to recognise the efforts of backing musicians by paying them for their time.

“For the first CD, our musicians gave their time and skill freely,” Mr Coleman said. “The grant allowed us to dignify their gifts by paying them – they are all professional musicians and of course give more than they are paid for. It also meant we had more time in the studio to get the sounds we were after,” he said.

Mr Coleman said the group members had a lot to teach local congregations.

“What people see from the group is a sense of relationship, respect, joy and a spirit of collaboration,” he said.

“This is a community of diversity which takes great joy out of singing with each other and spending time together.

“And you can see people in the audiences emotionally affected by the music and songs. There is something special about the transparent joy and faith which shines from the group.”

In being open about their own brokenness, Mr Coleman believes the members help other people accept and acknowledge their own struggles.

“People go away uplifted and encouraged to pray, or they find a deeper faith and feelings about common humanity.”

Thirsty Ground member Rohan Whelan met the group two years ago and quickly accepted an invitation from Mr Coleman to become involved, despite not having a formal background in music.

Known for his love of Elvis Presley, Mr Whelan said he got a lot out of the opportunity to interact with not only the group but also the wider church.

“We all have different music tastes but I really enjoy myself and there is an opportunity to spread joy and peace through the music,” he said.

“We make people smile and I know it makes them happy.”

Rohan said he enjoyed talking to people after performances and sharing his own story as well as getting an understanding of their challenges.

“I feel really good inside when I do that,” he said.

Share director Angela Goodwin is delighted the group wants to support other Lenten projects.

“Thirsty Ground is a very special group within the Uniting Church, and their desire to give back to the Lenten Offering, effectively paying forward the support they received, is an expression of this,’’ she said.

Copies of the CD cost $15 and are available by contacting Mr Coleman at colemansongs@yahoo.com

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