Bravo to Birralee’s valuable volunteers!

Volunteers are an incredible asset to many community organisations, and for Voices of Birralee, this is no exception. 

We would not achieve what we do without our passionate volunteers – they provide a valuable human resource, while using their skills and experience to enhance our activities. They help us build and enrich our Birralee community by bringing their personality and vibrancy to our programs. There are always lots of laughs and fun to be had with our volunteers and we, as an organisation, are truly grateful for their involvement. 

Our volunteers help across multiple roles:
  • Being a part of our executive, public fund and the Harley Mead Legacy committees 
  • Choir managers 
  • Choir librarians 
  • Choir uniform managers 
  • Assisting with supervision roles for our younger choirs at large events
  • Front of house at concerts – selling tickets, raffle tickets, CDs, assisting at the door, ushering 
  • Stage management, including choir wrangling 
  • Collating the sheet music and start up packs for the start of our Birralee year
  • Stuffing information packs for major festivals e.g., Pemulwuy 
  • Working bees at the Birralee venue including sorting the uniform shop 
  • Being involved in fundraising initiatives – donating as well as approaching organisations for support 
  • Transporting choir risers and instruments to concerts 
  • Photography and videography at our concerts 
  • Providing canteen / catering at concerts / festivals 
  • Making the 500 poppies for our Pemulwuy festival 
  • Tour supervisors and all that goes with being a part of a touring team 

In the above roles (and likely more!), our volunteers make such a difference, not just to our choristers’ experiences, but also to our conductors’. Katherine Ruhle, conductor of our youngest ensemble, the Birralee Piccolos explains: 

“I couldn’t do my job without volunteers – they are fantastic! I love that I can focus on the children and their singing while the volunteers quietly look after administration, encourage a tired child to join in, give a thumbs up to a child who is trying their best, clean up the floor when a water bottle is accidentally spilt and are there to answer questions from parents. And you should hear their voices – amazing!  We are so lucky in Piccolos to have such lovely singers support our choir – it means that we can sing in canon and do part work at a very young age. ” 

So, who are some (of our many) valuable volunteers? 

What is your role at Birralee and when did you start? 
Brigitte Deeb with her son Anthony. 

I am one of the managers of the Birralee Blokes. I became a volunteer when my son Anthony started in 2007. 


Why do you volunteer? 
I volunteer at Birralee as I love being a part of such a wonderful community of people – from staff, to fellow volunteers, to all the wonderful families I have met along the way. I enjoy giving back especially as I see the support given to my son Anthony over the last 10 years as well.


What do you do away from Birralee? 
I work part time as a Human Resources Advisor at Powerlink Queensland. Hobbies include cooking, baking and travelling. I also like to support Vision Australia and Guide Dogs as a volunteer. 
What value do you think volunteers add to an organisation like Birralee?
I like to think that myself and fellow volunteers add support to staff and choristers at Birralee. Actually, I’m very happy to support in any way I can and feel valued and appreciated if asked to help. Life is very busy, but I feel community organisations, such as Birralee, need the support of volunteers to continue to grow.

“I currently volunteer as BBV’s librarian. I feel privileged to assist the Artistic Team to do what they do best in providing incredible choral training and inspirational musical experiences. Birralee is an organisation with a voice and heart with values that resonate with my family’s. Having Ellen in Voices and James in Blokes has allowed me to see first hand the thought, effort and genuine care for the choristers’ musical development and wellbeing that Julie, Jenny, Paul and Kate continuously provide. The nice thing about volunteering is that everyone brings something different – from organisational, communication or first aid skills, to a willingness to listen and kindness, to an ability to supply a safety pin when someone’s pants have split just as they are about to go on stage! There is a great sense of teamwork and camaraderie, with lots of laughs and friendships made. As a well established organisation, there are many well thought out protocols and mentoring systems to help volunteers navigate tours and tasks. For me, to travel with these incredible young people along their musical journey is very rewarding. Away from Birralee I work full-time as a Practice Manager at our family psychiatric practice and in my spare time, I love spending time with my family, long walks, painting, illustrating and reading.”

Birralee Singers Manager (Saturday) 
When did your involvement with Birralee begin? 
I came to a rehearsal for Piccolos when Kiera was six-years-old in 2012 and we have been with Birralee for five years now.
Why did you decide to volunteer? 
I volunteered because I watched how much enjoyment singing gave the children. The passion from the teachers, helpers and young assistants was inspiring. I enjoy how during practice a song will come together and how beautiful it sounds in its final form. 
Tell us what else you do – have you done any other volunteering?
I have been a football (soccer) coach for children, over 35’s men and a number of women’s teams. I have also been involved in volunteering work in Peru and Ecuador.
What value do you think volunteers add to Birralee? 
I think that the volunteers are a part of the whole team and we have a role to keep calmness when there is madness, support the choristers, while assisting staff. It is very rewarding to be a volunteer with Birralee. You feel that you are contributing in a small way to a great event or performance.
What is your role at Birralee and when did you become a volunteer? 
I am the uniform co-ordinator for BBV, Co-Manager along with Tony Forbes MichelleForbes(my clever husband) and a general Jill of all trades when needed. 

I became a volunteer in 2008 when my eldest daughter Shelby was involved in the then, Birralee Southside Singers, when the previous manager stepped down. 

Why do you volunteer and what do you enjoy about being involved with Birralee? 

I volunteer because I love to watch my children and my Birralee families’ children grow with their experiences. I love seeing my children exposed to such amazing opportunities, but most of all we get to spend time as a family.  I also enjoy meeting and interacting with so many clever, talented staff and other volunteers. 
Tell us what else you do or if you’ve volunteered previously?  
I am currently a Teaching Assistant at Faith Lutheran College, Redlands and have been for 11 years, mainly working with Prep students. My hobbies include family tree research, dabbling in wooden spoon carving, collecting mid-century modern items that catch my eye and selling other old stuff on eBay (mainly to feed my mid-century modern habit). The other volunteering I’ve done has included as a treasurer and committee member for Safety House (for 10 years), being a school craft group coordinator and with the P&FA committee and school fete. 
What value do you think volunteers add to Birralee? 
Volunteers add their individual skills to Birralee, whether a large or small contribution, they are able to be there to support and help in many ways. Volunteering also gives an amazing bird’s eye view of the organisation, plus you get to listen to lovely music. 


What is your role at Birralee? 
I am the manager of the Wednesday Piccolos. This is my first year in the role.
Why do you volunteer? 
Both my children are in Birralee choirs (one in Piccolos and one in Kids), and so it seemed a good use of my time while they were at rehearsals. I very much enjoy getting to know the Piccolos and their parents, and watching even the most shy Prep-aged child blossom into a confident member of our choir.
Tell us what else you do, such as your occupation, hobbies?
I’m an accountant. I have volunteered for other organisations in the past, but usually in a treasury role. I also try to spend time helping out in each of my daughter’s classrooms at school each week.
What value do you think volunteers add to an organisation like Birralee? 
I think that having a volunteer around to do tasks such as marking the roll, managing parent and choir members’ queries, uniform fittings, and even just having an extra adult in the classroom allows our conductors to get on with the what they do best – conducting the choir! 
Is there anything else you’d like to mention? 

Given I’m not from a musical background, I wasn’t sure if volunteering for Birralee would be the right fit for me. I have absolutely loved my time with the Piccolos each week and I’m looking forward to continuing on next year (if you’ll have me!).

To all our volunteers who add so much to our organisation, we would like to officially say ‘bravo’! 

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