Creative Director & Producer
In the roles of Director and Creative Director of OBV, Donna is responsible for much of the running of the event and the umbrella view over our organisation. She writes and arranges music for children’s voices, liases with third parties, has a myriad of jobs and is in constant communication with us all.
In 2021, Donna won the Australia Day Individual Award for the City of Wanneroo. She received the award for co-ordinating thousands of primary school students to sing at community events and for writing songs addressing important issues. In 2020, Donna wrote the song ‘Working Together’ to help teachers care for students’ mental health and wellbeing during the COVID19 pandemic. Access the song here!
Donna has been a music educator in WA for over thirty years. She is a talented singer/musician and songwriter who writes or arranges many of the songs that are used for the One Big Voice Festival.
Donna has a gift for communicating with children through music, and in 2011 was granted the National Award for Excellence in School Music Education – Excellence by a Teacher. She conducts workshops for teacher participants in this festival as well as primary and music teachers in Perth, including ASME, ECCPA, Music Count Us In and Musica Viva.
She has written and recorded songs for the West Coast Language Development Centre. She was the Choir Director for BJL Connecting Communities for several years and also for Boronia Pre-Release Women’s Centre. In 2021 Donna and Regional Director, Kiki McCormack began music education classes for students who are homeschooled. These were held at the Perth Concert Hall and Jandakot Old School Hall.
Donna is currently the music specialist at Bambara Primary School and teaches graduating music specialists and classroom teachers at Edith Cowan University to integrate music into their programs.
Brendan oversees the development and creation of OBV’s considerable annual repertoire of recorded music and video material. He sees his role as “Getting the best out of everyone!”
Brendan is a member of the Australian Screen Sound Guild and won the award for Best Achievement In Sound for an Australian Short Film at Flickerfest 2010 for the Oscar short-listed animated film Zero (30 million+ views). He was also nominated for a Screen Sound Guild Award that year. A second Guild nomination came in 2012 for The Maker (15 million+ views).
Brendan is passionate about social justice and worked as composer and sound designer for the highly respected indigenous activist and writer/actor/performer, Leah Purcell for many years. Their collaborations included the award winning documentary Black Chicks Talking as well as many plays for companies such as Belvoir, Sydney Theatre Company. In 2014 he composed the soundtrack to an episode of the Foxtel series Who We Are entitled Brand New Clan having previously composed the theme for the Logie nominated series, The Ties That Bind, the first ever Logie nomination achieved by a pay TV production in Australia.
In the mid-90s Brendan travelled regularly to the USA to work with cult songwriter Richard Davies including a national tour with the Flaming Lips. He has worked with Delta Goodrem, Russell Crowe, Lior, Deni Hines, Bardot, Disco Montego, Katie Underwood (‘Beautiful’ – ARIA Top 5) and many more.
Brendan is driving OBV’s Studio Choir project which gives talented young singers in WA the chance to take their passion into the mysterious world of the recording studio and give them the chance to be heard by the thousands of children who learn the OBV repertoire at school every day.
Kiki is passionate about spreading the joy of music and singing, hence her role as Regional Director. She also loves discovering and nurturing children’s talents and enjoys being a part of the audition process and working with soloists and comperes.
Along with Donna Marwick-O’Brien, Kiki teaches music classes to homeschoolers aged 3-15 years. Kiki started the OBV Singers in 2018 and for three years, together with Jenni and Donna, held weekly sessions and prepared them to sing at various events. In 2019 Kiki and her daughter, Meka, spent time volunteering at Gabriel Learning Centre in Kenya. Nakuru Hope Voices Choir was founded and One Big Voice is proud to be associated with this remarkable choir.
Kiki has been in education for 30 years. She has enjoyed many experiences teaching class music and choir. She loves African drumming and has facilitated a djembe drumming group for her students. Kiki has taught the choir at Boronia Corrective Services for Women and trained students to sing at school functions and places in the community such as retirement villages and citizenship ceremonies. She has seen first-hand how singing has connected people and had a positive influence on their lives.
Kiki hopes, through her teaching, to educate children on how to become global citizens. She is writing a series of children’s books which aim to develop cultural awareness and empathy in children.
Kiki has taught primary school students, high school students and adults in South Africa, England, Taiwan and Australia. She loves how music is a universal language which transcends gender, race, age and nationality. Kiki loves how One Big Voice is a powerful, feel-good experience for so many and a wonderful way to spread the joy of singing.
Judy Vorster is the Operational Director of One Big Voice.
She designs the floor plans to accommodate 7000+ students. On the concert day, she facilitates and oversees their execution in conjunction with LUX and RAC Arena. In addition, Judy develops and designs our graphics and in-house written and printed material.
Trained as a school music teacher at the Conservatorium of Tasmania, Judy taught music in high school and primary school. Judy now works as a group leader for NAPLAN (Queensland), marks literacy papers and facilitates in literacy marking workshops.
Judy began this choral festival in 2000 to provide performance opportunities for school choirs. Judy moved to Queensland in 2006 but continued to be a keen supporter of the event and returned to support the One Big Voice Festival from 2017 onwards.
For Judy, there is nothing more special than seeing so many children involved in and enjoying music and singing. The children who participate in One Big Voice exude happiness, and that’s the way she always hoped it would be.
Throughout her career, Gail has been passionate about education. She has vast experience in the Primary School, as Principal, Deputy Principal and Classroom Teacher. Gail has taught all year levels from Year One to Seven. As a School Leader she has been a positive influence on school communities. She has been involved in and lead Whole School Planning, Teacher Professional Development through Curriculum Workshops, Behaviour Management and Values Education.
Gail is convinced that the teaching profession has a most important task to do, as the hearts and minds of generations to come are influenced.
Gail has relished the opportunity to be a part of One Big Voice. She has a great love of music.
It has been said by many that ‘Music is food for the soul’. Gail knows that the contribution that it makes to the atmosphere, tone, performance and life of a school and its community is immeasurable.
Gail is looking forward to the One Big Voice Festival in 2021. She offers her Management and Leadership Skills as Co-Chairperson and Secretary again this year.
One Big Voice continues to develop as one of the premier Choral Concerts for students in Australia. We support the work that music teachers do. It is valued and appreciated. The influence that One Big Voice has in the development of the knowledge, skill, enjoyment and enthusiasm in our students through the Music Program in Primary Schools is exemplary.
Jenni helps to create the choreography for One Big Voice, assists with sheet music, adjudicates at auditions and teaches the One Big Voice Choir. Along with Kiki, Jenni directed the OBV Singers for its first two years.
Jenni’s love of music began as a child where she danced and played the piano. She worked through her AMEB grades both practical and theory. She privately taught piano at home and at Northside Music School where she tutored private students, extended the Yamaha group students and adjudicated at festivals.
Jenni completed her teaching degree majoring in music and has taught for over twenty years in Education Support Centres, at an Intensive English Centre and mainstream schools. She is a Drumbeat facilitator, has participated in Wakakirri events and played in a Worship Band for over ten years performing at events such as Carols by Candlelight, State Youth Games and weddings.
A practising musician, Jenni loves to share her passion for the Arts and enjoys seeing how music reaches and touches children. She is currently the Performing Arts Specialist at Spring Hill Primary School.
Lorraine Willock joined One Big Voice in 2017 as Treasurer. She has worked as a legal and medical secretary for most of her career and for 13 years owning her own secretarial service business, ‘Osborne Secretarial Services’.
In 2021, Lorraine stepped down as Treasurer and took on the role of Co-Secretary. Despite her tendency to remain in the background, she is involved in numerous aspects of the festival.
Jan joined One Big Voice in 2019 and became Treasurer in 2021. After retiring in 2015, having worked since age 15, Jan wanted to become involved in something she felt would make a difference.
After working in a variety of roles, including rates clerk, draughting for ATO, payroll, bank teller and accounts, One Big Voice is a totally new and varied experience. She gets a real buzz out of hearing the children singing. In her words, “I just love it!”
Jan Ruscoe is a passionate and experienced class music specialist and instrumental music teacher who teaches at two primary schools in Perth. She is a Senior Teacher and graduate of UWA Conservatorium of Music who brings her experience as a performer, conductor, teacher and arranger to this festival.
Jan edits and contributes to the musical scores which are provided to schools in One Big Voice, and co-presents the professional learning workshops, teaching the choral music for One Big Voice to all the teachers. Along with Slick Design, Jan manages the One Big Voice website.
In 2015, Jan was awarded the ASME (WA) Music: Educating for Life Award for her contributions to the professional development of music specialist teachers in Western Australia. She has performed with Perth Symphonic Chorus.
David Harrison, principal of Narrogin PS, has been a keen advocate of OBV since bringing his school choir to the concert for the first time in 2018. He sees the many positive benefits of music education in schools and loves that the OBV repertoire is always positive and life affirming. David loves being a part of the joy that comes from children singing together.
When the 2020 One Big Voice concert had to be cancelled due to COVID 19, David did not want his students to miss out on a performance opportunity. He organised the Narrogin Voice Festival, a community event involving five regional schools singing the 2020 OBV repertoire. The concert also included young talent performers and guest artists. It took place on the school oval and was supported and enjoyed by hundreds from the local and surrounding community.
David’s school choir perform annually at the RSL ANZAC Day and Remembrance Day ceremonies. They also perform in conjunction with the Shire of Narrogin at official functions, such as; Australia Day and Citizenship Ceremonies. Other performances include Senior Citizens functions, Narrogin Street Party, Children’s Week activities, Paint the Town REaD celebrations, school assemblies and end-of-year awards ceremonies.
David is a musician and still enjoys recording with his band, Tides2Music
David has put other regional schools in touch with One Big Voice. He would love for the participation of these schools to increase so that even more children can experience the power of singing together as one.
Margie is the creative force behind our merchandise, introducing the blue ‘winter’ colours for the new hoodies. She’s also the admin lady for Homeschool and Studio Choir.
Margie is a professional singer and ran her own Karaoke business for many years. Her primary interest has always been children and she has worked in a volunteer capacity with children since the age of 18, including being a foster mum.
In 1974 Bernice Marwick co-founded the Wanneroo Community News, which led to the Wanneroo Times being founded in 1976. Bernice and her husband Bill started several other suburban newspapers and named the group Community Newspapers Pty Ltd, in 1978. Today Community Newspaper Group’s seventeen local papers cover the entire Perth metropolitan area; from Yanchep and Two Rocks in the north, Mandurah in the south and east to Northam, Toodyay and York. In 2004 Bernice and Bill were awarded the City of Wanneroo Mayor’s Visionary Business Award for their long-standing contribution to business enterprise in the city. Bernice has also been active in the Wanneroo and Joondalup communities and has served on Joondalup Wanneroo Relay for Life Organising Committee, Entertainment Coordinator for the Wanneroo Agricultural Society’s Wanneroo Show Committee. Wann-Gara Inner Wheel and a 25-year member of the Wanneroo Historical Society. Bernice also organises concerts to raise funds to help children in need.
In 2015, Bernice received the Wanneroo City’s Australia Day Award in recognition of her 40 years’ service to the Wanneroo community.
Bernice is a great advisor and mentor and assists at workshops, rehearsals and OBV itself. Due to her community profile, she is the VIP liaison officer for OBV.
Rose is a Senior Teacher with twenty plus years’ experience and more than ten years in music education. Before starting her career in teaching, Rose achieved both a Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Education. Having grown up with deaf parents and family members, Rose is also fluent in Auslan, which enables her to integrate sign language into actions for One Big Voice songs.
The mother of four loves teaching music as it has no academic boundaries and especially enjoys teaching special needs children, seeing their reactions when they hear their favourite songs. With an appreciation for an eclectic range of music, Rose also teaches recorder, keyboard, guitar and ukulele.
She takes great pride in encouraging students to take steps to develop their talent and confidence and during the event co-ordinates the movements of the One Big Voice soloists, vocal groups and comperes. Rose loves how One Big Voice gives every child an opportunity to participate as a team and showcase their talents.
Benjamin has a Bachelor of Education and has been teaching music for over ten years. He is a singer/musician songwriter who has performed around the country in a variety of musical contexts and genres including folk, rock, punk and metal. His original collaborations have led him to perform alongside many international bands and artists. His most recent projects have been nominated for multiple WAM awards.
Benjamin has been involved with the One Big Voice festival since 2011. One of his songs “Don’t Forget These Smiles” was performed at the 2012 festival. Since then Benjamin’s involvement with One Big Voice has increased steadily every year.
Benjamin has a passion for teaching, learning, performing and enjoying music that radiates from him. He strives to encourage young men and boys to participate actively and gain from the amazing positive experiences singing, dancing and being part of a choir can provide. Many of Benjamin’s former students are actively participating in the Western Australian Music Industry.
Meryl is a professional music educator, conductor of choirs and orchestras, music examiner and is the Musical Director of the Illawarra Choral Society. She has a BMus and BEd from UNSW, and AMusA and ATCL in both singing and piano and has served as Vice President of The Australian National Association of Teachers of Singing. Meryl also holds Certificate III in Media and Live Entertainment and Cert IV in Training and Assessment.
Stew is a Primary School teacher and musician, who enjoys working on creative projects
with students. He helped to create accessible and interesting Compere scripts for students to present at One Big Voice.
Stew brings a wealth of enthusiasm, along with practical technical support and expertise to
our workshops. He is a valued addition to our committee.