Above: Matt Gresham, Prinnie Stephens, Diesel, Reece Mastin.
Clear the diary for Saturday, May 9th—oh wait, it’s already clear!
You’re all set, then, for a free online concert called the Loungeroom Sessions, featuring some of Australia’s greatest musicians, in support of the international aid agency, Caritas and their annual appeal, Project Compassion.
Spearheaded by renowned songwriter and recording artist Gary Pinto, the concert will feature performances from singers including Diesel, X Factor winner Reece Mastin, Matt Gresham (X Factor), Amalia Foy (X Factor), Prinnie Stephens (The Voice), jazz vocalist Emma Pask with America’s Dave Tweedie, Nashville-based Bobby Lee Stamper, and the 90s boy-band, CBD.
Chatting to Hope 103.2, Gary Pinto said the idea for a concert supporting the Catholic charity came about by a chain reaction of somewhat divine circumstances.
“I was walking to a gig in Sydney, and a lady came up and thought I was Father Rob Galea [a popular Catholic musician and priest, who looks similar],” Gary said.
“I said ‘No, but I’m a musician’.”
They struck up a conversation; the woman worked at Caritas and wanted to connect with creative artists. Within a couple of days, Gary was invited to write a song for the Project Compassion campaign. It was a no-brainer for Gary; he was already a supporter.
A Song and a Concert For Those in Greatest Need
“I’ve grown up in the Catholic church and I’ve seen Caritas’s Project Compassion collection boxes all my life, every year when Lent comes up. We’ve seen the work they’ve done for decades. Caritas’s work is extraordinary.”
The result was Walk With Me – a song Gary penned about walking in solidarity with the poor.
Now, with COVID-19 shutting down Australia’s schools and churches – the places where the annual Project Compassion appeal usually raises most of its funds – it became clear the campaign would need a little more help. Gary got on the phone to his many friends in the music industry, and asked if they’d each volunteer one song each for the event, recorded in their lounge rooms.
“People like Diesel, Matt Gresham, Reece Mastin and Emma Pask, have volunteered their time and talents to bring awareness to Caritas and raise funds.”
“Through this isolation, I’ve seen musicians have been able to generate some interest and fundraising for different causes,” Gary said.
“I’ve been a professional musician for nearly 30 years and I’ve got to know some incredible people – and sometimes you forget how incredible they are and that they are friends. People like Diesel, Matt Gresham, Reece Mastin and Emma Pask, have volunteered their time and talents to bring awareness to Caritas and raise funds.”
In the Pandemic, Marginalised People Are the Most Vulnerable
During the concert, viewers will have an opportunity to donate to Caritas via their website. Gary said although it’s a tough time financially for many people, he’s trusting there will be those who can lend a hand. Funds will go towards Caritas-supported aid and development projects in places like Cambodia, Malawi, India, Bangladesh, Papua New Guinea, Australia’s remote indigenous communities and more.
“This crisis has been hard on everyone, but Australians have been always been people who are looking out for others,” Gary said. “Even though we’re going through this crisis, for the majority we have homes, places to stay and government provision. But in places like India, people are sheltering in trees.
“Some of the stories how Caritas has been helping people are amazing. This is a really much-needed cause to support.”
The Loungeroom Sessions concert kicks off online at 4pm on Saturday, May 9, and will go for one hour, featuring artist performances, and stories of the work being done by Caritas around the world.