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Our sweetest songbirds

Think local

Hugs, smiles and laughter greet the North Shore's five songbirds when they arrive at James Milson Retirement Village to perform each month for residents and staff.

The singing group, which was formed in March, last year, has been going from strength to strength. They delight their audience and provide fun and respite within the village community.

Songbirds’ founder, Lexie Duncan, 15, was named North Sydney’s Young Citizen of the Year for 2015. She is the niece of well-known actors Carmen and Paul Duncan.

"We love seeing the looks on the resident‘s faces because they don't get an opportunity to go out and see people perform," Lexie explains.

"We sing songs like Ava Maria and a repertoire of songs from the hit movie Grease.

"We enioy it as we all feel like we are doing something worthwhile for the community.”

The Songbirds often entertain up to 30 residents at the village and stay to serve afternoon tea and chat after the performances. The original group comprised Loreto Kirribilli students Lexie Duncan, Isabella Russell and Samantha Rogers. New recruits Isabelle Kohout and Georgia Hurford joined late last year.

Lexie’s mother, Trish Duncan, says the Songbirds following has been growing over the past year.

“The audience size has increased exponentially with their growing reputation,‘ she smiles. 'The word is out and the mini-concerts are a hot topic of conversation among the residents at the retirement village. At their last concert before Christmas, one of the residents - Sister Shirley Digges — of the Loreto Convent announced to the other residents how proud she was to see the students giving up their time to perform.”

Mrs Duncan says the Songbirds took a real interest in Sister Shirley and were delighted to chat with her about her days teaching at Loreto Kirribilli.

Lexie performs regularly in private and school performances and has been playing the piano, singing, dancing and acting from a young age.

She won the 2015 Young Australian Citizen of the Year for North Sydney in recognition of her charity work for the Special Olympics and also her initiative with the Songbirds.

During Special Olympic fundraisers, Lexie was showcased with well-known performers Leo Sayer and Rachael Beck. For the past two years, she has donated her time and performed at the NSW Volunteer of the Year Award ceremony.

Lexie says she and the other Songbirds have formed great relationships with their audience.

It’s such a good feeling to see their faces light up,“ she tells North Shore Living.


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