Saturday, December 15, 2018

On Saturday afternoon, 1 December, Signposts Along the Journey of Life, Rob Wood’s album of original songs and music, was launched in Melbourne. While afternoon tea was laid out, about 100 people started to gather and fill the ballroom at Armagh – many of them family and friends of the creative collaborators.

 Rob and Cheryl Wood address the crowd at the album launch. Rob Wood, 70, has spent his entire working life as a full-time volunteer at IofC Australia. For 28 years, Rob and his wife Cheryl helped host a residential community at Armagh, a Toorak home that serves as the Australia-Pacific Centre for Initiatives of Change, which sought to model how a diverse group of people can knit together and support each other in the challenge of building bridges across the world’s divides. He draws on these experiences in this, his “passion project.”  

Reflecting on his reasons for putting together an album at this time of his life, Rob said, “I find music is a very good medium for communicating ideas and experiences.” The songs in Signposts, he said, remind us of ‘the signpost within’ - a source of inner wisdom that never fails when sought. Plain-speaking and thoughtful, songs such as ‘Everyone Has a Story’, ‘Promises’, and ‘Song of a Refugee’ encourage us to take action about issues of concern and challenges that we face in life. ‘Living Simply’, a song about the rich-poor gap, poses the question to us all:

            ‘Could we walk the streets together

            Our hearts and skills combine

            Could we end all want forever

            Your future matter like mine?’

Many individuals collaborated on the Signposts album, which, Rob noted, had involved a steep learning curve for all concerned. The 17 songs and one instrumental solo involved 14 singers and musicians from diverse countries of origin, some of them located in different parts of the world, far from the production team in Melbourne. ‘I had never done anything like this before…As you can imagine, it had its ups and downs and we experienced some technical challenges,’ said Rob. ‘But even at our low moments, we were given the strength to keep going and continue believing in the project. Soaring vocals: Kevipulie Iralu (left) and Rachel Andrews (right)

Our diverse team of singers and instrumentalists were wholehearted in their participation. One person even described it as a life-changing experience.’

On launch day at Armagh, the musical team presented performances of selected songs, while aerial landscape views on video formed an inspiring backdrop to the soaring vocals and driving rhythms.

As Rob and Cheryl thanked the audience, they mentioned two people who had encouraged and helped Rob to turn his lifetime dream into a reality: Ruben George, who composed the musical arrangements for every song, and David Okotel, who produced the album.

The audience in the ballroom warmly applauded each performance, and one listener remarked, ‘This feel-good album will certainly cheer your day and become a source of inspiration!’ – Gabriella Astiti

Signposts Along the Journey of Life - CD Cover

  •  To purchase the Signposts album on CD, contact rob.wood@iofc.org or the office at Initiatives of Change Australia, info@iofc.org. The cost is $20, plus $3.50 for postage if mailing within Australia. For overseas or bulk orders, the cost of postage can be advised on request.