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    UNITED IN SONG: Brisbane-based singer Tim McCallum will take to the stage in a virtual showcase for Horsham Carols by Candlelight.

Tim McCallum follows passion to Horsham carols


Excitement to perform for a familiar crowd in Horsham is growing for Brisbane-based singer-songwriter Tim McCallum. 

The classically trained tenor will perform for Horsham’s annual Carols by Candlelight on December 6 to help spread Christmas cheer. 

McCallum, who sang the national anthem at this year’s AFL grand final in Brisbane, has his musical roots in Horsham. 

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Born and raised in Geelong, McCallum frequented Horsham in his early teens for a country basketball competition and again in his early 20s for disability and arts event Awakenings Festival.

He also had strong connections with carols co-ordinator Simon Dandy and family.  

“Singing for the carols, I’m really excited to be sharing my music with Horsham,” McCallum said.

“I’ve performed and travelled to Horsham quite a lot over the years.” 

At 18, McCallum had already laid the groundwork for a long-term career in music and theatre when a car accident changed his life forever.

Doctors told him he would never sing again after he broke his neck in a car accident, leaving him a quadriplegic.

However, something ignited within him to prove his specialists wrong – he pulled out all the stops to re-learn and re-master his skill. 

“Losing more than two thirds of my physical ability was a huge shock and was going to have a huge impact on my life,” he said. 

“The reality was, I wanted to be a successful singer, not a successful walker. While there was no template or any specific type of therapy I could do at the time, I just decided to get at it and learn it myself.”

McCallum set about adapting a technique where he used his arms to push himself up on his wheelchair and allow air to flow through to his diaphragm. 

“That way I could control the air in a way that would give me the projection and sustaining of notes I needed to sing,” he said. 

“I found a really great singing teacher who helped me take a lot of the focus away from my physical disability and really brought my emotions and my love for singing to the forefront.
“I was lucky enough to be surrounded by people who pushed me to do my best.”


McCallum said his return to singing could also be attributed to support from the Dandy family. 

He said in his early 20s, Mr Dandy and father Howard had a major part to play in helping him build up confidence and ability to perform again.  

“The Dandys played a big part in my rehabilitation and return back to the stage – I wouldn’t be doing what I’m doing today if it wasn’t for families like the Dandys,” he said. 

“Howard Dandy was a great teacher, director and mentor of mine. He was also a basketball referee in the times I played and coached basketball. 

“Singing for the carols is just another opportunity Simon has entrusted in me to deliver some songs to the community.”  

The operatic tenor said he hoped his journey to success could serve as a platform to show others what was possible. 

“My belief has always been if you’ve got a goal, a love, or a passion, nothing can stop you or get in the way from achieving it as long as you have the right motivation to follow through with it,” he said. 

“I’ve faced some fairly big adversities in my life and not let them get in the way of what I wanted to achieve.

“If you’ve got a dream, a passion, follow it through. Because it’ll drive you nuts until you actually give it go.”

McCallum said he was eager to perform songs from his debut album ‘Let Your Heart Be Light’ for the Horsham Christmas event. 

Other performers set to take to the stage include professional singer-dancer Grace O’Donnell-Clancy, highly accomplished classical performer Sofia Laursen Habel, versatile and creative singer-songwriter Alice Skye and gifted pianist Sean Hallam. Wimmera Eisteddfod singing teachers Lisa Thomas, Venetia Elbourne-Hobbs and Maddie Ostapiw will come together and Jamie Thomas will join O’Donnell-Clancy for a duet.

Wimmera rock band Johnny Thunder and the Lightnings will also join the list of performers. 

PHOTOS: Songs of joy for virtual Carols by Candlelight

The entire November 25, 2020 edition of The Weekly Advertiser is available online. READ IT HERE!

The entire November 25, 2020 edition of AgLife is available online. READ IT HERE!