January Jazz 2023

Check out photos from this year’s January Jazz, and meet the 2023 Servants Community Award recipients!

January Jazz was back for 2023, and residents topped the lists of our honoured guests!

When you’re focussed on finding a safe place to sleep, there’s not much brain space (or budget) left for thinking about live music. But we know enjoying live music together can have a profound impact on people – and is an incredible way of building community.

In fact, getting your boogie on is a pretty unique way to create a sense of equality: we all look silly and uncoordinated together!

That’s the heart behind January Jazz, our annual live music extravaganza where residents, friends, and neighbours gather to celebrate, build relationships, and remind each other to savour the moments of joy that surround us each day.

It’s all about building community.

Sure, we’re a housing organisation – but that doesn’t mean we don’t have fun! But as with all things, our fun comes loaded with meaning and intention. We exist to create communities where respect, dignity, hope and opportunity are nurtured – and this event highlights the best of it.

Curious as to how? Here are some fun stats and stories for you:

  • Bringing residents and the wider community together builds friendships, breaking down barriers across geography, age, and socio-economic status. We had over 300 people join us for the night!
  • Residents were involved and empowered through the event; sharing stories, MC’ing, bumping in gear, and welcoming guests. Even despite the rain and a last-minute venue change, over 20% of our residents took part.
  • The event is free, but generous contributions from guests raised over $3000 to support high-quality community housing in Melbourne.
  • Our annual community awards recognised some amazing individuals who exemplify the best of what it means to be in community.

Our award recipients show us how to live in community.

Our annual community awards, this year presented by Amanda Donohoe (CEO) and Dr Monique Ryan (Federal Member for Kooyong), went to four outstanding individuals who teach us every day what it means to exist in community.

The Warren Clarke Volunteer Award, named after a former Board Member, honours a volunteer who goes above and beyond to build strong, enduring relationships with residents and contributes to the positive culture at Servants. This year, the award was awarded to:

  • Brian Crisp, for his tireless work supporting our facilities management team. Brian goes a step beyond simply volunteering his time, and works alongside residents to build their own skills and confidence in areas they’re interested in.
  • Laurie Barton, for over 10 years investing in the lives of our residents. Laurie leads the Canterbury Baptist Church BBQ team in facilitating monthly meals for residents at Hamer Court, regularly mentors and befriends residents, provides coaching and guidance, and pastorally supports our house managers at the property.

The Barry Paramore Resident Award honours a resident who invests deeply in our community, actively using their gifts and skills to add value and heart to our community. This year, the recipient is:

  • Peter, who faithfully serves his housemates by gardening, recycling, cleaning and putting out bins, and actively maintaining the shared spaces in the house. We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: the bins at Peter’s house are so clean you could eat from them!
  • Additionally, we had the chance to honour Barry (the award’s namesake), who was the 2022 recipient.

Of course, it wouldn’t be the same without our generous partners, and a few extra special people!

Nights like this don’t just happen: they’re carefully planned and executed by a wonderful team of businesses, individuals and friends who pitch in. We’d like to extend a special thanks to:

  • Dr Monique Ryan, Federal Member for Kooyong, who presented our community awards
  • Honoured guests, Jess Wilson (State Member for Kew), Crs Susan Bigger and Di Gillies (Boroondara Councillors), and Federal Members Zoe Daniels (Goldstein), Kylie Think (North Sydney), and Kate Chaney (Curtin)
  • Rhiannon Gill, Polly Maudlin, Andy Clarke and the members of the Motown Review
  • Sebastian Farcione and the members of the Brunswick Stage Band
  • MC’s Chandi Piefki, and resident Andrew
  • Resident Brent Soltan, for sharing his story with our guests on the night
  • Caleb Elbourne, Kiara V and Isaac Williams’ Jazz Trio
  • Kat Grosser, whose tireless work held our event together
  • Christ Church Hawthorn, for so kindly donating their venue last-minute!
  • Rotary Club of Balwyn, and their BBQ Team
  • Manuel and the team at Vanilla & Co Gelato
  • Mila Sumner and the team at Boroondara Council
  • Cannings Free Range Butchers
  • Breadstreet Bakery
  • Belgrave South Primary School
  • St Andrews Christian College