Festival details released
Saturday afternoon, 22nd June 2019
Warrnambool (Venue to be advised)
Hosted by Merri Singers
Please register expressions of interest with Philip Shaw as soon as possible to ensure you are sent all the details (if possible by December 5th, 2018). This will not commit your group to attending but will ensure that you will be included in our WDCF communications.
The WDCF provides a wonderful opportunity for Western District and SA south eastern groups to hear what their colleagues are singing, and a rare chance to socialise with singers from around the region. It can provide ideas for new repertoire as well as different approaches to presentation.
Each choir will have a performance bracket of 8 to 10 minutes (depending on the number of groups attending) and will be invited to participate in the massed choir songs. There will (of course!) be afternoon tea to follow. Entry will be $5 for singers and $10 for audience.
Some of the choirs from the WDCF 2018
Community Service Announcement—Choir opportunity Melbourne
The Boîte Melbourne Millennium Chorus 2018—Join now!
Singing in groups isn’t just great fun, more and more evidence is showing that choral singing is good for our minds and bodies as well. If you’ve always wanted to experience the joy of singing in a group but haven’t had the opportunity before, here’s your chance to be part of an extraordinary choir.
Enrolments are now open for the 21st Boîte Millennium Chorus—and the great news is, there’s no age limit, and no auditions. It’s a welcoming and diverse choir of up to 300 people, who will attend three full-day rehearsals with a professional choir director and musicians, before the concert on Sunday 12th August at Melbourne Town Hall.
Every year The Boîte (pronounced “bwaat”) runs this mass choir project with a different musical theme, exploring and celebrating Australia’s rapidly changing cultural landscape. This year features songs from the exquisite ‘Mission Songs Project’, which explores the musical journey of Indigenous Australian music and connects the traditional with contemporary, revealing the continuation of cultural practice and song tradition into the 21st century.
Jessie Lloyd launched the Mission Songs Project CD and concerts in 2017 to widespread acclaim. Her extensive research, musical training and family connections, and Indigenous background (as well as her persistence!) made her uniquely placed to uncover a precious part of our history… secular songs that were sung after church, and that explore the day to day life of the mission days across Australia, from cultural identity to love and loss. These unique songs consist of almost forgotten stories that can now shed light into the history of our Indigenous elders, families and communities.
Jessie is Artistic Director for the Boîte Millennium Chorus this year, and choir director is Jess Hitchcock, an emerging Indigenous artist who tours with Jessie Lloyd and the Mission Songs Project as well as with Deborah Cheetham’s Short Black Opera.
Joining the choir
Full price for Melbourne metro choir members is $199. Discounted fees are offered for concession card holders (not seniors), under 25s, families, regional members (100km or more from Melbourne CBD), and Boîte members. This covers rehearsal materials (printed songbook and digital audio song parts), three full-day rehearsals in Melbourne, the concert, commemorative t-shirt.
More information, registrations: Susan Wright, The Boîte, (03) 9417 1983
July: Saturday 14th and Sunday 15th, 10.00am-4.00pm
August: Saturday 11th, 10.00am-4.00pm
Venue: Northcote Uniting Church, 251 High St, Northcote VIC 3070
Sunday August 12th, 2.30pm
Melbourne Town Hall, Swanston Street, Melbourne
The Space, Geelong Grammar School
Festival hosts – The Geelong Chorale
Today’s festival was a celebration of song and the joy that people obtain from singing together in groups. Fourteen choirs participated in an afternoon of fine music making and friendship. It was a chance for choirs to perform at their best. They did not disappoint.
The program began with the host choir, The Geelong Chorale, and was introduced by John Stubbings OAM, who acted as MC throughout the afternoon.
The music ranged from a 16th century madrigal, to folk songs from around the world, through popular songs, songs from musical theatre and old favourites. Even opera had its place, with a delightful rendition of ‘Painless Opera’ by Phyllis Wolfe-White by the Geelong Youth Choir. The smallest group was 8 voices (The Geelong Youth Chamber Choir), the largest around 40 voices (The Geelong Chorale). There were youth choirs, mixed choirs, a female choir (Welsh Ladies Choir), and a male choir (International Harvester Choir). The youngest singers were of primary school age, and the oldest at least 90.
As Geelong is at the eastern end of the WDCF region, many choirs came from the Geelong area. The two groups from further afield, Colac Chorale and Apollo Bay Community Choir were warmly welcomed and greatly enhanced the afternoon’s singing.
The afternoon ended with all singers merging onto the stage for a massed choir performance of “Africa”, conducted by Jodie Townsend, Director of Music at Geelong Grammar School.
It is interesting to note that The International Harvester Male Chorus (formed in 1943) may be the oldest continuously performing choir in Australia in its current form. Raise the Bar, the adult section of The Geelong Youth Choir will be the featured choir for a forthcoming performance of “The Events” at GPAC. Geelong Harmony Chorus are fresh from a very successful Sweet Adelines Convention in Hobart, where they were placed fourth overall, and third in their section.
At the close of the Festival, Frank Sykes, Vice-President of The Geelong Chorale, handed over the Festival to The Merri Singers from Warrnambool who will host the festival in 2019.
Participating Choirs: The Geelong Chorale, Colac Chorale, Wondrous Merry, Apollo Bay Community Choir, Geelong Youth Choir, Raise the Bar Vocal Group, Geelong Harmony Chorus, Welsh Ladies Choir, International Harvester Choir, Sing Australia, Geelong, Vox Box, U3A Geelong Choir, Geelong College Community Choir, The Choir of Geelong Grammar School.
Thanks to The Geelong Chorale, especially their hard working committee, and secretary Angela West, Geelong Grammar School and Jodie Townsend, for accommodating the festival in the excellent performing arts space and all participating choirs and their conductors and accompanists. Thanks also to City of Greater Geelong for their support.
Download a copy of the Western District Choral Festival 2018 program here.
Geelong Harmony has returned home from the Sweet Adelines Australia national a cappella competition in Hobart on 19 May with medals for fourth place in a field of 23, and third place in the medium chorus division of 13.
The chorus received a total score of 592 points from four International judges in categories of sound, expression, music, and showmanship.
‘We are excited and proud to have received our highest score ever, and to make an improvement of 39 points on our score at last year’s competition’ said Musical Director Alex Morris.
‘Our 35 singers gave heartfelt, energetic and entertaining performances of our two contest songs, winning us a well-deserved spot among Australia’s top five choruses for 2018. This is an amazing feat for us, placing us well ahead of several larger choruses.’
The top five place getters performed in a special showcase on Saturday night at Wrest Point, with Geelong Harmony singing Alex Morris’ four-part arrangement of ‘Constant Craving’ by K. D. Lang.
You can catch Geelong Harmony perform their contest package on17 June as part of the Western District Choral Festival at the SPACE, Geelong Grammar, 2-5.00pm. Tickets are $10, including afternoon tea.
The Geelong Harmony a cappella women’s chorus rehearses every Monday night at the Western Heights Uniting Church Hall, 31 Douglass Street, Herne Hill, 6.45 to 10.00pm. New members are welcome. For more information visit www.geelongharmony.com.au, call the Membership Manager on 0406 666 737, or email email@example.com
Some photos from Sneak Peek a couple of weeks ago.
Three barbershop quartets
St Paul’s Anglican Church, Geelong
One could not imagine a more fitting final concert for the 10TH Annual WINDFIRE FESTIVAL OF MUSIC IN GEELONG’S HISTORIC CHURCHES than a performance by Geelong’s premier chamber choir, Vox Angelica. Tom Healey, director and founder of Vox Angelica selected a program of music from the Americas, ranging from the 17th century to the 21st.
Throughout the program the choir showed good blend, faultless diction, and the ability to tackle highly complex counterpoint and luscious modern harmonies with equal skill. The acoustic in St Paul’s Church is superb for vocal music – allowing for the fullest of texture and the quietest pianissimo.
From the first, it was clear that this was to be an extraordinary concert. There was much rarely heard music, ranging from three Baroque pieces from Mexico, Peru and South Carolina through the centuries to contemporary music. At the 17th century, most composers in the Americas were immigrants.
Resuenen los Clarines (May the trumpets sound), by Manuel de Zumaya, dates from 17th century Mexico. This antiphonal piece for two four part choirs, was challenging – with a fine interplay of sections between the two choruses.
Recordad Silguerillos (Remember, Little Goldfinches), by Juan de Araujo, a Spanish immigrant to Peru, for two sopranos, descant recorder and organ, was performed by Emily Swanson and Helen Seymour (sopranos), Jan Lavelle (recorder) and Frank De Rosso (organ). The piece is a love song, with interwoven voice parts. This was an admirable performance, enhanced by the wonderful acoustic of St Paul’s Church.
The third piece was a setting of Magnificat from Theodore Pachelbel. Pachelbel, an immigrant to South Carolina, was the son of more famous Johan Pachelbel. This setting was for double choir.
During the concert, Tom Healey played two contrasting pieces on the organ. The first, a gentle 18th century Offerterio by Domenico Zipoli, an Italian migrant to Argentina, showed off the organ’s reedy stops with only one sustained one pedal note. The second work, Toccata (from Suite) by Canadian composer, Thomas Bédard, was spectacular and used the full power of the organ, and showed off Healey’s phenomenal technique.
Lament Over Boston, a re-imagining of Psalm 137 with a new world focus, by William Billings, laments the unrest in the city in the late 18th century, with the approaching revolution against British rule. In English, it demonstrated the choir’s excellent diction and blend, and also Billings’ skilled word painting. A part-song in a lighter vein followed – 19th century romantic composer Edward MacDowell’s Barcarole.
Two of the USA’s most famous composers of the twentieth century were next – with Aaron Copeland’s At the River for men’s choir and piano, and Randall Thompson’s Come In for women’s choir, piano and flute. In this setting of a poem by Robert Frost, the flute interludes mimic birdsong. After a climax from full voiced choir, the music ebbs to an exquisite and moving pianissimo, before the birdsong dies away to a final thrush-like chirrup. The flautist in this performance was Brighid Mantelli.
Argentina’s Astor Piazzola is famous for his tangos. The final piece before interval was an energetic setting of Libertango, full of tango rhythms from the lower voices and piano, and finishing with a stunning fortissimo climax.
Twentieth and twenty-first century music from North America comprised the second half of the program. It included spirituals like My Lord, What a Morning, arranged by HT Burleigh, and sung with a warm a cappella. The subterranean bass note in the final extended pianissimo chord reverberated hauntingly.
Canada was represented with works by two contemporary female composers . The first was the beautiful moving In Remembrance for a cappella choir, from Eleanor Daley’s Requiem. The second work was an exquisite setting of Hear My Prayer (Psalm 103) by Stephanie Martin.
Thomas A Dorsey’s gospel song Precious Lord, begins in a traditional style, before relaxing into a heavy jazz-rock with men singing the tune, and the choir’s women singing in harmony above, with a virtuosic jazz piano accompaniment, played with great flare by the choir’s accompanist, Sonoka Miyake.
The final piece was another spiritual Let the Light Shine on Me, arranged by Moses Hogan.
Congratulations to Vox Angelica and Music at the Basilica, under the musical directorship of Frank De Rosso, for presenting this celebration of beautiful music.