For the Joy of Singing the Classics: Opera Choruses

Around 50 singers enjoyed an afternoon singing the classics under the able direction of Daryl Barclay with the help of Hugh Davidson, accompanist.

The music was challenging – with all parts needing to divide (in one case, within two choirs).  With opera, the chorus play many roles.  This afternoon the chorus were asked to play peasants, matadors (and their molls), pilgrims, country bumpkins and courtiers.

With many choruses sprinting along at allegro, even English words were a challenge.  However, undaunted, the group attempted Italian for choruses of Verdi, but reneged on trying Russian for Tchaikovsky.

Thanks to Daryl and Hugh for an afternoon of enjoyable singing.  Thanks also to Anne Pilgrim, who devised the concept of Singing the Classics as a chance for singers to attempt repertoire that is outside of their choirs’ usual scope.  The series is sponsored by The Geelong Chorale.

The second For the Joy of Singing the Classics for 2018 will be on June 10th, when Allister Cox (director of The Geelong Chorale and a G & S veteral), will conduct singers in an afternoon of choruses from Gilbert and Sullivan light operas.


Geelong Symphony Orchestra Chorus: The Mighty 9th – Preliminary Workshop


7.30pm, Saturday, 27th October, 2018- The Geelong Symphony Orchestra and GSO Chorus, conducted by Fabian Russell.

Almost 80 singers attended the familiarisation workshop for the GSO Chorus on Sunday, March 4th.  The rehearsal was directed by Peter Tregear, Chorus Master for the GSO Chorus.

There were singers from many different choirs – from Geelong, Drysdale, Colac, Winchelsea, Anglesea, Melbourne, Gisborne and other choirs far and wide.

To do the mighty 9th justice, a large choir is needed.  While the duration of the fourth movement (which includes choir and soloists) is relatively short, the intensity of singing needed is great.  A full range of dynamics is required.

If you would like to register as a singer, please fill out the registration form.


Sing Beethoven’s NINTH SYMPHONY

Experienced singers in the Geelong region are invited to become part of the Geelong Symphony Orchestra Chorus to sing Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony. 

The performance is part of the GSOs third concert in the 2018 subscription series.  It will take place on Saturday October 27th, 2018 at Costa Hall, Gheringhap Street, Deakin University Waterfront Campus, at 7.30pm.

A number of rehearsals will be held for the choir before one or more rehearsals with soloists and orchestra.

A familiarisation workshop will be held on March 4th (details of time and venue to be finalised soon).

To register your interest as a singer, please fill out the form here.  For  more information please contact Helen Lyth

The conductor is Fabian Russell.  The chorus master is Peter Tregear of the Consort of Melbourne.

Soloists Lee Abrahmsen soprano, Manfred Pohlenz bass baritone, Tim Reynolds Tenor,  Alto still to be decided.

This is your chance to sing Beethoven’s magnificent ODE TO JOY.



Christmas Around the World – The Geelong Chorale: December 2nd, 2017

All Saints Church, Noble Street, Newtown.  Saturday, December 2nd, 5pm.

Allister Cox conducted a choir of 37 singers in a program of carols from around the world.  The Geelong Chorale was accompanied by Kristine Mellens (piano) and Frank De Rosso.  The guest artists for this concert were the Geelong Handbell Choir.

Allister Cox

The concert began with Australian bird song imitations from the choir placed at the rear of the church.  The work was If Christ had been born in another time composed by Australian Matthew Orlovich.  This set the tone for music of high quality and audience appeal.  Carols ranged from traditional English and European, to modern works including Of a Rose, a Lovely Rose (Colin Brumby), Jewel Carol, composed by New Zealander Christopher Marshall and Shepherds Pipe Carol (John Rutter).  There were several songs for audience participation.

The Geelong Handbell Choir was a popular guest artist, playing a selection of carols, and finishing with some light-hearted schmaltz – a setting of Irving Berlin’s White Christmas

As is usual for the Geelong Chorale’s Christmas concerts, the concert ended with We Wish You a Merry Christmas (English West Country carol) in a spectacular setting by Arthur Warrell.

This Christmas concert continues the Geelong Chorale’s Christmas tradition of carol concerts.  These started in 1981 – the Year of the Disabled*.  Originally, a free gift from the Chorale to the community, the aim was to present a short, easily accessible concert of traditional and new carols to the community, particularly targeting people who find attending outdoors ‘carols by candlelight’ events difficult.  The first concerts were held in the Geelong Art Gallery, and later the foyer of the Geelong Performing Arts Centre.  Children sat on the floor, and the venues were easily wheel-chair accessible.  Several aged care centres brought busloads of people to attend.

With the local ‘carols by candlelight’ cancelled due to bad weather, it’s a pity that the Chorale’s alternative offering was not better advertised.  The rather small audience certainly enjoyed the concert.

*Prior to 1981, the Gama Singers (now the Geelong Chorale) gave annual Christmas cafe concerts.

Read Colin Mockett’s review of Christmas Around the World at Entertainment Geelong.


‘Everything Begins with the Human Voice’.

While in Dublin recently, I was warmly welcomed and thrilled to take part in a regular Friday night gathering of the An Góilín Traditional Singers’ Club in the large lounge-room of a club in Parnell Square. About 50-60 people attended, most prepared and eager to sing, with not one instrument in the room. Many sang in Gaelic, some in the ornamented séan nos style, heartfelt songs such as My Little Grey Home in the West (a tenor’s tribute), A Blacksmith Courted Me, The Salley Gardens, Northwest Passage (by Stan Rogers), Bold Fenian Men, and many associated with particular counties such as The Boys of Fair Hill (one of the best-known of songs from County Cork).

The contribution of Kris Drever, recently-awarded BBC Folksinger of the Year (who sang ‘Everyone’s Playing Pool’) was no more greatly appreciated than less-well-known voices singing occasionally out-of-tune; the respect of everyone in the room for all the singers and the songs was palpable and made for a thoroughly satisfying (if, unsurprisingly, very late) night.

A week later the Willie Clancy Summer Festival (Scoil Samhraidh) was in full swing at Milltown Malbay, where thousands thronged the narrow streets of the small town. There was an air of anticipation inside the dilapidated Community Centre which was filling fast before the Traditional Singers’ Concert on Friday afternoon. All were introduced, in Gaelic as were many of their songs, as being from their particular home county (e.g. Tipperary, Mayo or Clare); some of the singers offered an explanation in English as well. The MC acknowledged that ‘everything begins with the human voice’ and we heard a fine range of the best singers of Irish songs to be found in the country.

Some were elderly men with lifelong reputations as fine singers, others the typical Irish tenor or women with strong, tuneful voices, although I noticed that many sang with mouths almost closed and tight, throaty projection. Most sang solemn, even sad songs, about the beauty of the various counties of Eireann, and of emigration to ‘Amerikay’; few, such as a parody of music hall ditties (themselves parodies) called In Praise of Mullingar, had the audience laughing instead of crying.

One young man from a Gaeltacht (where Gaelic is strongly maintained as the first language) sang beautifully but with his eyes closed because he doesn’t enjoy ‘watching people suffer’ although to hear him was a pleasure, and the lone Scot, Sandra Robertson, sang puirt-a-beul (mouth music) from the highlands or islands, which was similarly well received. In every case, respect for the singer and appreciation of their songs was the unified response and created a wonderful atmosphere. And not once did we hear O Danny Boy!

Marie Goldsworthy

Thanks, Marie, for this report.