Singing the Classics ~ G&S: Sunday 10th June, 2018

Almost seventy Gilbert and Sullivan aficionados arrived to enjoy an afternoon of singing songs from the Savoy operas, conducted by Allister Cox and accompanied by Sonoka Miyake.

The selection of music included multiple patter songs – a fine test of singers’ diction.  Allister, who is much in demand for his own prowess, excelled at this.  There were many past and current members of Gilbert and Sullivan groups, enjoying the opportunity to enjoy old favourites like Pirates of Penzance and HMS Pinafore, and undaunted by the intricacies of Iolanthe.  The sumptuous afternoon, provided by St Lukes parishioners, was a chance to catch up with old friends and tell a few of the stories of past G&S productions, both in Geelong and wider abroad.  A number of people had travelled from Melbourne to sing along.

The afternoon with a rousing performance of “Dance a Cachucha” from The Gondoliers.

Thanks to Allister, Sonoka, and all singers.

Thanks also to Anne Pilgrim, the founder and coordinator of Singing the Classics and to the Geelong Chorale who host the event.


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.

Singing the Classics: Requiem – Mozart

Sunday, June 11th, 2pm, St Luke’s Church, Barrabool Road, Highton

The director for this performance is Malcolm John.

You may have sung this work many times, or never.  It’s a stalwart of the choral repertoire.  However, many choristers have never had the opportunity to sing this beautiful Requiem.  Sunday is your chance to come along and enjoy learning (or brushing up) this lovely piece.

$15 covers music hire and afternoon tea.  Bookings Anne Pilgrim

Singing the Classics is an annual series.  It gives singers the opportunity to sing through major works in the choral repertoire and perform some sections, all in an afternoon.  It is presented by The Geelong Chorale and was instigated and is coordinated by Anne Pilgrim.

Singing the Classics 2016 II: Light Opera Choruses

A large number of choristers and light opera fans crowded into St Lukes Church Highton for the second of this year’s For the Joy of Singing the Classics series.  John Stubbings directed this afternoon of music making, with Anne Pilgrim as accompanist.

Armed with strong voices and a wodge of choruses to sight read, the singers transformed into nuns (and (br)others) in The Sound of Music, students in The Student Prince and masked ball goers for Die Fledermaus Director of Music of Geelong’s U3A Choir, Margaret Hughes, took the baton to direct Painless Opera – a medley of fragments from Mozart to Puccini.

This series, presents by The Geelong Chorale continues to gather singers from far and wide.  The last of this year’s series is on October 23rd, when you are invited to sing Gounod’s St Cecilia Mass.


Sing Vivaldi’s Gloria – Sunday March 20th

For the Joy of Singing the Classics: I 2016

Calling all Singers to come along and enjoy singing:

  • Gloria by Antonio Vivaldi
  • Sunday, March 20th, 2016, 2-5pm
  • St Lukes Uniting Church, Barrabool Road, Highton
  • Conductor:  Jodie Townsend, Accompanist:  Regina Thomae
  • $12 (includes music hire and afternoon tea)
  • All welcome
  • Contact Anne Pilgrim   to register.


Singing the classics Vivaldi Gloria web

Malcolm John Retrospective: Sunday 21st June

Dr. Malcolm John OAM has been a prominent musician, composer, and music teacher and  in South Australia and Victoria for many years.  This concert celebrates Malcolm John’s 80th birthday.

The concert is on Sunday 21st June, at 2:00 at St Lukes Uniting Church, Highton.

The program includes excerpts from operas and musicals, choral work, chamber music, and songs.  Much of Malcolm John’s works have been composed for groups with which Malcolm has been involved; others are commissioned pieces.  For example, The Viaduct, a one-act opera, was composed for The Theatre of the Winged Unicorn and first performed at Ceres in 2000.  This work is represented by a dramatic duet in which an overseer for the building of the Moorabool railway viaduct directs his foremen and workers to lay rocks on the exact place where he has murdered and hidden the body of the man he suspects of being his wife’s lover.  This is sung by Manfred Pohlenz and John Stubbings.

The musical Adelaide, Adelaide! was written when Malcolm was working in Adelaide.  Several excerpts are presented, Hot Steel (for male chorus), I build ships (bass soloist and chorus), Strolling by the Torrens (chorus) and duets Have you ever been to Liverpool? and We don’t care.

The program also excerpts from two works for youth choir, sung by the Geelong Youth Choir Chamber Ensemble; Fly Away Peter, for instrumental quartet and narrator, commissioned by Music at the Basilica, and first performed in May 2015; two Shakespeare songs for vocal trio, two oboe concertinos with oboist Melissa Murphy; songs sung by Manfred Pohlenz, Alison Ralph and Karen Murray; ‘Sonus’ Wind Quintet 1 & 2; Trios for violin, cello and piano and several choral songs presented by an ensemble from The Geelong Chorale and instrumentalists.

This concert is part of the Singing the Classics series.

Tickets are available at the door – $15 & $12 – includes afternoon tea.  Chorale Malcolm John 80th brochure


Jesu meine Freude: Singing the Classics I, 2015

The a cappella motet, Jesu Meine Freude, is one of J S Bach’s most beautiful choral works.  The work is based on the chorale “Jesu Meine Freude” and contains eleven movements, five of which are settings of the chorale melody.

On Sunday, March 22nd, a large enthusiastic group of singers from many Geelong area choirs came together at Wesley Church Geelong for the first Singing the Classics of 2015.  Anne Pilgrim, the convener of Singing the Classics and an expert on the music of Bach, was the conductor on this occasion.  Singing the Classics allows musicians to sing works which they might otherwise never have the opportunity to perform.

Bach is never easy!  For most of the singers, this work was new.  Anne therefore led the choir through each movement – noting that Bach had used a symmetrical schema to write this work.  For example, the harmonisation for the first chorale is repeated in the final movement with the final stanza of the text.  Bach divides the soprano line for much of the work, and also uses various combinations of voices – SSA, SSAT (for the third repetition of the chorale theme, a contrapuntal setting with the altos singing the melody), and ATB.

After a short break, the newly formed ‘pop-up’ choir sang the whole work in the church.  The warm acoustic supported the singers in this newly ‘learned’ work and, for the tiny audience, provided a most enjoyable performance.  Throughout rehearsal and performance, Selmo Carreira provided a supportive piano accompaniment where needed.  Selmo is accompanist for Geelong Grammar School, teaches piano at The Geelong Chollege and Bach2Roc .

Thanks to Anne Pilgrim for her leadership, conducting skills and knowledge, Selmo Carreira  for his accompaniment and to Geelong Association of Music and Art (GAMA) and The Geelong Chorale, who support this series.

For more information about Singing the Classics contact Anne or keep following the Choral Grapevine.