GONDWANA CHOIRS NATIONAL CHORAL SCHOOL.
Let the politicians argue about the school curriculum. Send your children to Gondwana Choirs National Choral School – they will learn a great deal and have googols of fun.
The Saturday concerts were the culmination of two weeks of workshops in choral singing, conducting and composing, attended by hundreds of young musicians aged 10-25, drawn from around the nation.
The five different choirs representing a range of abilities and singing from memory in several languages, presented music from Victoria to Butterly, traditional folk songs from around the world and some written by the musicians in the programme. The singers had the opportunity to work with an assemblage of specialist repetiteurs and leading conductors – amongst them Simon Carrington, Yale University Professor Emeritus and co-founder of the King’s Singers, Lyn Williams OAM, Artistic Director and Founder of the choirs and Carl Crossin OAM.
The programme founded in 1997 has extended its reach to include a conducting school directed by Brisbane based Graeme Morton AM, and a composer school co-directed by two Sydney based musicians, Paul Stanhope and Christopher Gordon. Works by the emerging composers were premiered during the choral school and in the concerts.
They rocked, they swayed, they clapped and clicked. The joy of music shone in their eyes. The afternoon climaxed with all the choirs on stage, conducted by Simon Carrington, premiering Tha Thin Tha by Indophile Melbourne composer Lisa Young who rehearsed her composition with the singers, first hand.
Toss the curriculum and focus on choral music – it will teach reading, writing and arithmetic, history, geography and languages, comparative religion, logic, creative thinking – and very likely much more. Also, the lessons of discipline, commitment, teamwork and being a member of a community.
The many dimensions of this programme, attend to the numerous aspects of choral singing, ensuring its future in performance skills, repertoire and expertise. It is surely what a national choral programme is about. Sydney is indeed fortunate to be its home city.
Shamistha de Soysa for SoundsLikeSydney©