Close up photo of microphone head and words The Two of Us
Calendar, Choral, Music, Performing arts, September 19

Music: The Two of Us

14 September @ Beasley Auditorium, Perth Modern School ·
Presented by Voyces ·

For their second concert of 2019, Voyces presents The Two Of Us, a celebration of the lighter side of choral music. The program ranges from choral versions of  jazz standards through to an arrangement of a Canadian hip hop track and includes more traditional Voyces repertoire like Balleilakka, originally written by Indian music director, A. R. Rahman. The choir will also be joined by The Laura Igglesden  Trio, all graduates of the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts.

Voyces is a West Australian arts organisation whose focus is on the performance, production and promotion of contemporary choral repertoire, with Musical Director Dr. Robert Braham leading the ensemble through diverse and challenging choral music. Voyces was started in 2011 from a passion for creating and sharing the highest quality choral music in a vibrant and engaging setting that connects audiences and performers.

More info
W: events.ticketbooth.com.au/event/the-two-of-us-evening/tag/seesaw

Pictured: Voyces – The Two of Us

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Music, News, Performing arts, Reviews

Choral cross-section

Review: Australian National Choral Association, Choralfest “Gala Concert” ⋅
Fremantle Town Hall, April 13 ⋅
Review by Leon Levy ⋅

The Australian National Choral Association’s Choralfest must have been heaven for lovers of choral music. Four days in Fremantle filled with talks, masterclasses workshops, concerts and pop-up events can’t but have been an inspiring, illuminating – and probably exhausting – experience for all involved.

The festival ran from April 13-16 and the epicentre was Saturday night’s Gala Concert which showcased an impressive cross-section of the participating choirs, both local and national.

Young Voices of Melbourne provided a delightful opening as the men, lined up across the stage, started Away from the Roll of the Sea, conducted from the floor by Mark O’Leary, while the rest of the choir filed in through the hall and added their voices. Clear diction and disciplined singing did justice to the evocative melody, as did accompanist Julia Piggin. An arresting Aboriginal chant took Waltzing Matilda a considerable distance from comfortable nostalgia as, with didgeridoo effects and paired sticks, an atmosphere of both the indigenous and introduced bush world was created. The tricky arrangement was skilfully negotiated.

The Australian Waratah Girls’ Choir (conductors Lindy Connett and Jennifer Scott) opened with a work inspired by the Ash Wednesday Fire, with music by Matthew Orlovich who also assembled the words. Loss, defiance, and a good deal of feeling were conveyed, and flame-red dresses only underlined this reaction to the tragedy. Tundra, in stark contrast, displayed striking vocal leaps, cleanly achieved, with beautiful solo voices emerging from the choral backdrop.

The all-female Perth Harmony Chorus under Carol McIntyre, the largest of the evening’s ensembles, displayed well-integrated sound as well as relaxed enthusiasm. Three items showcased their joy in singing: In the Wee Small Hours of the Morning was tenderly and affectingly performed, although the accompanying gestures from the choir were superfluous.

The Australian Voices choir has distinguished itself in the promotion of Australian new music and conductor Gordon Hamilton’s introductory explanations were appreciated, an essential adjunct to appreciation of the two unfamiliar works, Flight and We Apologise. The first, by Berlin-based Australian Jaret Choolun, was something of a technical tour-de-force; the latter, an ingenious slowing down and scoring of a recording of Kevin Rudd’s historic utterance, where the captured overtones were all represented in this setting. Fascinatingly, the conductor then replayed the choral sound successively faster until it matched the speaking voice of the former PM.

A pause in the programme allowed the announcement of the winners of the ANCA Choral Composition Competition Open Section, one of whom, Brian Connell, was in attendance to acknowledge his award. His setting of Siegfried Sassoon’s poem Secret Music written from the Western Front, is a work of gathering power and was conveyed by Voyces with great feeling and conviction.

The Giovanni Consort then eased us back into the compositional world that we are fortunate enough to have inherited, with music of almost ineffable beauty. The renditions of Holst’s I Love my Love and Perth musician Perry Joyce’s excerpt from The Song of Solomon were flawless: two gems within the evening.

Finally Voyces, with conductor Robert Braham and accompanist Jonathan Bradley, provided further balm for the soul in Jake Runestad’s adaption and setting of American naturalist John Muir’s Come to the Woods, whose opening few words could indeed be an anthem for Perth. The course of the day to sunset was faithfully reflected in both singing and accompaniment, and seemed a most appropriate conclusion to an evening of varied choral music, performed to a standard of high accomplishment.

All involved are to be congratulated and the only suggestion is that in future texts be provided, even if at a small cost.

Pictured top: Australian Voices

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Features, Music, News

Our singing city

Perth’s choral music renaissance is about to get a boost. Seesaw editor Rosalind Appleby talks to Luke Donohoe as Fremantle gets ready to host a four day festival of choral music.

For several years Perth has been experiencing a renaissance in choral music, with new, agile ensembles like Voyces, Baden Street Singers and ensembles from St George’s College building on the work of established groups like St George’s Cathedral Consort, Perth Undergraduate Choral Society and the Giovanni Consort. Appreciative audiences have been enjoying vibrant and creative performances of an increasingly broad range of choral repertoire. The interest in choral music has also found its way into the education program with expanding choral programs in schools like John Septimus Roe Anglican Community College and Aquinas College.

Next week Western Australia’s growing appetite for singing will be indulged with four days and over 80 performances by local, national and international ensembles at Choralfest, the Australian National Choral Association’s biennial celebration of choral music.

The festival will be held in Fremantle and kicks off on April 13 in true Aussie style with a pub choir at Clancy’s Fish Pub. It includes workshops, concerts, keynote presentations and free events including a Palm Sunday Procession through the streets of Fremantle.

The Australian Voices (Queensland) will feature at the Choralfest Gala Concert on April 13.

It is the first time the festival has been held in WA in 25 years. Choralfest manager Luke Donohoe says organisers wanted the festival to be as broad as possible.

“We wanted to present the breadth of the choral music tradition and also to reach as wide an audience as possible. If you like to go to free concerts, join a pub choir, or listen to the best choirs in the country – it is all available.”

This year the festival will include a unique feature on Noongar song with presentations by ethnomusicologist Clint Bracknell and Roma Winmar, sessions on teaching traditional songs and a choral presentation involving indigenous dance.

“The traditional owners of the land we live play an intrinsic role in life in WA and to overlook that would be an oversight,” says Donohoe. “Indigenous Australians have an incredible history of singing – it is a unique culture because we can trace their songs back to before they spoke.”

The English tradition of choral singing will be also be showcased with keynote speaker Robert Hollingworth bringing his experience as director of the Britain’s I Fagiolini ensemble. Sessions on youth choral music will be presented by keynote speakers Mark O’Leary (Gondwana Voices) and Jennifer Tham (Singapore Youth Choir).

Forty-five choirs will participate, from as far afield as Botswana, New Zealand and Singapore, presenting a breathtaking range of repertoire from sacred choral music to barbershop.

“We believe choral music can and should be for everyone. It may have a reputation for ruffled collars and cassocks but it is also about pub choirs that are going to sing Chumbawamba’s Tubthumping,” says Donohoe, who is also president of Voyces choir who will be performing at the festival.

Organisers are expecting more than 300 local and interstate delegates and over a thousand participants by the end of the festival. The flexible registration means music lovers can register for just a concert or a day, and choose to participate in choirs that match their age or taste.

Choralfest also offers local choirs and audiences a vital link to choral developments nationally and internationally.

“We think it’s important that the great choral work being done in Perth is connected to what is happening across the rest of Australia and the world,” says Donohoe.  “In Perth there are new, unique and agile choirs leading the charge, telling relevant and contemporary stories and having great success generating audiences and international recognition – but this doesn’t exist in isolation; we are expanding and developing a unique strain of what already exists worldwide.”

Choralfest runs April 13-16. Registration and concert details can be found on the website. 

Pictured top: Choralfest manager Luke Donohoe with Voyces choir. Photo Nik Babic

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Calendar, Choral, May 19, Music, Performing arts

Music: Once Upon a Time

18 May @ Christ Church, Claremont ·
Presented by Voyces ·

For their first concert of 2019, Voyces present Once Upon a Time, a celebration of music inspired by narrative. Including works by Paul Stanhope, Ēriks Ešenvalds and Luke Byrne, the choir will dive into a substantial but very beautiful and rewarding program. The concert will feature the winning piece from the 2019 Voyces Aspire Choral Composition Competition. This is the first time the competition has been run since 2014, and the choir is thrilled that it has been able to be restarted this year with an additional cash prize.

It’s also not too late to subscribe to Voyces’ entire 2019 season! Not only will you get the best seats in the house, you will also receive a number of great subscriber-only benefits.

Voyces is a West Australian arts organisation whose focus is on the performance, production and promotion  of contemporary choral repertoire, with Musical Director Dr. Robert Braham leading the ensemble through diverse and challenging choral music. Voyces was started in 2011 from a passion for creating and sharing the highest quality choral music in a vibrant and engaging setting that connects audiences and performers.

We would like to thank Trinity College and Happs Wines for their ongoing support.

More info
W: www.voyces.com.au/concerts/upcoming-concerts/
E:  contact@voyces.com.au

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Calendar, Choral, December 18, Music, Performing arts

Music: Season’s Greetings

21 December @ The Chapel, Christ Church Grammar School ·
Presented by Voyces & The Giovanni Consort ·

This Christmas, Voyces and The Giovanni Consort join forces for the first time to present Season’s Greetings, a spectacular program of old and new music. Featuring Sara Macliver, both choirs will take you across hundreds of years of Christmas music, from traditional settings to modern re-imaginings with pieces for both small and large ensembles.

Sara Macliver is one of Australia’s most popular and versatile artists, and is regarded as one of the leading exponents of Baroque repertoire. Sara is a regular performer with all the Australian symphony orchestras as well as the Perth, Melbourne and Sydney Festivals, Pinchgut Opera, the Australian Chamber Orchestra and Australian Brandenburg Orchestra,Musica Viva, and a number of international companies.

Voyces is a West Australian arts organisation whose focus is on the performance, production and promotion of contemporary choral repertoire, with Musical Director Dr. Robert Braham leading the ensemble through diverse and challenging choral music.

In the 23 years since its foundation The Giovanni Consort has become renowned for its exquisite, high-quality performances of unaccompanied choral music ranging from the medieval period to the present day.

Voyces wishes to acknowledge the support of Trinity College and Happs Wines.

The Giovanni Consort wishes to acknowledge the support of Lamont’s Cottesloe, Christ Church Claremont & David Penco Photography.

More info
W:  www.seasonsgreetings2018.eventbrite.com/ 
E:   info@voyces.com.au

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Voyces
Calendar, Music, Performing arts, September 18

Music: Voyces – Plus One

9 September, 3pm @ Perth Modern School, Subiaco ·
Presented by Voyces ·

Plus One is our second concert for the 2018 season, and will feature a work commissioned by Voyces by local Perth composer, Perry Joyce. Joyce’s premiere work will feature as the central work of the concert and will appear alongside composers such as John Tavener, Paul Mealor and Matthew Orlovich.

The choir will be joined by eminent Perth instrumentalists for each of these pieces, as well as presenting a piece by each composer that showcases the choir independently. This varied program will include bass clarinet, soprano saxophone, cello, viola, violin and tubular bells.

More info: https://voyces.com.au/
Email: rachel.singer@voyces.com.au

Photo: Nik Babic Photography

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