News

Last chance to see University choir before overseas tour


29 June 2012

The 35-member Sydney Conservatorium Chamber Choir include a mix of musicians and non-musicians from across the University of Sydney.
The 35-member Sydney Conservatorium Chamber Choir include a mix of musicians and non-musicians from across the University of Sydney.

An award-winning University of Sydney choir will hold a final concert this Sunday before embarking on an international tour where they will be performing in some of the world's most famous venues, including Westminster Abbey and at Notre Dame Cathedral.

Although it is known as the Sydney Conservatorium Chamber Choir, the 35 choir members include a mix of musicians and non-musicians from across the University of Sydney, including undergraduate students and postgraduates.

Just four of the choir members - who all need to pass an audition - are vocal students studying at the Conservatorium. Other choir members are majoring in instrument studies, or even studying in other faculties, including medicine and arts - there is even one chemistry student.

"We will be singing in Germany, at Westminster Abbey and at Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris," says Simon Polson, the choir manager and a third year Bachelor of Musicology student. The choir will also travel to St Albans Cathedral, north of London.

They will be taking with them a repertoire of 30 choral works, including chant that dates back to the 1300s. They will also be performing contemporary works, including world premieres of two choral compositions by recent graduates from the Conservatorium, Huw Belling and Frederick Bayani-Mabalot.

The choir will be in safe hands with choir director Neil McEwan, says Polson: "He has an enormous amount of expertise and experience in the choral repertoire that we sing. He has also sung and studied in a number of the overseas venues in which we will be singing."

Jeremy Woodside, the choir's organist and a master's student at the Conservatorium, will have one of the most difficult jobs during the tour: before each performance he will have just one or two hours to practise on the instrument in each venue.

"Repertoire has been chosen from material included in concert programs from 2011 and 2012," says Polson. While the choristers normally rehearse for three hours for most of the year, the hours increase in the days leading up to concerts.

The choir's commitment and talent was rewarded earlier this month when it won the Open Choral and Chamber Choir events at the 2012 Sydney Eisteddfod.

This weekend's event, which will also double as a fundraising event for the tour, is the choir's final performance before heading overseas.


Event details

When: 3pm, Sunday 1 July. The choir will also sing for the 6.30pm Evensong service.

Where: Christchurch St Laurence, Railway Square, Sydney. See map

Cost: $20 adults and $10 concession for the 3pm performance. Admission to the Evensong Service is free.


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Media enquiries: Kath Kenny, 0478 303 173, 02 9351 1584, kath.kenny@sydney.edu.au