Touring with Voices of Birralee – Once in a lifetime experiences equipping our singers for growth!

Whether it is our Brisbane Birralee Voices performing a singing flash mob of Ruth McCall’s arrangement of Waltzing Matilda in Piazza San Marco (St Mark’s Square) Venice, our Anzac Commemoration Choir singing The Parting Glass  to an entire cast and crew in a street in Bullecourt, France or our Birralee Blokes simply serenading the local ladies in a park in Canada, our tours have been a huge part of Voices of Birralee’s 20 year history. 

During this time, our tours have been highly enjoyable for each chorister involved, but we also believe our choristers have benefitted from so much more. Including:

  • Experiencing different cultures and traditions
  • Learning new music or learning from extremely talented musicians
  • Trying different cuisines
  • Communicating with people whose first language isn’t English
  • Visiting the must see attractions in each state or country they perform
  • Finding the many hidden treasures which exist around Australia and the world
  • Experiencing the joy of performing well in different circumstances

And all of this is achieved in friendly and safe environments while our choristers are doing what they love – singing!

We asked our choristers what their tour highlights were and they responded emphatically! 

“Anzac Tour, 2015 – representing Australia and our fallen diggers is something I will never forget. Standing on the battlefield as The Last Post played made me burst into tears. An experience like no other I have ever felt.” – Pip Suschinsky

“Europe Tour, 2010 – Vague memories of Paul Jarman tackling a snowman and finding an old restaurant underneath the Prague Town Hall to sing Christmas carols in.” – Dale Norris

Dale Norris enjoys the snow in Europe.

  Dale Norris enjoys the snow during the Europe Tour 2010. 

Choristers Matt and Nic enjoy Rome

Choristers Matt and Nick enjoy Rome

Our choristers in Prague during the 2010 Europe tour.

Our choristers in Prague during the 2010 Europe Tour.

“2007 World Vision Children’s Choir festival, Seoul, South Korea. This was my first trip overseas and it made me fall in love with Korea and Korean culture. I have been there twice since then and plan to move there to teach in the near future. We also had the opportunity to meet so many people from so many different places. One choir was the boys from Texas, with their awesome rope tricks – very entertaining! In the short time I was there I also became very close to the eldest daughter of my host family and I remember when we got on the bus to leave after everyone had said their goodbyes, she got on the bus, sat down beside me and we cried together. What a trip!” – Sarah Haringcaspel

(Above) Brisbane Birralee Voices and Lizzie singing “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” at the World Vision Children’s Choral Festival – Seoul Performing Arts Centre.

“South Korea 2007 – Trying to interact with my billet family who spoke zero English and singing in the World Vision Children’s Festival. / Songbridge Tour 1 2008 – It was the first time visiting north Queensland and sleeping on a deckchair on the rooftop of our penthouse until rudely awoken by the rain. / Canada 2012 – Performing some of the best songs the blokes have ever sung in an ice hockey stadium. Plus that incredibly sketchy wooden roller-coaster in Vancouver! / France 2015 – All of it.” – Samuel Irvine Casey

Brisbane Birralee Blokes tour Canada in 2012.

  Our Birralee Blokes tour Canada in 2012.

2012 Blokes Canada 2

Birralee Blokes are named ‘Choir of the World’ at Kathaumixw, Canada in 2012.

“Resonance at the World Choir Games in Graz, Austria (2008). Such a moving and successful tour for Resonance as the group was in its infancy. I think we realised that we had come so far and that we really could achieve anything with our music.” – Louise Knauth

“South Korea in 2007 was amazing and also the first time I’d experienced culture shock! The first night there, our host family took us to an incredible restaurant filled with waterfalls (which was different in itself, given the drought back here), and not knowing that eating everything on your plate in Korean culture indicated that we were still hungry, I ended up eating an insane amount of food in efforts to be polite – though it was still delicious. – Charlotte Greener

“Canada (2001) – Mr C carrying a big red umbrella high above his head so we wouldn’t get lost in Disneyland and Mrs C saving us from the festival sponsored by Subway. We’d eaten it for days in a row (four times a day) and one night, Mrs C ordered us Chinese! The Brazilian and Canadian choirs were so jealous. / Korea (2004) – Getting bombarded by the audience following a concert in Incheon. We had to stay in the dressing room till some of them left and when we tried to leave, we were stopped to sign their tickets and programs and have photos with them. Some one even got handed a baby!”  – Sarah McDonald

“World Vision Childrens Choir Festival (2007) – It was an amazing and unforgettable experience and I loved every second of it – from my arrival at my host family’s home, to not knowing how to use the toilet so I continually sprayed water everywhere until I had to go to the host father (who didnt speak English) and try to explain the situation, to mistaking wasabi for cabbage, it was amazing. The people, the music, the new culture, it was all so magical ♡♡♡ an experience that will forever remain in my mind.” – Emily Ann

“Vancouver (2001) – Every single part of it. But the funniest was sleeping on thin mattresses on a school classroom floor with a sleeping bag with no heating in the middle of a Canadian winter! Such an experience. Socialising with other countries’ choirs. Having a snow fight up Banff mountain. I could go on!!” – Lou Maddens

“New Zealand 2012- spending a day in Hobbiton! And the luge and giant swing in Rotorua!” – Connor Scott

Brisbane Birralee Voices visit New Zealand's  Hobbiton on their tour in 2012.

Brisbane Birralee Voices visit New Zealand’s Hobbiton on their tour in 2012.

“Representing Australia in the World of Children’s Choirs Festival and singing with 2,000+ kids. Seeing snow for the first time, singing with the kids from Venezuela, getting to Disneyland and Universal Studios. Such a fun trip with memories I’ll treasure forever. Ooh and the ridiculously high suspension bridge! Awesome!” – Megan Radford.

***

You can see from the great comments above that our tours provide unforgettable experiences while building ‘once in a lifetime’ memories.

Touring holds such great merit in the development of young people, providing a learning experience which deepens the bonds of friendship and contributes uniquely to an individual’s growth and maturity.

(Above) The Brisbane Birralee Voices perform at the European Tour, December 2010 in Hradec Kralove, Czech Republic. A highlight of this tour was performing Magnetic Island Songs written by Paul Jarman, commissioned by Voices of Birralee. This will be sung by Brisbane Birralee Voices and alumni at Voices of Birralee’s 20th anniversary concert. 

With Voices of Birralee, touring opportunities are available in the older ensembles – Birralee Singers, Brisbane Birralee Voices, Birralee Blokes and Resonance of Birralee –  and we find the values developed during tours include resilience, independence, camaraderie, confidence and friendship. The experiences also help our choristers become more equipped to overcome challenges, be more adaptable and flexible to these challenges, while they continue to explore and enhance their musical excellence.

A huge part of this musical excellence is meeting and watching other choirs and conductors perform and our singers learn from seeing other choral groups in action. Over the years we have also been fortunate to have composers and professional musicians or instrumentalists join the touring group for a trip which further enriches and enhances each chorister’s own musical journey.

This year our touring groups include our Anzac Commemoration Choir which toured France in April. Our Birralee Singers are off to Tasmania in September and the Birralee Blokes are the guest choir at the Men of Song Festival in Bunbury, Western Australia in October.

Our Anzac Commemoration Choir tours France in 2015.

Our Anzac Commemoration Choir tours France in 2015.

And the list of our past tours is huge, with multiple accolades achieved along the way! Here’s a snapshot of some of the highlights:

Resonance of Birralee

  • 2014 – Resonance in Adelaide – SA
  • 2012 – Across the Border – Sydney NSW
  • 2010 – Australian National Eisteddfod First Prize winner in their category – ACT
  • 2008 – World Choir Games – Two Gold medals Graz AUSTRIA

Birralee Blokes

  • 2012 – Kathaumixw International Choral Festival – British Columbia CANADA – Gold Medal and awarded overall prize Choir of the World
  • 2010 – KMEIA National Conference – Melbourne VICTORIA
  • 2009 – Q150 Songbridge – various regional centres in QLD
  • 2008 – 2nd International Boys & Men’s Festival & World Choir Games – Prague CZECH REPUBLIC & Graz AUSTRIA
  • 2007 – Cornwall International Male Voice Festival UNITED KINGDOM
  • 2006 – ANCA Choralfest, Hobart, TAS

Brisbane Birralee Voices

  • 2014 – 13th International Choir Competition – Riva Del Garda ITALY
  • 2012 – The Meeting Place Music Tour NEW ZEALAND
  • 2010 – Prague International Festival, 6 Gold Medals & Grand Prix Award CZECH REPUBLIC
  • 2010 – ANCA National Choralfest Port Macquarie NSW
  • 2009 – Q150 Songbridge – various regional centres in QLD
  • 2008 – Queensland Songbridge – various regional centres in QLD
  • 2006, 2010 – Maryborough Music Conference QLD
  • 2006 – Commonwealth Games Fringe Festival, Melbourne VIC
  • 2006, 2003 – World Vision International Choir Festival, Seoul SOUTH KOREA
  • 2004 – Pacific International Youth Choir Festival, Oregon USA
  • 2002 – KMEIA National Conference, Newcastle, NSW
  • 2001- World of Children’s Choirs Festival, Vancouver CANADA

Birralee Singers

  • 2013 – Youth Encounter Sydney & Newcastle Tour – NSW
  • 2012 – KMEIA National Conference – Adelaide SOUTH AUSTRALIA
  • 2010 – Australian National Eisteddfod First Prize winner in their category – ACT
  • 2007 – Festival of Voices – TASMANIA
  • 2006 – Canberra Choral Exchange – ACT

Do you have a fun touring memory? Let us know at marketing@birralee.org. Or find out more about Voices of Birralee at birralee.org.

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