The Birralee Blokes have been around for 13 years, and in that time they have played a huge part in growing the highly positive culture for male choral singing we see today!
As for the guys involved, they’ve loved the ‘team environment’ singing with the Blokes has provided, while noting improved confidence and musicality.
What the Blokes say?
“I love to sing, and rehearsing a wide range of songs with the Blokes. Being part of the choir is like being part of a team. I find at the end of each rehearsal that I feel refreshed. Being part of the Blokes is worthwhile for any young man who loves to sing.” – Tom Wilcox.
“Singing in Blokes is awesome because you get to sing so many different types of music. You have the chance to sing solos, but you also get to enhance your ability to sing, plus it boosts your confidence a hell of a lot!” – Phillip Suschinsky.
“It’s a really good experience for any guy who loves singing. It brings everyone together. You don’t have to be very good, but you come and learn and have new experiences.” – Lindsay Cooper.
Why did the Blokes begin?
Back in 2003, there weren’t many opportunities for young men to explore their choral singing, let alone a place they could go where their voices would be nurtured through the somewhat awkward phase when voices change.
So, the Birralee Blokes was born, founded by Mr Paul Holley, OAM.
And it was a hit! Membership soared, with blokes aged around 13 – 25 from across Brisbane keen to sing with like-minded lads, with all kinds of tuneful voices with one thing in common – they all loved music.
The beauty of the Birralee Blokes, which is still a main feature today, is that while the Blokes as an ensemble sound sensational, the singers don’t need to be superstars. This means so many young men are given opportunities to sing and perform, when in the past they may not have dreamt it possible.
What have they achieved?
Driven to create this sensational music, the ensemble over the years has achieved fantastic accolades such as being announced Youth Choir of the Year and the ABC Classic FM Choir of the Year at the ABC Classic FM Choral Competition.
International highlights have included representing Australia at the 3rd International Male Voice Festival, Cornwall, UK, while winning Choir of the World at Kathaumixw, Canada.
And who can forget when the Birralee community was glued to their TV screens when the Blokes performed in Channel 7’s Battle of the Choirs!
Overall though, one of the biggest achievements of the past 13 years has been how the ensemble has encouraged a positive male singing culture, taken up enthusiastically by Brisbane and the rest of Australia, giving men exceptional opportunities to excel in choral singing.
What about the future?
The Birralee Blokes will continue to provide young men opportunities to explore their singing in a supported environment. Significant occasions will include next year’s Pemulwuy! National Male Voice Festival, while Blokes’ choristers will be invited to apply to sing in our Anzac Commemoration Choir for Europe services as part of our Department of Veterans’ Affairs commitment from 2017 – 2019.
We look forward to seeing what the Birralee Blokes can achieve next!
More information about the Birralee Blokes can be found here.
If you’re a current or past Birralee Bloke and would like to add any photos or comments to this blog, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.