Voices of Birralee’s year that was!

From rehearsals to concerts to tours, 2016 was an awesome year – so let’s take a moment to discuss some of the highlights! If you have more to add, email marketing@birralee.org! 

Combined Choral Concert (March): The year kicked off with Voices of Birralee presenting the Combined Choral Concert featuring Marist College Ashgrove Choirs, Brisbane Birralee Voices and the Birralee Blokes.

Anzac Commemoration Choir tour (April): We entered the second stage of our five year commitment to the Department of Veterans’ Affairs with 30 of our choristers travelling to France to perform at the Anzac Day services at the Australian National Memorial, Villers-Bretonneux and at the Australian ‘Digger’ Memorial, Bullecourt, with a number of other performances across France. You can reflect on the trip via the blogs.

Birralee Blokes (March – May): As we strove to further grow this ensemble of young men, we launched a #beingabloke competition, with our blokes showcasing why they enjoyed being a part of this all male ensemble! While Joshua Clifford took home the top prize, Jack Woolrych and Hugo Richardson’s clip was also brilliant!

Cupcake & Cushion Concert (May): The annual Cupcake & Cushion Concert at The Old Museum was a great success, with Birralee’s youngest taking the stage and for some, the concert was their first public performance! We filmed this video to discover just how much our Kids and Piccolos love singing with Birralee:

Resonance of Birralee’s 10 Year Anniversary (June): In early June, we celebrated the success of our young adult choir, Resonance of Birralee with a stunning concert at All Hallow’s School. The choir now consists of more than 80 choristers, led by conductor Paul Holley OAM, accompanied by Brendan Murtagh.

Western Front Centenary Choir (July): The second overseas tour this year was when 15 of our choristers travelled to France to sing at the 100th Anniversaries of the Battles of Pozieres and Fromelles, while also being gifted the incredible opportunity to sing at the first commemoration service for the Australians who fought in the small village of Allonville. Catch up on this trip via this blog.

The Young Voices Festival (August): Voices of Birralee presented its 11th Young Voices Festival. It was a packed house with so many families supporting their young singers at Somerville House. The event featured 300 children from Eagle Junction State School, Redeemer Lutheran College, The Gap State School, Clayfield College, St Laurence’s College, with the Birralee Piccolos and Kids.

Birralee Recycled (August – September): This year, Voices of Birralee ventured into the unknown with the launch of a new give-it-a-go community choir, featuring the ‘older’ members of the Birralee and wider community. More than 60 members were led by conductor Peter Ingram, with accompanist Brendan Murtagh. The choir performed at The Young and the Recycled concert with Brisbane Birralee Voices (BBV) in September.

Birralee Trivia nights (June and September): We held two trivia nights this year, the first was themed ‘France meets Australia’ with the second, ‘Poppies in Spring’ encouraging a variety of wonderfully creative costumes. Both raised funds for our Western Front Anzac Centenary Choir touring project, with September’s also assisting BBV’s regional NSW tour. Overall we raised about $14,000 with a very special thank you to The Ashgrove – the Gap Lions Club for its support!

BBV Regional NSW tour (September): Voices of Birralee loves bringing choral music into regional communities and in 2016 this included BBV touring Murwillumbah, Mullumbimby and Hastings, culminating in performances at the Bellingen Music Festival.

Lions Club Meeting (October): Voices of Birralee was selected as a recipient by The Ashgrove – The Gap Lions Club to receive a $1,000 grant as part of the Lions Community 100 project. The funds will contribute to our Western Front Anzac Centenary Choir touring project. In October a group of our April and July choristers presented at the club’s meeting to discuss the touring program and say thank you for the club’s support. We met the editor of The Western Echo, Philippa Wightman, who ran a story on the front page of her newspaper (read it here).

Birralee Blokes’ Gold Coast tour (October): Our Birralee Blokes participated in the 2016 Gold Coast Schools Extravaganza as a great chance to work with other choirs, including in a massed choir setting.

Birralee Celebrates 2016 (November): To wrap up the year, Voices of Birralee held a two-part concert, with fantastic performances by all of our ensembles. It was wonderful to welcome back two of Birralee’s alumni, the Voices AU 2016 grand finalist Ellen Reed, with opera singer and founding member of the Birralee Blokes Matt Hirst.

WW1 Music Commission (November – December): Voices of Birralee launched its first crowdfunding campaign to raise funds to commission two choral pieces based upon the poetry of chorister Joshua Clifford, inspired by his trip in July with the Western Front Centenary Choir. Thanks to the generosity of the Birralee and wider community, we have exceeded our fundraising goal of $4,000!

The commissioned music will premiere at Voices of Birralee’s 2017 Voices from the Trenches Festival running from March – July. This festival will involve a number of school and community choirs from across Brisbane and Toowoomba and is proudly supported by the State Government. Read more about the commissioning project here, with a story about the project on ABC AM. Josh was also featured on radio programme 4MBS.

Christmas performances (December): In December, Voices of Birralee was involved in a  number of wonderful festive events. This included Resonance performing at the Christmas Care Concert at St John’s Cathedral, with Maggie, Katie and Tyrone Noonan and a number of other outstanding performers, to support the Gallipoli Medical Research Foundation.

Other performances in December included our choristers performing at the Bardon Community Carols, the Lighting of the Christmas Tree, Carols in the City, with a number of choristers and alumni performing at QPAC’s Spirit of Christmas and Queensland Ballet’s The Nutcracker (more info about our performances here).

As you can see, 2016 has been huge and that of course isn’t all that happened!

We hope you’ve had a great year! If you’d like to share your Voices of Birralee highlights, email marketing@birralee.org.

A huge thank you for everyone’s contribution in 2016. Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

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