Seasons Greetings from Birralee!

Thank you for a great, action-packed year! Here’s a few messages from the artistic team at Voices of Birralee as we begin our break. Have a wonderful and safe Christmas and New Year and if you loved your time with us in 2017, make sure you enrol for 2018 here.

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“Congratulations Voices of Birralee on a very successful, action-packed year and thank you to everyone involved, from the conductors, our office team and to our volunteer managers, your contribution and passion has been once again greatly appreciated. There were many highlights for 2017 including the very successful and far-reaching three-part Voices from the Trenches Festival where our choirs were joined by school and community choirs across Brisbane and Toowoomba, while the final instalment was tied in with the Pemulwuy! National Male Voice Festival, which was a pleasure to join with men’s choirs from Australia and abroad in celebration of male singing.

“This year included two tours as part of our Western Front Centenary Choir Project commitment with the Department of Veterans’ Affairs, where in April we sent our first U18 choir who did us proud at the Anzac Day Dawn Service in France and other concerts. Our second overseas choir performed at an incredibly moving Anniversary of the Battle of Polygon Wood in Belgium. A personal highlight for me was seeing our Birralee Singers grow in their tour to Tasmania and I’m sure many of the accompanying parents would agree, they sang beautifully. They also did us proud performing in Queensland Symphony Orchestra’s Carmen In-Concert!

“As we move onto 2018, we’re excited for another big year of activity and opportunity to see our choristers flourish across each ensemble – I look forward to you joining us!” Julie Christiansen OAM, Founder & Artistic Director (BBV & Birralee Singers Conductor) 

 

The Birralee Singers head to Tasmania. 

“Blokes has grown to be the largest it has been for several years which has been exciting. The highlight of the year was Pemulwuy and it was great to have other blokes from the Birralee family join us to sing at this festival. The involvement in Voices from the Trenches Festival concerts in Brisbane and Toowoomba was also a fantastic way to remember the sacrifice of servicemen and women who gave so much and most at an age the same as many of our Blokes. I am sure for those Blokes who had the chance to travel to France this year for Anzac Day it was also a reminder of this gift from the young men of an earlier generation. Finally let me give a big thank you to Kate, Justine, Dominik, Brigitte and Tania who have been fantastic support to the Blokes this year.

Resonance: For me the personal highlights of the Resonance year were the performances of Annelies and the performance given in our June concert. To have risen to the challenge of performing a work like Annelies was something I was very proud of the ensemble for achieving. It was also great to renew our relationship with the Qld Pops Orchestra in their Celtic Spectacular concerts. Part of the joy of that gig was performing with Birralee dad Kevin Higgins on uilleann pipes and also with the adorable Sarah Calderwood who then joined us for our June concert. Bravo also to the Resonance members who sang so beautifully in Belgium in September. And also thanks to John Farnham for popping in to lend his voice to the QMF You’re the Voice event along with Kate Ceberano and Katie Noonan. Finally thanks to Brendan, Sue, Amirah and Judy for their work with the team this year. Looking forward to an exciting 2018.” – Paul Holley OAM, Associate Director (Birralee Blokes & Resonance of Birralee Conductor) 

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John Farnham pops in for Queensland Music Festival’s You’re the Voice event. 

“What an incredible musical journey 2017 has been. Once again, I have been surrounded by the magic of music making with BBV and it is such a pleasure and privilege to work with these young musicians as they explore life through song. In April this year I was honoured to tour with 30 very fine young men and women from BBV and Blokes, as they represented Australia at the Anzac Day commemorations in France. In every capacity they were outstanding ambassadors not only for Birralee, but also for our country. Their youth, energy, vibrancy, integrity and tenacity touched so many hearts along the way as did their beautiful singing. A life-changing touring experience on the Western Front filled with memories that will last a life-time and friendships forged through stories, adventures and song. Does it get any better than that?” – Jenny Moon, BBV Assistant Conductor

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The 2017 Anzac Day Commemoration Choir performs at the Arc de Triomphe, Paris. 

“What a wonderful year I’ve spent with the Piccolos! It has been a delight to watch the children grow in confidence, sing with joy, and learn what it means to sing in a choir. My highlight of the year was our inaugural Teddy Bear’s Picnic where we had fun singing with our teddies, our friends and our family members, and where we performed a Teddy Bear song composed by the Piccolos. I’m looking forward to more Piccolos’ fun in 2018.” – Katherine Ruhle, Birralee Piccolos Conductor 

“This is my first year with the Birralee Singers and I’m grateful to have been so warmly embraced by this energetic ensemble. It has been a privilege to watch our choristers bond and grow in confidence through numerous experiences across 2017 including our tour to Tasmania, singing for Southbank’s 25th birthday and sharing the stage with our mums and dads at The Young and the Recycled concert. I would like to thank our choir managers Lou, Raylene and Michael for all the hard work they’ve put in this year as well as our student helpers, Evelyn, Ally, Abbey, Josh and Sophie. Without them we would not have been able to create such beautiful music. A very happy and safe holiday season to all members of the Birralee family and I’m looking forward to new adventures in 2018!” – Clare Finlayson, Birralee Singers Assistant Conductor 

“How incredible it was to visit France in April and discover so much about our history and the poor men who suffered over there. It was very emotional and there were many tears from both the adults and the teenagers who sang so beautifully. One thing I would encourage is to delve into your family history. Until this event I knew very little but discovered that not so long ago there was someone to be proud of, which made the trip even more meaningful. Thank you Birralee for yet another life-changing experience.” – Justine Favell, Birralee Principal Accompanist (Birralee Blokes & BBV). 

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Justine, Jenny and Kate on tour. 

 

“This year saw the birth of many more notes during rehearsal and performance but also of our first son Philip. Jane and I claim him as the first joint Resonance baby and look forward to him joining the Piccolos although hope that time doesn’t come around too soon! Merry Christmas to all of Birralee and we look forward to sharing an exciting 2018!” – Brendan Murtagh, Piano Accompanist Resonance of Birralee, Birralee Recycled and Birralee Singers 

“2017 – what a year! It’s hard to believe that, already, it is almost at an end. The last 12 months have been a whirlwind of lessons, rehearsals, performances and occasional welcome moments of quiet reflection. As always, it has been an absolute pleasure to work with the fabulous Kids staff and choristers – we have worked on some enormously fun repertoire and had some great performances. As we approach the summer holidays I hope everyone is looking forward to a well-earned break; better rest up now because 2018 looks like it is shaping up to be another fantastic, action-packed year!” – Kate Littlewood, Piano Accompanist Birralee Kids 

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