Archive for category: Highlights

Anniversary Dinner

Fifty is a lot of years. And the span of years from 1964 to 2014 was always destined to be acknowledged.

A dinner, held at the Boulevard in Kew, was an ideal function to celebrate the occasion. With a guest list boasting original choristers and staff to OAM’s and many Choir friends, an evening of nostalgia was enjoyed by all who attended.

Mrs Lynnette Casey-Brereton, former wife of the founder Kevin Casey, was called on to share memories of the early days of the Choir, when rehearsals were held in the living room of the family’s Chadstone home and the first concert was held on the front veranda of the home with family and friends spilling across the garden – and the intervening years as rehearsal venues changed to suit the growing number of choristers. She spoke of the early repertoire and development to what the boys sing today – classical, contemporary, staged children’s operas, musical comedy, art songs and folk songs from around the world.

Lynnette’s reflections offered a little insight into the dedication and passion of the people who drove those early days of development, leading to the internationally recognised organisation we see on stage today.

Mrs Yvonne Bird OAM – the longest serving Treasurer and driving force behind the purchase of the current Ringwood premises – spoke of early Choir Music Camps, how, why and where they started – ten days during the (then) extended January school holidays. Camps were initially held at Mirboo North in country Victoria and later at Scots School, Bathurst, central NSW.

These early annual music camps consolidated repertoire preparation in the mornings, followed by fun in the pool or on the volleyball courts in the afternoons, with vaudeville style concerts in the evening but most importantly – the lolly shop – the highlight of every chorister’s camp experience!

Three school terms were extended to four in the late 1980s and ten day January camps changed to three or four weekend camps during the year held a little closer to home in Bayswater. With the purchase of the current premises in Ringwood and the luxury of three studios on site, the overnight camps became three to four weekend workshops.

Cutting the cake - L-R Lynnette Casey-Brereton, Rex Wenn, NBCA President, & Yvonne Bird OAM

Cutting the cake – L-R Lynnette Casey-Brereton, Rex Wenn, NBCA President, & Yvonne Bird OAM

Choristers, old and new, were able to reminisce and recall their own special memories, browse an amusing display of archival material and dance to the music of the Pearly Shells, all in the company of families and friends.

Qantas acknowledged the 50th milestone with a short 60 second inflight video (see below) shown as part of their inflight programme during the month of May. Their Inflight magazine also ran an article on the occasion.

The Dinner

Peter Brereton, Samantha Casey, Christine Casey, Rick Casey, Janelle Casey, Kieran & Tania Casey, Lynnette Casey-Brereton, Kathleen Casey, Peter Casey, Jacquie Casey & Damien Casey

Peter Brereton, Samantha Casey, Christine Casey, Rick Casey, Janelle Casey, Kieran & Tania Casey, Lynnette Casey-Brereton, Kathleen Casey, Peter Casey, Jacquie Casey & Damien Casey

The Dinner

Paul Thomas, Heather Thomas, Peter Chen, Julia Zhu

Paul Thomas, Heather Thomas, Peter Chen, Julia Zhu

The Dinner

Kerry Blake, Ben Namdarian, Paul Bateman

Kerry Blake, Ben Namdarian, Paul Bateman

The Dinner

Kerrin Hancock, Mark Casey, Gwen Casey

Kerrin Hancock, Mark Casey, Gwen Casey

The Dinner

Harold and Yvonne Bird

Harold and Yvonne Bird

Chris Rankin, Nelson Choy, Peter Casey, Alex Lytas, Nick Hughes, Rory Hutchinson

Chris Rankin, Nelson Choy, Peter Casey, Alex Lytas, Nick Hughes, Rory Hutchinson

The Dinner

Back, Carmel Trecate, Lauren Gates, Julie Holliday Front, Pam Yee, Anne-Marie Smith, Melissa Astbury

Back, Carmel Trecate, Lauren Gates, Julie Holliday Front, Pam Yee, Anne-Marie Smith, Melissa Astbury

The Dinner

Andrew Paterson, Daniel Riley and Chris Rankin

Andrew Paterson, Daniel Riley and Chris Rankin

Kevin Casey – Choir Founder

Kevin studied singing and piano at Melbourne University’s Conservatorium of Music and he went on to take prominent parts in television operas such as Simon Boccanegra, Martha, Peter Grimes and School for Fathers for the ABC. He also performed as a soloist and ensemble singer in many ABC radio programmes. He appeared in a Master Class with French baritone Gerard Souzay and later moved into a teaching career at Kostka Hall and then Burke Hall, both junior schools of Xavier College.

He taught singing from home in his ‘spare’ hours outside of school commitments and always had an enthusiastic band of students. Kevin became an examiner for the AMEB and was in demand as an adjudicator for eisteddfods in Melbourne and country areas. He returned to Melbourne University to join the vocal teaching staff and continued to teach privately for almost all of his adult life.

You may have heard Kevin’s voice more than you realise – he was always proud of the fact that he was one of a small group of men who recorded the VFL team songs (now AFL) for all of the teams in the 1960s. His voice can still be heard blasting out at the MCG when the ‘traditional’ team songs (some clubs still use these original versions) are played!

Back to – Sunday 12 October 2014

For people who were unable to attend the recent Anniversary Dinner, or indeed anyone who would like to see our Ringwood home, there has been a Back To day arranged for Sunday 12 October. This promises to be a day of fun for our current choristers as well so that they can join in the celebrations. We will have more news on this in coming months.

The National Boys Choir of Australia has been fortunate to be one of the few (if not the only) choirs in the country to own their own premises, due to the sensible and thrifty management of funds during those early years. Unit 3, 9 Pilgrim Court was purchased 1993 and after 12 months of parent volunteer working bees the building opened for rehearsals in 1994.

A working relationship with Qantas began in 1998. The profile of the Choir increased, prompting the introduction of another training level -the Elementary choir. It wasn’t long before the building became too small and expansion was on the horizon. The adjoining unit was purchased, walls knocked out and two more studios, wardrobe and storage added to the premises.

Our friends at ConnectEast have shared the following….

ConnectEast, the owner and operator of EastLink, congratulates the National Boys Choir of Australia on its fiftieth anniversary celebrations, which will include the Back to Ringwood Day on 12 October. EastLink opened in June 2008 and has contributed to quicker and easier travel to and from the Choir’s Ringwood location in the six years since.

ConnectEast’s involvement with the National Boys Choir of Australia began as a sponsor of the children’s opera, Lost to the Music, performed on 23 July 2009 at the Melbourne Recital Centre. The performance was created by Calvin Bowman and featured a libretto by acclaimed Australian children’s author John Marsden. ConnectEast’s contribution assisted with costs such as librettist’s fee, director’s costs in creation of design and direction for the production, sets and props, and costumes. ConnectEast has since provided sponsorship funding for the annual Christmas concert between 2010 and 2013 and we have increased our support in 2014 to help celebrate the Choir’s fiftieth anniversary.

New Old Boys

Before 2014 slips by, we must acknowledge our ‘New Old Boys’ – those retiring gents from 2013. Sadly this seems to come around all too quickly – another night at Colombo’s Restaurant on a hot December evening sharing pizza and pasta. The following 30 boys are already missed and we look forward to some of them returning for our annual Christmas concert later in the year.

Lucas Aparo, Joe Bourke, Luke Carroll, Adam Casamento, Cyrus Chan, Vance Chao, Tim Davis, Julian Dods, Lucas Dunoon, Harrison Ede, Saksham Ganatra, Theo Gong, Joseph Lam, Matthew Lee, Tom Lerk, Oscar Levi, Hualong Li, Liam O’Donnell, Theodore Ong, Jack Ooi, Hugh Radcliffe-Smith, Benjamin Reed, Lachlan Roper, Daniel So, Dan Tran, Luke Tork, Christopher Turner, Ross Winter, Thomas Yao, David Youings.

2014 Fun Run

Metlife Charter Conference – 23 March 2014

Metlife, an American based financial services business, invited the boys to participate in the opening celebration of their conference. 20 boys and three staff travelled to Sydney overnight. The venue for this year’s performance was the beautiful old Sydney Town Hall – the balcony of Centennial Hall was the choir’s stage.

Our New Choir Patron

11 Mar 2014 0 Comments

We announced a new Choir Patron at our Christmas Concert as we set out on our 50th celebrations – Lynette Casey-Brereton BMus MIMT. The Choir began in Lynette and Kevin’s home, with Lynette working for many years as teacher and administrator.

Lynette was Director of the Melba Memorial Conservatorium from 1987 until 1998, and became a professorial associate of Victoria University (with the title ‘Professor’) following the affiliation of the two institutions in 1994.

She had had a long career as a soprano soloist, especially in oratorio and lieder, and broadcast frequently for the ABC.

For the AMEB Lynette has been Chair of the panel of examiners in singing for many years; was national adviser for the most recent revision of singing syllabuses; and in 2000-2001 was one of the Federal practical examiners, who are responsible for the Board’s Licentiate and Fellowship examinations throughout Australia.

From 2000 until 2003 she was Artistic Director for the Lieder Society of Victoria and she has been a frequent adjudicator at major eisteddfodau and competitions for many years. Since her retirement from the Melba, she has maintained a small private teaching studio, which has included students from Melbourne University, the Victorian College of the Arts and Australian Catholic University.

Celebrating 50 Years of Music

11 Mar 2014 0 Comments

This is the year to bring past and present choristers, staff, family, friends – everyone – together to celebrate 50 years of music and memories. Join us on Saturday 3 May to dine and reminisce with stories of old and tales anew. Fifty years . . . is a lot of years!

FIFTY YEARS OF REHEARSALS…

Commencing in 1964 in the home of the Choir’s Founder, Mr Kevin Casey and his wife Lynette. Several rented venues from Kew to Nunawading followed over the next twenty-six years before the Choir purchased 3/9 Pilgrim Court, Ringwood. Twelve years later Unit 4 was purchased in 2003 and the building renovated to combine units 3 & 4. This created the space we enjoy today offering three studios, wardrobe, extensive music library and administration facilities.

FIFTY YEARS OF PERFORMANCES…

From the Assembly Hall in Collins Street (first public performance) to St Peter’s in Rome, Sydney Opera House and Carnegie Hall. Concerts featuring major works, children’s operas, sung a cappella or accompanied by a 40 piece orchestra. The Choir has performed extensively with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra and many of the world’s finest Conductors and soloists.

FIFTY YEARS OF REPERTOIRE…

Songs from the classics, contemporary, musicals, folk and fun – symphonies, operas, commissions and home grown. Sung in English, German, Latin, Spanish, French, Chinese, Japanese and local indigenous to name a few.

FIFTY YEARS OF TOURING…

Visiting all States of Australia and surrounding regional areas. They have travelled to many countries around the globe – Austria, Belgium, China, England, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Italy, Japan, New Zealand, Switzerland, Taiwan, and United States of America.

FIFTY YEARS OF HOSTING CHOIRS…

From around the world – Hong Kong, Japan, Taiwan, America, England, Germany and France – Adult, Children’s, Boys and Girls. Singing knows no barriers – NBCA has played host to countless choirs.

FIFTY YEARS OF CHORISTERS…

Thousands of boys have passed through our doors over the decades and many have gone on to be leaders in the world of music or other endeavours.

Dotted around the world are composers, conductors, singers, entertainers and  directors who began their musical journey with the Choir.

FIFTY YEARS OF MAJOR EVENTS…

Where do we start? Television and major events including Young Talent Time specials, Sydney Olympic Games and Melbourne’s Commonwealth Games, Carols by Candlelight, the Grand Prix, Good Friday Appeal concerts, Prime Minister’s dinners, President’s Cup dinners, Australian Open Tennis, performances for Royalty, World Expos in China and Japan, and the highly successful Qantas television commercials and associated Qantas events.

FIFTY YEARS OF MUSIC AND MEMORIES…

We look forward to celebrating the past 50 years with as many friends as possible on Saturday 3 May, The Boulevard, Kew. We hope you can join us. Download the invitation here.

Boxing Day Test

26 Dec 2013 0 Comments

What a season it’s been for the Australian Cricket Team – and the Choir was only too happy to offer their support.

After a week of engagements leading up to Christmas Day, the boys made a pilgrimage to the hallowed turf of the MCG to welcome cricketers and fans to the Boxing Day Test. This was an exciting time for the boys, many of whom stayed on to watch the first day’s play.

2013 Christmas Concert

25 Dec 2013 0 Comments

Mozart’s Regina Coeli KV 108 and Rutter’s Brother Heinrich’s Christmas were the feature items on the Christmas programme. After the Elementary and Junior choristers had opened the concert, the Performing Choir was joined by our wonderful Mens Choir and a substantial professional orchestra once again to entertain the enthusiastic audience. We were also joined by soprano soloist Janet Todd.