Archive for category: Highlights
In 2014 the Choir will celebrate 50 years of music-making. This is a wonderful achievement and we intend to celebrate throughout the year. Our 50th logo appears here for the first time and it will be featured regularly over the next twelve months. We also have a Facebook page up and running as we wish to get the celebratory message out to the Choir’s current and former communities. This can be found at www.facebook.com/nationalboyschoir.
Any assistance you can offer in spreading the word would be appreciated. Perhaps you could forward the email edition of Encore to Choir friends who may not be on our database. If you have any thoughts regarding our 50th year events or memorabilia, please contact the Choir office.
One highlight will be a 50th Dinner to be held on Saturday May 3 2014. We would very much like to welcome former staff, choristers, family and Choir friends to that special evening. Pop the date in the diary or on the calendar, and perhaps chase up former Choir contacts and friends to see if you can arrange a table for the dinner.
We will have further details in coming editions of Encore.
Do you ever wonder what makes people do the work they do? Well, with this question in mind, I recently approached Mrs Alexandra Boemo, the NBCA Elementary and Junior Chorister Director with a list of questions in hand hoping to gain a little insight.
How did you get started in music/what was your introduction to music?
My Nana was a singer and my Mum is a singer (she has sung in opera with Mr Casey, Mrs Casey, Mr Tutty and Ben Namdarian, and in the Melbourne Chorale with Mr Finnigan) and they both played the piano – so music is in my blood. Mum took me to her singing teacher when I was 5 to start piano lessons. After a couple of years with her I moved to another teacher, closer to home, who I studied with until I went to University. I studied piano and voice at Melbourne State College along with Mr Casey and Mrs Tenace as we learned to be music teachers.
What do you enjoy the most about working with NBCA?
I really like working with young people-perhaps because they are like sponges and don’t “know everything” yet. I also love to work with Mrs Tenace, as we became good friends at college and were very happy to end up at the NBCA together!
What do you enjoy the least (…find the most challenging?) about working with NBCA?
Do you want me to be serious! …. anyway – I do miss working with lots of girls. I went to a girls school and taught in an all-girls school for 7 years and I like the way they chatter/giggle and the merry banter of girls. The other thing I find challenging is not having the boys for more than 2 years – so we don’t have a lot of time to develop together as a group with only 1 hour a week.
What is your favourite piece/work that you have done while at NBCA?
I like the stage and I like songs to have colour/ effect and drama which can be created by lighting and other staging effects – so I think my favourite junior performance was when we used candles in a song called Firefly and the lights were suddenly blacked at the end of the piece. It was fun and very effective.
My favourite Performing Choir moment was in China at the conservatorium – at the end of one of the concerts after the boys sang the Rutter Lord Bless You they were swamped by the audience who were all overcome at how wonderful the boys were.
What have been some of the challenges that you have overcome in your life?
I believe that our lives are enriched by the challenges we meet and overcome. Be they little or big, sometimes we don’t even perceive the challenge until others point it out! When I was in year 12 one of my brothers suddenly died – just before exams – that was a big loss and I still miss him every day, but it has helped me to understand how loss can affect other people and how we should make the most of every minute we have. Musically I was always petrified to perform in front of an audience – my leg would shake so hard it would hit the side of the piano stool – until I went to college and had to do it twice every term. Eventually my fear subsided and once I realised that as an accompanist, and now as a conductor, no-one looks at you, performance became much easier!
Recently you probably all know that I have been diagnosed with a bone cancer called Multiple Myeloma. The average person to develop this disease is a 65 year old male – so I thought that was pretty typical – me not trying to do things the normal way! I had a stem cell transplant last year and am on a drug which has been very successful at pushing back the cancer and now keeping it at a very low rate. Hopefully it will continue to do that for a long time!
I still think performing in front of other people is harder!
How do you get into trouble when you’re not at NBCA?
I teach piano at home to 10 students and at Ringwood Secondary College to about 14. The rest of the time I manage the Boemo Family – that is Stephanie, Nicola, Michaela, Christopher, Roxy the dog and Pekoe, the cat, as well as numerous birds and fish.
My main other activity is to be the assistant production director for Melbourne Gang Show – which is a branch of the Scout/Guide Associations that trains young people in theatrical arts. We write, produce and perform a 2 story production each year with 140 cast and about 100 other volunteers in staging, lighting, costumes and administration.
Finish this sentence: I’d absolutely love to….
Do another Qantas campaign – and get to see some more wonderful places with the choir! I went to Burra and The Bungle Bungles on two Qantas ad shoots: both places I have never been to and am unlikely to go again, but really loved.
Saturday 21 December 2013 – Arts Centre Melbourne, Hamer Hall
What would Christmas be without the Choir’s wonderful concert? This year’s major works will be Mozart’s Regina Coeli KV 108 and Rutter’s Brother Heinrich’s Christmas, which we last performed in 2003. We have a terrific narrator on board for the Rutter – Grant Smith – and we look forward to his story telling. This really is a programme for the whole family. The Mozart is a short and bright work written by Mozart when he was just fifteen years old – the age of a few of our senior choristers! There will be carols and orchestra in the second half as well, and we would be very pleased to see you if you are able to join us to celebrate the festive season. Tickets will be available via the Arts Centre from late October.
42 boys are off for a ‘mini’ overseas tour … they are off to Tasmania in the first week of the September school holidays. The last time the Choir visited Tasmania was 2001 – so their visit is long overdue.
The boys will commence their 7 day tour in Devonport before working their way south via Launceston and Orford. In Hobart the boys will have a concert in St Mary’s Cathedral before donning their ambassadorial togs for a visit to Government House, where they will meet His Excellency, The Honourable Peter Underwood AC, Governor of Tasmania and Mrs Underwood.
Of course there are many anticipated sightseeing opportunities in store for the boys – we look forward to hearing all about their travels on their return.
The International Congress of Paediatrics was held in late August; the boys were there to welcome guests and dignitaries.
A touring choir of thirty boys recently visited Melbourne and fifteen of our choir families were good enough to open their homes to host the boys for two nights. We enjoyed a performance at Ringwood North Uniting Church as the choir dazzled the audience with its lively presentation.
It was quite a challenge to present our July Concert just one week after the major Lord of the Rings performances with the MSO, but the boys rose to the challenge.
Presented in the glorious surrounds of Elisabeth Murdoch Hall at the Melbourne Recital Centre, this year’s programme featured works by a variety of composers as well as a tribute to composer Benjamin Britten’s 100th Anniversary. Britten’s The Golden Vanity is a staged work based on an old English folk song, and our wardrobe team (led superbly by Wendy DiLuzio and Rose Whitehurst) prepared magnificent costumes for the boys to wear.
Robyn Cochrane had a very big programme to play at the piano and once again played beautifully.
The concert was enthusiastically received after concluding with Philip Carmody’s Disney Songs – and we all breathed a sigh of relief after a very demanding fortnight!
Will Greenwood launched a search to find Britain and Ireland’s most passionate Lions fans. The four winners made up The Mane Event team.
During the recent Lions Rugby Tour, the team travelled down-under going head to head in five gruelling challenges against the Aussies.
The choir joined the Aussie team with challenge number four – the Choir Sing-off.
The recent tour down under of the British & Lions Rugby team offered an extra dimension to the competitiveness of the event – The Mane Event. This involved four contestants representing the Lions and four contestants representing Australia. There were four challenges offered during the course of the tour – contestants ate dry breakfast cereal; applied sun screen; sheared sheep and ultimately demonstrated their choral ‘skills‘.
The British & Irish contestants were backed by the Male Welsh Choir and the four Australian contestants were supported by the National Boys and Australian Girls’ Choirs – sometimes referred to as the Qantas Choir. Each group sang a short phrase of a song and the opponents responded with their own colloquial version and so the challenge went on with each group reciprocating until time was called. Sadly Challenge #4 – the Choir Sing Off was won by the visitors.
Contestants and choristers all agreed it was a lot of fun.