Archive for category: Other News

2014 Fun Run

NBCA Celebrates 50 Years

Celebrating50YearsIn 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

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.

NBCA Staff Profile – Mrs Alexandra Boemo

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.

2013 Choir Tour

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.

Jonathan Little

A chorister during the 1970’s, Dr Jonathan Little, BMus, ThA, PhD, FRSA is a composer, academic and writer based in the UK, working mainly in the “contemporary classical” genre.

He studied Composition and Performance at the University of Melbourne, where he won the Lady Turner Exhibition for overall excellence. He holds the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in music for his research into “exotic” 19th and 20th-century orchestration. In 2011, the City of London’s ancient Musicians’ Company (est.1500) bestowed upon him one of their highest honours – the prestigious Collard Fellowship – awarded to “a professional musician of outstanding ability” for “undoubted excellence in composition, research or performance”.

With a proposed tour to UK in 2014, Jonathan has offered to write a little something to celebrate the Choir’s 50th Anniversary year.
We always enjoy hearing news of retired choristers – if you know of anyone or have a story of your own to share, please get in touch.

Nicholas Carter 1994 – 2000

Life after NBCA for Nicholas Carter has landed him a job conducting orchestras in Germany. Sadly many musicians head overseas to gain experience – Nicholas is currently assistant to Simone Young at the Hamburg State Opera. There are about 36 operas a year in the Hamburg State Opera – far more than Nicholas could possibly hope to have access to here in Australia. We look forward to when he will return and share his talents on home turf.

Benjamin Britten 1913 – 1976

Benjamin Britten, an English composer, conductor, and pianist, was a central figure of twentieth-century British classical music, and wrote music in many genres, from film scores to opera.

He also took a great interest in writing music for children.

NBCA will celebrate the centenary of Britten this year at their July concert with the performance of The Golden Vanity. The Vienna Boys Choir gave the first performance of The Golden Vanity in 1967 in response to a request for a work suitable for trebles and altos without performing roles intended for women.

Fully staged, choreographed and costumed, NBCA choristers will enjoy the challenge to create and bring to life the story of the titular ship and its run-in with the pirates of the Turkish Galilee.

Tickets for the performance at Elisabeth Murdoch Hall, Melbourne Recital Centre will go on sale early May.

On the Horizon

The boys will welcome Nurses to a National Conference in May. Australia will host the British Lions Rugby Tour in June and the International Congress of Paediatrics will be held in August; the boys will be there to welcome guests and supporters on both occasions.

NBCA Biennial Auction Dinner – Saturday 1 June, Ringwood Federation Estate. We look forward to lots of faces – past and present – contact the office for further details

Retiring Choristers 2012

It happened – like day follows night – we farewelled another 31 outstanding choristers in December last year. We have no control over the biological changes that move soprano to tenor, so we celebrate the few short years we have together before the boys join us again with the Men’s choir. Each year the retiring choristers are formally acknowledged on the stage at the Christmas concert. On a separate occasion staff and boys meet for an informal dinner – an opportunity for a little light-hearted frivolity away from the disciplines of the Choir.

Last year’s list of retiring choristers includes Nicholas Bredhauer, Jonathan Brisbane, Tim Caldwell, Derek Cheung, Edmund Chow, Luke Connell, Bob Davis, Daniel Deakin, Ethan Flora, Zach Foster-Zuluaga, Tomas Kalejs, Bill Keating, Tiger Lin, Nicholas Lloyd, Timothy McGrath, Blakely McLean Davies, Stewart McMillan, Liam Orman, Anathan Pham, Ed Phillips, Julian Pirotta, Corey Robinson, Ariya Saffar, Sujanthan Satkunarajah, James Smith, Henry Toussaint, Astyn Trecate, Nicholas Van Kerkhoven, Leo Wang, Trent Winter and Brendan Yeo.

10th Anniversary Federation Square


Melbourne’s Federation Square is 10 years old! (Where did that decade go?) The history behind Fed Square goes back to Melbourne’s foundation in the 1830s – the land has played host to a variety of buildings and activities including the Coroner’s Office, Registry Office, a fish market, rail yards and believe it or not – a Morgue. Something less tasteful, but no less attractive, was the old Gas and Fuel buildings that stood on the site for the latter part of the 20th century before being demolished and redeveloped as the city’s new civic square.
The Choir was there in October 2002 when the Square was officially opened.

Declan Edwards, who joined the Choir in 2010 and also turned 10 in 2012 was invited to help Fed Square celebrate their anniversary – Declan joined Men in Suits to sing Happy Birthday before lending a hand to cut the cake.