The National Boys Choir of Australia Mid-Year Concert in July presented a night of American and English choral classics. While the wintery Melbourne weather blew a chill through the corridors of Monash University’s Clayton campus, NBCA’s training choirs breathed new life and song into Robert Blackwood Hall. Introduced by compere (and former chorister), Ben Giraud, our Elementary choristers gave their debut performance singing Winter Wind, a timely seasonal, choice for the evening, in front of their families who were later found beaming with pride for their sons’ efforts. Junior choristers, who are now well-versed in stage performance, sang Ferry Me Across the Water, Bellbirds and Brolga Dance. Another first for the evening came for Coordinator and Conductor of our training choirs, Ms Mandy Brook, who conducted in her first major concert for the NBCA in her new role.

Repertoire highlights from the Performing Choir included, from the psalm By the Waters of Babylon, to Handel’s A Classic Kyrie and the 19th Century piece Ave Verum Corpus. Artistic Director Mr Philip Carmody took the accompanist chair at the Hall’s tiered organ above the stage before two suites of Old American Songs rounded out the theme of the night’s programme.

Complementing the red, white and blue theme was Australian composer Stephen Leek’s Rainbird before a stunning piano performance of Franz Schubert’s Impromptu in E Flat Major, Op.90 No.2 from Performing chorister Raphael Cahyono. The talents of the Performing Choir’s soloists featured in choral selections Oliver! as the night moved towards a performance of Waltzing Matilda. The Performing Choir motioned across the stage to re-enact the standing style featured in the QANTAS advertisements for the performance of I Still Call Australia Home; an effective staging move to emphasise the spirit of the Choir’s performing presence. The Lord Bless You and Keep You was a beautifully sung concluder.

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