What makes the National Boys Choir of Australia Christmas Concert extra special is that it provides Elementary and Junior choristers the chance to perform in a public forum. There’s no better opportunity available to these training choristers than a performance on Melbourne’s most prestigious stage, Hamer Hall. Elementary and Junior choristers took to the performance with excitement and anticipation. This was the moment they had been working towards all year, and there were many proud families in the audience to applaud them on. They expressed their love of singing through pieces including Three Noels, O Little Town and The Christmas Sock Rock. Do you Hear what I Hear? and Kling Glöckchen concluded the segment as the Junior boys convincingly exhibited the skills which they have now carried on to the Performing Choir.
Afterwards, the 2019 retiring choristers were invited on stage to receive certificates acknowledging their years of service. The NBCA says a fond, yet sad, farewell to those boys who retire each year. What made this segment particularly special was the return of Emeritus Conductor Mr Peter Casey who awarded each boy onstage. It was an equal delight for boys to see Mr Casey after his departure earlier in the year.
The evening still had a strong NBCA flavour, featuring Co-Artistic Director Mr Andrew Bainbridge in his Christmas Concert debut. Christmas favourites including Joy to the World and Jingle Bells brought fun and joyous celebration to the programme, while pieces such as Away in a Manger and Silent Night delivered peaceful ambience for audience members in the stalls.
The major work, Te Deum & Jubilate in D by Purcell focused on the talents of the NBCA’s boy soloists who performed strongly alongside guest performances from Max Riebl, Timothy Reynolds and Michael Leighton Jones. Quoting from The Age’s three-and-a-half star review of the concert: “Four rising treble stars – Oscar Morriss, Robert Strangward, Matthew Risson and Harry Hendel – were among those who gave accomplished solos along the way.”
In additional words from the reviewer, Christmas concerts hosted by choirs like the National Boys Choir of Australia show how important it is for organisations that “cultivate a love of music in the young” so that the future of the next generation of Australian singers is secured. What better piece than O Come all ye Faithful – performed by the Junior, Performing and Men’s Choirs – to highlight this.