What is Australian Youth Choir/NIYPAA?
Photos of Memorable Performances
My Role and sample Performances.
What is Australian Youth Choir/NIYPAA?
The Australian Youth Choir was established in 1975 by founding Music Director Peter McKenna, originally as the Victorian Children’s Choir. It has a rich tradition in choral music education and performance, educating thousands of young choristers throughout Australia and travelling and performing on the world stage. For many years the Australian Youth Choir has featured at cultural events that shape our nation.
The Centenary of Federation reenactment at the Royal Exhibition Buildings in Melbourne, Carols by Candlelight, the Opening of The Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Queensland (CHOGM); at the Duke of Edinburgh Awards in Sydney before His Royal Highness, Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex and the opening of the Ghan Railway South Australia. The choir continues to be invited to perform at major sporting events and has performed at many Australian Football League Grand Finals, the Australian Tennis Open finals at Melbourne Park, the Davis Cup Challenge rounds in Washington D.C. and Sydney, the Australian Formula One Grand Prix and the National Basketball League finals.
The Australian Youth Choir has recorded for both radio and television. For over twenty five years the Choir has undertaken international concert tours, fostering new friendships and cultural relationships with many other choral groups and ensembles including the Vienna Boys Choir, The Keystone State Boychoir, the Philadelphia Boys Choir, the New York Youth Orchestra, the Newark Boys Chorus and The All-American Boys Chorus. Both at home and overseas, the Choir has had exceptional performance opportunities which have included performances before before Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth 11, His Royal Highness, Prince Edward; the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr George Carey, Crown Prince Frederick and Princess Mary of Denmark and at Papal audiences in Rome.
Recitals have been given in the world’s finest cathedrals and Concert Halls; the Duomo Florence, St. Mark’s Venice, Sacre Coeur and Notre Dame Paris, St Peter’s Bascillica Rome, Royal Albert Hall, St. Paul’s Cathedral and Westminster Abbey London, Carnegie Hall and St Patrick’s Cathedral New York, and in the Rathaus, Augarten Palace and Schönbrunn Palace in Vienna. In 1990 the choir was the first Australian children’s choir to perform at the distinguished Franz Liszt Academy in Budapest. In 2005, Aled Jones joined the Choir at Royal Albert Hall, London, in a Gala concert to celebrate its 30 year Anniversary.
The Australian Youth Choir is a division of the National Institute of Youth Performing Arts Australia (NIYPAA), and stands alongside elite choirs such as the Australian Girl’s Choir, Gondwana Voices, Australian Children’s Choir, etc.
2. Memorable Performance Pictures
Performing “I am Australian” with Bruce Woodley.
With John Farnham
In Versailles, France
3.My Role and sample Performances.
Choir and singing lessons follow a set choral curriculum structure to develop the following skills on a weekly basis:
- Choral repertoire
- Voice production
- Sight singing
- Aural training
- Memory training
- Breathing techniques
- Performance and stagecraft skills
The use of Kodaly is extensive in rehearsals. Conductors are expected to have a mastery of the Kodaly method.
In rehearsal at Cheltenham, July 2017.
Each rehearsal includes the preparation of selected music for two annual performances.
The Melbourne Chapter of the Choir comprises rehearsals weekly at the following venues:
Frankston – Mondays 6-7.30pm – Training and Performing Choir
Burwood – Tuesdays 6-7.30pm – Training and Performing Choir. *
Cheltenham – Wednesdays 6-7.30pm – Training and Performing Choir. *
Canterbury – Fridays 6-8.30pm – Recital AND Chamber Choirs *
* I am responsible for training and performing these 3 choirs.
I joined the AYC as an accompanist, in Frankston in 2013, quickly becoming the principal accompanist for the choir in Victoria. In the years that followed I witnessed a dramatic reduction in the choir’s numbers, due to the following factors:
- Schools refusing to allow AYC (and other external arts groups) access to schools to audition their students – the focus being on Literacy and Numeracy
- A succession of ordinary conductors,
- Increased expectations of students at school level, meaning students didn’t have the free time necessary to devote to the choir.
After an exodus of senior students from the choir I was asked to take on Principal Conducting role by Peter McKenna in July, 2017. My task was to rebuild the Choir in sound and numbers, rescuing it from the fragile state it was in. 18 months later, the results are starting to show. The building of confidence in the choir can be seen in the following videos and High profile public performances:
Senior Choir Performances showing rapid rate of improvement.
March 2018 – rehearsal, Chamber Choir, Canterbury. (Uneven, weak sound).
Recital Choir, Mid year Concert, Monash University, June, 2018. Definite Improvements!
Recital Choir, November 2018 – Vivaldi Gloria. Much improvement!!
Although Principal Conductor, I still accompany big combined numbers in concerts.
Accompanying Work (Massed AYC Choir).
I am but a small voice (accompaniment) – November 2018.
I love a Piano (accompaniment) – November 2018.
Conducting AYC Chamber Choir: Dona Nobis Pacem/The Tapestry of Life Monash University, Clayton, 22/6/19. Gillian Carr, accompanist.
Conducting AYC Combined Choir: Medley of Australian Songs (Own arrangement) – I am Australian/Serrare/Wagundah Marunga. Monash University, Clayton, 22/6/19. Gillian Carr, accompanist.