From performing in The World Choir Games in Graz, members singing at WW1 Commemorative events on the Western Front, France, to backing international superstars such as Josh Groban, Voices of Birralee’s adult ensemble, Resonance of Birralee has certainly made its mark over the past 10 years!
In the lead up to the choir’s 10 year anniversary concert, Santé on Sunday 5 June (you can book tickets here), we thought we’d pay tribute to the choir’s growth over the past decade, to becoming a leading ensemble.
The afternoon concert will celebrate the growth of the ensemble to more than 85 young adults, while providing once in a lifetime opportunities to choristers, to continue to inspire communities across the world. It will also celebrate the wonderful music that has been made since the ensemble began, with performances of favourite pieces over the years, such as this one.
The ensemble, for young adults from 17 years of age, began in 2006, after interest was sparked a year prior when the Birralee Tenth Anniversary Alumni Choir was formed.
Paul Holley OAM, already the conductor of male ensemble, the Birralee Blokes, and Artistic Director and Founder Julie Christiansen OAM, recognised the need for a choir to accommodate young adults, while allowing those choristers who had sung with Birralee’s younger ensembles, to keep singing.
Since, the choir has come ahead in leaps and bounds, adding quality and experience to Voices of Birralee as a whole, while the choristers have participated in incredible touring and professional development opportunities.
We thought the best way to acknowledge the ensemble’s success over the past decade was to find out what the choristers thought!
Louise Knauth – joined Resonance of Birralee in 2006. She signed up when the Voices of Birralee alumni choir was formed for the organisation’s 10 year anniversary in 2005.
“I joined Resonance at the beginning. I hadn’t been able to find a choir that was the right fit for me for a few years so I was excited at finding out Resonance would continue. At that stage I didn’t really know any one else in the choir apart from Justine and “Mr Holley”, but there were some familiar faces. I had never really made friends in a choir, it was just something that I always enjoyed since meeting Julie at Mt St Michael’s and West Side Youth Choir when I was in high school. The first few years were amazing and choir provided another social avenue outside of work, study and sport. The friends that I have made along the way are now a huge part of my life and family. This goes for Paul, Sue and Brendan too.
“Birralee has added to my life through friends, learning languages, tolerance and understanding (believe it or not). Seeing the generosity that Paul, Sue and Brendan exude in order to develop the group is extraordinary. They are also the most personal, understanding and warm people you will meet and spend time with.
“Highlights over the years have included The World Choir Games in Graz 2008, singing at the wineries in Stanthorpe, Canberra in 2010, Adelaide in 2014 and France 2015.”
Georgia Davey – joined Resonance in 2007.
“I don’t recall my first official concert with Resonance, but my inspiration, or baptism of fire shall you call it, had come the year prior at a Birralee Blokes performance at Stafford. Attending to support a friend, I was enjoying my audience experience until I was coerced onto stage and became the centre of attention with a ‘Georgia’ themed song . I was mortified but decided it was a pretty great place to sing and I should definitely join the Birralee family!
“Resonance of Birralee has definitely grown…in both size and the opportunities to sing new and innovative choral pieces. With Paul’s direction it has always retained the balance of musicality and energy in each and every performance that I believe Resonance is so well-known for.
“I enjoy the opportunity to sing each week with an amazing group of friends and musicians. As a music teacher I sing each and every day, however singing in Resonance allows me to challenge myself as a musician. Resonance also allows for community engagement through various performances to demonstrate to audiences young and old the possibilities when there is a commitment to excellent choral music.”
Luke Krause – joined Resonance of Birralee in 2008 (had previously sung in Blokes in 2007)
“Thanks to Paul’s eminent leadership and Brendan’s support, as well as Sue’s management and the support of the Birralee organisation, we have now established ourselves as a premier choir. As a result, we have been given some incredible opportunities to perform at some amazing events. We have also been given the opportunity to work with some incredible artists, conductors and music groups, such as the Queensland Symphony Orchestra, Stephen Cleobury CBE, and very recently, Josh Groban.
“Being a part of this ensemble has had a profound and positive impact upon my life. My school years were marked with many difficulties fitting in and making friends. Birralee was the first place where I felt accepted by others, and I have made many wonderful friends since joining. I also have many wonderful and happy memories of some of the amazing experiences we have had together as a choir. I cannot begin to describe how much it has helped me, and the happiness it continues to give me. I am deeply grateful for all that Birralee has done for me.”
Sam Bosa – joined Resonance of Birralee in 2008.
“Resonance has been on a fantastic journey over the last 10 years. We started small, but the larger we have grown the more opportunities have become available to us and that has been a magnificent thing to be a part of. Bigger challenges such as presenting full length works (The Armed Man by Karl Jenkins) on our own has been a real joy.
“Tours have been a highlight with all the tours having such amazing bonding experiences for the choir and a definite highlight for me. The domestic ones (Canberra, Sydney & Adelaide) were particularly wonderful experiences because we go away with such a large group! I hope we get to do a domestic tour with the bigger choir again soon!
“I have also been fortunate enough to go on the Villers-Bretonneux trips and it is both a challenging and emotional experience. We got to perform in some astounding venues and really got to know our other tourers. It really is an unforgettable experience.”
Elise Perrett – joined Resonance of Birralee in 2009, and had sung with Voices of Birralee since becoming a Birralee Piccolo in 1997.
“I wasn’t a part of Resonance when it first started, but was a part of Voices (excited to one day be old enough to join Resonance) and have watched it come a very long way!! We’ve gone from being a small start up ensemble aimed at school leavers to an ensemble which must’ve at least tripled in size (which us oldies just don’t want to leave) and is taking part in activities such as the Anzac Day tour! It’s truly phenomenal. We’ve done a number of amazing concerts and have had the opportunity to sing with other groups just like us around Australia too! It’s an incredible group of young people who all simply love to sing and spend time together.
“Being a part of Resonance has given me the opportunity to take part in so many amazing experiences both Australia wide and internationally, for which I will forever be blown away by and know I’ll be telling my grand kids about one day! The single way in which being a being a part of Resonance has added to my life though is through the friendships I have made. Some of the people I still sing with I’ve known for over 15 years. We grew up together and are honestly family and I wouldn’t trade that for anything! I think it was an unexpected part of joining the choir but has added to my life more than I can say!”
Belinda Chappell – joined Resonance of Birralee in 2011.
“It’s amazing how far the ensemble has come just in the time that I have been a member, which is only just over half way. The ensemble has grown to a much larger group of singers, allowing us to commit to amazing opportunities with organisations such as QSO. Whilst we are bigger in numbers, it’s still a close knit group of singers – which I think comes from Paul’s leadership as well as from Brendan and Sue.
“Being a part of Resonance of Birralee has changed my life immensely. I joined only a year after I moved to Brisbane from Cairns where there were not a lot of singing opportunities. I have met so many wonderful people, and made life long friends. Birralee is like my extended family. Singing brings so much joy – I now can’t think of how life would be without music in it.”
“Another great aspect of singing with Birralee is the repertoire. Ecce Dedi Verba Mea stands out as close to the top of a list of favourite songs of mine. It’s a stunning song with some clashing chords at times. We sang this piece in many venues, but my favourite was when we sang it during Jane and Brendan Murtagh’s wedding ceremony. That was very special, and I think we all gave it our very best.”
Matt Anderson, joined Resonance of Birralee in 2015, having been a part of the organisation in 2009.
“I remember Resonance when it was only a few dozen young adults, but the sound was still amazing. I remember, as a Singer and a Voices member, and looking up to the older folk in Resonance and thinking, ‘wow!’ these people have been singing for years and still love it so much. I wanted that for myself. You could say Resonance kind of inspired me to stick around in choir and continue doing what I love. Now that I am a part of it, I love every minute of being in an adult, mixed-voice choir. The people you meet, the friends you make and the opportunities you receive are second-to-none and I wouldn’t change my involvement for the world. Being a part of Resonance for the past 18 months has been amazing. It has allowed me to settle into a choir of people around my own age and given me so many opportunities that I am forever grateful for.
“A highlight for me has certainly been our tour to France for the Anzac Day ceremonies. This was an incredible opportunity for me and allowed me to make amazing friends and experience the history of Australia as it lived on through the commemorations held.”
For more opportunity for reflection on Resonance of Birralee’s rich history, make sure you follow our “10 Days of Resonance” journey on Facebook, beginning next week in the lead up to the concert!