In March, the Cairns Gondwana Indigenous Children’s Choir (Cairns GICC) had its annual residential camp at the beautiful Lake Tinaroo up on Queensland’s Atherton tablelands.The particular highlight this year was welcoming as guest artists the Inspire quartet from the Australian Chamber Orchestra. The quartet collaborated with choristers on the string arrangement of Luke Byrne’s Storm Bird which we commissioned in 2015 with support from the Cairns Regional Council. This piece is inspired by local stories shared by Gimuy Yidinji elder Seith Fourmile, who lead a cultural workshop at the 2015 residential camp.
In addition to Storm Bird, the choir enjoyed string accompaniment for works by Paul Jarman and David Hamilton. On Saturday afternoon, choristers formed small groups with a member of the quartet, each composing a short piece based on Stan Grant’s recent speech on the Australian dream in just over an hour.
Choristers thoroughly enjoyed exchanging repertoire with the Inspire Quartet, who had the opportunity to learn some of the choir’s much-loved Torres Strait Island dances. In turn, the Inspire Quartet performed a selection of their own repertoire and introduced choristers to the instruments and style of a string quartet, including an amusing team game on Haydn fugue!
Eleven year old Marlly said, “I really enjoyed working with the Inspire Quartet. Usually I would just listen to a piece of music, but then they showed me how to listen closely. Now I can hear all these different sound effects.”