For 20 years, National Choral School has been Australia’s home of fine singing, drawing over 300 of the country’s best young singers to Sydney each January. In 2018, we are opening our doors like never before and inviting you to immerse yourself in choral music over three full days of lectures, masterclasses, workshops and concerts. Whether you’re an experienced choral musician wanting to connect with other like-minded conductors or you simply want to have a go at one of our Explorations Modules, this Festival is the place for you!

Venue: The Festival of Summer Voices is held at the University of New South Wales in Randwick. The headquarters for visitors will be the Ainsworth where our staff will be able to assist you.

Cost: Save with the 3-day package option for $250!
Wednesday/Thursday: $150 per day (educators only).
Friday: $25 per workshop, or $50 for the full day (open to the public).
All full-day prices include that evening’s concert.


Completing all three days of GCCIS2018 will contribute 18 hours of NESA Registered PD addressing 6.2.2, 6.3.2, 7.4.2 from the Australian Professional Standards for Teachers towards maintaining Proficient Teacher Accreditation in NSW. Individual days are also available, GCCISW18, GCCIST18, GCCISF18, each contributing 6 hours of NESA Registered PD addressing the same standards.

Wednesday 17 January – A Feast of Ideas

Thursday 18 January – Technique, Technique, Technique!

Friday 19 January – Choral Explorations

Designed for music educators but open to all, these two days will focus on choral music in an educational context. Lectures from leading music educators will be complemented by masterclasses with respected choral conductors. You will also be given an open access to all rehearsals, so you’re able to observe the rehearsal process at your leisure.

Due to popular demand, the Taiko drumming, Indonesian dance and Eastern European singing workshops will each have three sessions throughout the morning and early afternoon, with everyone coming together for Come and Sing at the end. Please note the schedule below is an example, and some participants will attend the workshops in different orders.

9:00 – 9:30am: Welcome with Lyn Williams OAM, Artistic Director and Founder of Gondwana Choirs

9:30-11 Song Company Workshop
Under the direction of Antony Pitts Australia’s professional vocal consort, the Song Company, will take you on a journey through music of the Elizabethan Age right up to music written just days before.

11:00 – 11:30am: Morning Tea (provided)

11:30am – 1:00pm: Hooray for Song! Part 1
In 2016, Gondwana Choirs released a recording of music especially for young children. This treasure trove of all Australian repertoire is a goldmine for anyone who conducts choirs of young people. Allison Harrigan guides you through the collection.

1:00 – 2:00pm: Lunch – there are plenty of excellent options at the UNSW campus.

2:00 – 3:30pm – Hooray for Song! Part 2
Continue your journey through the collection with respected choral educator Liz Vierboom, who will explore some of the more musically challenging works, sharing strategies to teach these to your choir.

3:30 – 4:00pm – Afternoon Tea (provided)

4:00 – 5:30pm – The Holy Grail – a beautiful choral sound.
Lauren Hannay is one of Australia’s finest choral musicians – among her many accolades is her recent award of best choir in QLD for Cairns High School choir. Lauren will share some of her vocal and rehearsal expertise to explore that most elusive of choral goals – a beautiful sound.

7:00pm – Festival of Summer Voices Opening Concert: Kaleidoscope
Experience the full gamut of choral sounds as the five Gondwana National Choirs perform works from around the world. From youthful exuberance of Junior Gondwana, to the sophisticated interpretations of Gondwana Chorale, sit back and enjoy Australia’s finest young singers.

9:00 – 9:30am: Tour of National Choral School facilities on the UNSW campus

9.30 – 11.00am: Choral Maestros: Conducting 101.
Graeme Morton (University of Queensland) will take you through the fundamentals of a good conducting technique for choirs. Put your beat under the microscope to see what’s working well and what you could do even better

11:00 – 11:30am: Morning Tea (provided)

11:30 – 1:00pm: Choral Maestros: Finishing Touches. Brett Weymark (Sydney Philharmonia Choirs) explores the art of polishing a choral piece to performance perfection. Delve deeper into the interpretative and technical aspects of realising a choral piece as Brett works with members of the Gondwana Conducting Academy.

1:00 – 2:00pm: Lunch – there are plenty of excellent options at the UNSW campus.

2:00 – 3:30pm – Choirs in the Classroom Part 1
Wondering how to get your classroom alive with song? Liz Vierboom will explore some of the different ways you can make singing a part of every day. Through this, links with the NSW curriculum will be highlighted.

3:30 – 4:00pm – Afternoon Tea (provided)

4:00 – 5:00pm – Choirs in the Classroom Part 2
Liz continues her exploration of classroom techniques with her active learning circle warm-ups. These exercises engage the whole class, working both sides of the brain without students even realising it.

5:30 – 8:30pm* – Festival of Summer Voices: Explorations
New in 2018, Gondwana National Choral School enables its singers to step out of their choral comfort zone and try something new. Whether it’s a Broadway hit or a dynamic Taiko drum set, our choristers will unleash their new found passion, guided by the expertise of our Guest Artists.
* Dinner Break 6:30 – 7:30pm

9.30 – 11.00am: The incredible Dances of Aceh, Indonesia are a highlight of the Gondwana repertoire. Be guided by Murtala and Alfira O’Sullivan of the acclaimed Suara Indonesia Dance company as you put your coordination to the test, as you sing!

11:00 – 11:30am: Morning Tea (provided)

11:30 – 1:00pm – Taiko Drumming for Beginners.
Join Ryuji Hamada of Taikoz to try your hand at the ancient art of Japanese drumming.

1:00 – 2:00pm: Lunch – there are plenty of excellent options at the UNSW campus.

2:00 – 3:30pm – The Music of Eastern Europe.
Mara Kiek is an internationally recognised performer of the musics of Eastern Europe. Mara will explain some of the physiological aspects of the vocal technique used in Bulgarian singing and give you an insight into this rich musical culture

3:30 – 4:00pm – Afternoon Tea (provided)

4:00 – 5:30pm – Come and Sing!
For voices of all shapes and sizes. From divas to shower-singers, this FREE workshop will welcome all to join in learning one of the jewels of the choral crown. Led by Liz Vierboom

7:00pm – Festival of Summer Voices: The Song Company
Finish your day with the beautiful sounds of the Song Company, Australia’s professional vocal consort. Directed by Anthony Pitts, the Song Company will journey through music of the Elizabethan Age right up to music written just days before.