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Gondwana Indigenous Children’s Choir

A contemporary expression of the world’s oldest living culture.

Based in Cairns, the Gondwana Indigenous Children’s Choir is a place where young singers train, perform and collaborate with Elders and composers while forging connections with music, language, land, and stories.

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Based in Cairns, Queensland, the Gondwana Indigenous Children’s Choir and their ‘big sisters’ Marliya are the most powerful and well-recognised group of young Indigenous performers in the country. Under the leadership of Lyn Williams AM and Lauren Hannay, the rich, vibrant sound of the choir warms the hearts of audiences whenever it performs. 

The choir has a strong commitment to commissioning new choral music incorporating First Nations language and story, in collaboration with cultural custodians. Recently, films of the choir singing these pieces on country have shared this work to a wider audience: Birinyi (2020), a Yidinji story shared by Gudju Gudju with music by Luke Byrne and Buda:dji (2021), a Djabugay story shared by Dennis Hunter with music by Dan Walker.  

The choir has performed with First Nations artists including Archie Roach, Uncle Seaman Dan and Jessica Mauboy and at major events such as the G20 Summit and the NAIDOC Gala Ball. The choir has collaborated several times with the Australian Chamber Orchestra Collective to present new works to Cairns audiences.  

In 2017, the Gondwana Indigenous Children’s Choir undertook its first European tour, introducing audiences to music in multiple Indigenous languages and to the exciting arrangements of traditional songs and dances from the Torres Strait. This tour also included a collaboration with the Vienna Boys’ Choir and the Sydney Children’s Choir, called Songs of My Country. 

In July 2022, they gave the premiere performance of William Barton’s Of the Earth with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra and Simone Young for the reopening of the Sydney Opera House Concert Hall. 

From the ranks of the GICC has emerged a new ensemble, Marliya. Marliya was first formed to appear in Felix Riebl’s Spinifex Gum. With Spinifex Gum, Marliya has appeared at the Adelaide and Sydney Festivals, at Dreamtime at the G, and the closing ceremony of the Invictus Games. In 2019 Spinifex Gum was nominated for Best New Australian Work in the Helpmann Awards and toured in August and September with performances at the Garma Festival and in the Northern Territory, Western Australia, Victoria and the Australian Capital Territory. In 2022, Spinifex Gum played at BluesFest in Byron Bay and the Women of the World Festival in Cairns. 

Come and sing with the Gondwana Indigenous Children’s Choir! We welcome all young Indigenous singers ages 10-17 in Far North Queensland. Rehearsals take place in Cairns, and are conducted by Lyn Williams AM and Lauren Hannay.

To join, contact Alice Nelder on 0479 177 494 or via email: alice.neldner@gondwana.org.au

The Gondwana Indigenous Children’s Choir is available to perform for a range of events and recordings. The Choir has performed widely for industry and government conferences as well as charity, community and private events. Our team is always pleased to discuss options: fees are negotiated on a case-by-case basis, depending on the scale of the performance, length of time required, as well as the choice of repertoire.  

The choir is based in Cairns. Please take into account travel, accommodation and associated costs when considering booking the choir.

Please contact Alice Neldner, Manager Gondwana Indigenous Children’s Choir, to enquire using the form below.

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  • Lyn Williams AM

    Artistic Director & Founder

  • Lauren Hannay

    Associate Conductor and Pianist

Lyn Williams AM

Artistic Director & Founder

Lyn Williams is widely regarded as one of the finest conductors of choirs around the world. For over 30 years, Lyn has harnessed the incredible power of young voices through her world-renowned ensembles: the Sydney Children’s Choir, Gondwana Voices, the Gondwana Indigenous Children’s Choir and Marliya. Her choirs have appeared with the world’s leading orchestras and conductors and at festivals including the BBC Proms and Polyfollia.  

Lyn has commissioned over 200 works from composers across Australia and around the world and her ability to forge innovative and meaningful collaborations is widely recognised. She continues to foster strong relationships with First Nations artists across Australia, bringing together cultural custodians and composers to create new works which preserve and celebrate Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island languages and cultures. Lyn enjoys a long-standing collaboration with singer-songwriter Felix Riebl of the Cat Empire and the singers of Marliya, presenting the critically-acclaimed show Spinifex Gum, which has featured at almost every Australian arts festival since its premiere at the Adelaide Festival in 2018.  

In 2017, Lyn received the Australia Council for the Arts’ Don Banks Music Award for outstanding and sustained contribution to music in Australia, in recognition of her lifework as founder and director of Gondwana Choirs. 

Lauren Hannay

Associate Conductor and Pianist

Cairns-based Lauren Hannay is a graduate of University of Queensland with double principal studies of Voice and Piano.  She completed post-graduate studies at Queensland Conservatorium of Music in Vocal Performance, working with acclaimed singing teacher Margaret Nickson.  Lauren made her professional debut as ‘Yum-Yum’ in TN Theatre Company production of The Mikado. She has also worked as soprano soloist in many cantata and oratorio performances in Queensland and has toured as a member of the Brisbane-based vocal quartet, La Cappella.

Lauren is nationally recognized as a leading singing teacher and vocal coach.  Her particular expertise lies in the integration of sound vocal technique in the choral context and has worked with the Sydney Chamber Choir, Sydney Children’s Choir and the Choir of Christ Church St Lawrence.  In addition to her vocal teaching she is Director of Choral Music at Cairns State High School.  In 2017 and again in 2019, Cairns State High Choir won the state finals of Queensland’s CGEN Choral Fanfare.

Lauren has had a long association with Gondwana choirs, where she is the pianist and co-conductor of Cairns-based Gondwana Indigenous Children’s Choir. In October 2019 she conducted the choir with ACO collective at CPAC.  Lauren toured with GICC nationally and on their first international tour to Germany, Slovenia and Vienna.   She has presented for ANCA QLD and NCS Choral Ideas Symposium in 2018 and 2019 and again for the Gondwana World Choral Festival: Music and Ideas series. Since its inception in 2013, Lauren has been the pianist for the NCS Conducting Academy.

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