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Gondwana National Choirs

Reflecting Australia through song.

Gondwana National Choirs brings together the country’s best performers from all backgrounds to create extraordinarily rich musical ensembles.

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Gondwana National Choirs are the voice of Australia’s youth, bringing together young singers from across the country to form vibrant musical ensembles. The choirs are proudly representative of people from every state and territory, and come together for annual seasons of rehearsals and performances under Australia’s leading conductors of choirs for young people.

In 1997, Lyn Williams AM and Mark O’Leary OAM joined young singers from every state and territory for a two-week season of music and song in Sydney. This began the tradition of the annual residential camp which would become National Choral School, where hundreds of young singers live, rehearse and perform together each January.

Two of the national choirs, Gondwana Voices and Gondwana Chorale, are amongst the finest choirs of their kind in the world, and proudly represent Australia on the world stage.

Welcome from Lyn Williams, Artistic Director 

You love singing harmonies, you sing in the bus, sing in the shower, sing for your friends and family, your life is one long song. Now experience the sheer joy of singing in harmony with other young singers from across Australia. You are invited to come and share your passion for singing at Gondwana National Choral School in 2025. 

Whatever your path to vocal excellence we welcome you to apply for Gondwana National Choral School. Whether you’re a singer who likes to find new and fabulous harmonies whilst singing along to a track, or someone who can effortlessly sing a complex score at sight, we support all pathways to great choral singing. We look forward to welcoming our special guest Lisa Young. The works we have previously commissioned from Lisa Young are rapidly becoming firm choral favourites across the world.  Lisa is composing a new work for us which will be performed by the combined choirs of NCS 2025.  

Other highlights for the 2025 season of Gondwana National Choirs include the Canada/USA tour for our over 18s choir Gondwana Chorale, conducted by Paul Holley and Carl Crossin, and the first recording in over a decade for Gondwana Voices. These recordings have been much loved on the classical airwaves for decades and we are well overdue to record the current crop of Australia’s finest young singers in a new Gondwana Voices professional recording.  

Be part of the legacy of Gondwana inspiring audiences and choirs for years to come and apply today! 

 

2025 Seasons

All choristers must attend National Choral School to be eligible to participate in any other Gondwana National Choirs seasons in 2025.  

  • National Choral School: All Choirs

  • Gondwana Chorale: NCS and Canada/USA Tour

  • Gondwana Voices: Recording Season

National Choral School: All Choirs

6– 18 January 2025, Sydney 

The Women’s College, University of Sydney 

Performances: Wednesday 15 January, Friday 17 January  

Who’s ready for National Choral School in 2025? We are! The kick-off of the National Choirs season will return to The Women’s College at the University of Sydney, and will feature an extended schedule that will push you to new heights and allow you more time for all the things you love about choral school. We are thrilled to be welcoming award-winning composer, Lisa Young, as a special guest and look forward to singing her new work Layers of Light as our massed choir piece to conclude the program. Whether this is your first time or you’re returning for the 10th time – we can’t wait to see you there! 

Cost
$1,690 

Eligibility
There are choirs at National Choral School to suit singers of all voice types aged 10 – 25.  National Choral School is a residential program, and prerequisite for any further seasons during the year. 

Gondwana Chorale: NCS and Canada/USA Tour

For singers 18 and over.  

National Choral School: 6 – 18 January 2025 

Tour: 23 January – 6 February 2025 

Gondwana Chorale is off to Cananda and the United States of America almost immediately after NCS 2025! Led by dynamic duo Carl Crossin and Paul Holley, Chorale will visit choirs in Vancouver, Seattle, Philadelphia, and Princeton, and finish their tour with a shared concert in New York City!  

This season will feature choristers selected from NCS 2024 and 2025. If you did not participate in NCS 2024, entry to the choir is at the discretion of the conductors. Please see below for detailed information regarding your season. 

Eligibility
18 – 25, all voice types 

Costs
NCS: $1,690, residential; $1,100, non-residential
Non-residential option allows Chorale choristers to stay offsite in Sydney. In addition to the program, it includes morning tea, lunch, and afternoon tea only. 

Tour: $4,900
Includes travel within North America and within tour dates. Does not include international return flights. 

Applications and Auditions
Singers who have been offered a place on the tour are not required to re-audition. There are a small number of additional places available. Applications and videos for Gondwana Chorale 2025 must be submitted no later than 30 June 2024. A zoom audition in early July will follow so that we are able to finalise our touring party. There will be a request for a deposit in August. 

Gondwana Voices: Recording Season

20 – 27 April 2025 

Set to produce their fourth album, and first in over a decade, Gondwana Voices will gather in Sydney for a unique recording project. Featuring predominantly Australian composers, choristers will learn these works during National Choral School and perfect and record them in a professional recording studio.  

Eligibility: 10-17, treble voices 

Gondwana National Choirs is the place for Australia’s young singers. If you can’t stop humming a tune, this is the place for you. You might sing in lots of choirs already or perhaps this is something you’ve always wanted to do. You might be from a large city or a small town. If singing is your thing, Gondwana is the place for you.  

Gondwana Chorale, our vibrant national youth choir, is an SATB ensemble for singers aged 18 – 25. With a reputation for an exciting sound across a varied repertoire, Gondwana Chorale comprises some of the brightest young adult singers from across Australia. 

Conductors: Carl Crossin OAM and Paul Holley OAM 

Gondwana Voices is Australia’s national children’s choir for treble singers aged 10-17. It regularly performs with the country’s leading ensembles and has built a reputation for performances of outstanding musicianship. The choir tours nationally and internationally and has performed at the BBC Proms and with the Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra in the Berlin Philharmonie. In 2024 they are touring to the UK France and Spain including a performance in London’s Barbican Hall.  

Conductors: Lyn Williams AM and Mark O’Leary 

Gondwana Singers is an exciting young SATB (soprano, alto, tenor, bass) choir which caters for singers aged 14 – 17, including boys with changed/changing voices as well as treble voices.  

Conductors: Claire Preston and Rowan Johnston 

Gondwana Novus is for young people, aged 10 – 13, who love singing and show strong musical potential. For many young singers, Gondwana Novus is the start of a lifelong musical journey. 

Conductors: Annie Kwok and Allison Harrigan

Download 2025 Brochure
Apply for 2025
Download 2025 Brochure

Timeline  

Tuesday 18 June  Applications Open 
Sunday 30 June  Applications & videos due for Chorale 
Saturday 6 and Sunday 7 July  Chorale Auditions 
Thursday 1 August  Applications & videos due for all 
Monday 19 – Saturday 24 August  Auditions 
Mid-September  Results and bursaries announced 

Auditions 

For our 2025 projects, auditions will be in two parts. 

Part 1: You will need to submit a video recording of you singing two contrasting pieces, demonstrating your voice and musicianship. The recording should not exceed 5 minutes and may or may not have accompaniment. Applicants will be given clear guidelines for the creation and submission of their video.  

Part 2: Applicants will attend a live, online audition via Zoom. This audition will cover a range of aural and sight singing skills. Example audition material will be made available before auditions commence. You will be able to sign up for an audition time once you have submitted your application. Please choose carefully as, due to the number of applications, it may not be possible to change this time. 

Price: $55, Part 1 submitted by 1 August 2024 

 

Preparing for your Audition 

Is this your first time applying to participate in a Gondwana National Choirs season? If so, we’re here to help! Join us for a brief information session on Monday 8 July 2024 and learn how best to prepare for your upcoming audition. A link will be provided closer to the date. 

 

Travel  

The participation fee does not include travel to and from the chorister’s home at the beginning and end of each season. We understand that travel costs add up and will endeavour to provide additional support where possible. 

 

Bursaries  

We want to make sure that everyone can attend a Gondwana season. Through the support of generous individuals and foundations, there are a number of full and partial bursaries available for participants who can demonstrate the need for financial assistance in order to attend Gondwana National Choirs seasons. Further information and details on applying for bursaries can be found here.

For more information, please contact: 
Giulian Favrin, Manager, Gondwana National Projects 
national@gondwana.org.au  
0409 999 301  

  • Lyn Williams AM

    Artistic Director & Founder

  • Mark O’Leary OAM

    Conductor, Gondwana Voices 2025

  • Paul Holley OAM

    Conductor, Gondwana Chorale 2025

  • Carl Crossin OAM

    Conductor, Gondwana Chorale 2025

  • Rowan Johnston

    Conductor, Gondwana Singers 2025

  • Claire Preston

    Conductor, Gondwana Singers 2025

  • Annie Kwok

    Conductor, Gondwana Novus 2025

  • Allison Harrigan

    Conductor, Gondwana Novus 2025

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. 

Mark O’Leary OAM

Conductor, Gondwana Voices 2025

Mark O’Leary OAM has worked with choirs of all ages for nearly 40 years. He founded Young Voices of Melbourne in 1990 and has been Gondwana Voices’ Principal Guest Conductor since its first season in 1997. He has been on more than 49 national and international tours and has made 18 CD recordings with Young Voices of Melbourne, Gondwana Voices and Exaudi. He publishes choral music for young singers in the YVM Choral Series and is the creator of the Sight Singing School website and books, used in more than 50 countries. He is a Churchill Fellow, an Honorary Life Member of Kodály Australia and was awarded an OAM for services to choral music in 2018.

Paul Holley OAM

Conductor, Gondwana Chorale 2025

Paul Holley is a choral conductor and music educator. His personal warmth and passion for choral music have inspired many singers to discover and develop their skills as choral musicians. With over 25 years of teaching experience in schools and many years of working with instrumentalists and singers Paul knows how to connect with people of all ages and enjoys collaborating with them in the music making process. 

Presently, Paul is the Artistic Director of Voices of Birralee a community youth and children’s choir organisation based in Brisbane. He conducts two of the signature choirs the Birralee Blokes and Resonance of Birralee. Both of these ensembles have toured nationally and internationally, won several competitions, made numerous recordings and supported community events. He is also the co-conductor of the national youth choir Gondwana Chorale. In addition to these roles, Paul is a workshop presenter, choral clinician, guest conductor and mentor to younger conductors. He was awarded a Medal of the Order of Australia in January 2016 for his services to choral music. 

Carl Crossin OAM

Conductor, Gondwana Chorale 2025

Dr. Carl Crossin OAM – conductor, educator and composer – has been directing choirs in the professional realm, within the community, and at all levels of music education for almost 50 years.  He founded the multi-award-winning Adelaide Chamber Singers in 1985 and subsequently led the choir to national and international acclaim and respect over the ensuing 36 years before stepping down from his role as Artistic Director and Conductor of ACS at the end of 2021.  Carl has also been music director and conductor of the Elder Conservatorium Chorale at the University of Adelaide since 2002.

Carl has been a guest conductor, choral clinician and adjudicator throughout Australia and internationally, and has also toured Britain, Europe, South-East Asia and North America on several occasions with his various choirs.  Carl has become increasingly active as a composer in recent years and enjoys creating new music for a wide range of choirs and instrumentalists.

In 2007, Carl was awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia for his services to music, and, in recognition of his contribution to music in South Australia, he was inducted into the South Australian Music Hall of Fame in 2021.

Rowan Johnston

Conductor, Gondwana Singers 2025

Rowan is a freelance conductor, adjudicator and clinician based in New Zealand. He holds undergraduate degrees in Voice and Composition and has completed a Masters degree in Choral Conducting with First Class Honours studying with Dr Karen Grylls at Auckland University. Rowan founded the Taranaki Youth Choir and the internationally-acclaimed Choralation Choir from Westlake Girls & Boys High Schools. Under his direction, Choralation is the most successful choir in the history of the NZ Secondary School choral festival The Big Sing. In 2014, Choralation was awarded 1st Place in the Summa Cum Laude Music Festival in Vienna where they performed in the Musik Vehrein. Rowan currently holds the positions of Director of Choirs at Holy Trinity Cathedral Auckland, the Music Directorship of the Auckland Youth Choir and was made an Associate Conductor for New Zealand’s professional chamber choir, an ensemble he also sings in, Voices New Zealand. He is a Choral Advisor for the NZ Choral Federation. 

Claire Preston

Conductor, Gondwana Singers 2025

Claire Preston has worked extensively in Australia and North America specialising in developing young singers.  She has been Assistant Conductor of the Toronto Children’s Chorus and Canadian Children’s Opera Chorus, accompanist for Canada’s foremost professional choir, Elmer Iseler Singers; and was Co-Founder of the award-winning, Exaudi Youth Choir.

Claire returned to Australia as Head of Choral Studies at the Victorian College of the Arts Secondary School where she commissioned and recorded Australian music and collaborated regularly with the VCA Orchestra.

Claire maintains an active career as a choral conductor and is in demand as an adjudicator for choral festivals and eisteddfods including New Zealand Choral Federation The Big Sing; Festival of Voices, Australian Honours Ensemble Program, and Voices of Birralee.  She has been a regular guest conductor at Gondwana National Choral School and is delighted to be conducting in the 2025 season!

Claire is Head of Vocal and Choral Studies at Hillcrest Christian College and in 2020 was awarded a scholarship through the National Excellence in School Leadership Institute. In 2021, Claire was honoured to receive a Leadership Award from the Australian Council for Educational Leaders.

Annie Kwok

Conductor, Gondwana Novus 2025

Annie is truly excited by children’s and youth choirs, inspired by their energy, honesty, and sound. Her works have been performed in major choral festivals in Australia and internationally, as well as being actively sought out for primary and secondary school music programs.

She has been a member of the artistic staff of the Public Primary Schools Festival of Music, Young Adelaide Voices, Gondwana Voices, and Sydney Children’s Choir. Annie was the 2011-12 Composer-in-Residence for Young Adelaide Voices, and the 2014-15 Composer-in-Residence for the Sydney Children’s Choir.

Annie is currently the Assistant Head of Performing Arts at Pulteney Grammar School teaching Year 7 to 12 Music, is the instigator of whole school singing from Reception to Year 12, and the director of Grammarphones and Senior Concert Choirs.

In 2020, she was awarded the South Australian World Teachers Day Award for Excellence by the Australian National Choral Association.

Allison Harrigan

Conductor, Gondwana Novus 2025

After completing a Masters degree in choral conducting and aural training Allison lectured at Victoria’s Melba Conservatorium and Monash University and then Queensland’s University of Technology.  She conducted the music faculty choirs at each of these institutions following many years of music education roles in primary and secondary schools. After moving to New South Wales, Allison enjoyed time as Director of Choral Education at Gondwana Choirs and conducting at National Choral School. For the past eleven years she has been Musical Director of Choirs at Sydney Church of England Girls Grammar School.  Allison lectures in choral conducting and musicianship for the Kodaly Music Education Institute of Australia and is conductor of the NSW Arts Unit flagship choir Senior Singers.  She is passionate about supporting Australian choral composers, commissioning new works, rigorous music education and helping young choristers and their conductors to reach their artistic potential.

Video

For more, visit our YouTube channel.

Desert Sea

Lie Light Dear Heart

Whenever the Wind is High

Recordings

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