Gondwana Indigenous Children’s Choir European Tour and Concerts

6 May 2017 Gondwana Indigenous Children’s Choir European Tour and Concerts

Gondwana Indigenous Children’s Choir undertake their first major European tour as part of the Vienna Project. They will be in Europe for two weeks, beginning in Frankfurt for workshops and concerts with The European School, followed by Mariobor, Slovenia with the renowned girls’ choir Carmina Slovenica. After Maribor they travel to Vienna,where they will begin rehearsals of a new work by the Australian composer Owen Elsley that they will perform with the Vienna Boys Choir in October in major concerts at the Sydney Opera House and Cairns Convention Centre.


Saturday 6 May at 7,30pm Liebfrauenkirche, Frankfurt
Monday 8 May at 7pm Unionska Dvorana, Maribor
Saturday 13 May at 11am MuTh, Vienna
Sunday 14 May at 11am MuTh, Vienna

In October this year, Gondwana Indigenous Children’s Choir’s collaboration with Vienna Boys Choir continues in Australia with rehearsals and performances in Sydney and Cairns. The concerts will feature the world premiere of a work by Owen Elsley and collaborator Gudju Gudju based on a Dreaming story of the Yidinji nation in the Cairns region for the combined ensembles. The commissioning of this work was made possible by a grant from Cairns Regional Council.

The Vienna Project was Gondwana Indigenous Children’s Choir’s first major international tour and to make the most of this incredible opportunity for our young choristers from Cairns, two other important stops were included in the itinerary. First stop was Frankfurt (via Sydney and Dubai) to Frankfurt, where the choir undertook a residency at the European School Frankfurt, whose students represent more than 16 European countries. The first full day in Frankfurt included a workshop with students from the school and a sour of the Roman remains and forest in outlying Saalburg. On Saturday 6 May, the choir prepared for its first European concert, with the choir of the European School, at the beautiful Gothic Liebfraukirche in the historic centre of Frankfurt.

The next destination was Slovenia by way of a short flight to Graz and a picturesque coach ride to Maribor, the country’s second largest city. Maribor is home to the renowned girls’ choir Carmina Slovenica and after a morning workshop and rehearsal, both choirs performed at the restored 19th Century theatre Union Hall.

After farewells to the generous host families, the choir once again enjoyed the incredible scenery on the coach to Vienna. Wednesday 10 May was designated as a sight-seeing day, including the Imperial Palace, the Museum of Fine Arts, a walk through the historic city centre, the Vienna State Opera and a ride on the giant Ferris Wheel. Workshops with the Vienna Boys Choir (VBC) began on the morning of Thursday 11 May at the Palais Augarten, the home of the VBC and a private performance at the offices of Cochlear.

After rehearsals on Friday, the weekend was taken up with two performances on Saturday and Sunday together with the VBC at the MuTh, their very own concert venue. The performances were part of the VBC Mothers Day concerts and were enthusiastically received. The Vienna Boys Choir were wonderful hosts and the choristers will long remember the visits to the Palais Augarten where they not only shared music through rehearsals but meals, games and many laughs. On Monday 15 May, the choir commenced the first of the three flights to get home.

The performances featured Australian composers Luke Byrne, Alice Chance, Dan Walker, Paul Stanhope and Shellie Morris. They also introduced European audiences to the wonderful arrangements of traditional songs and dances from the Torres Strait.

One comment on “Gondwana Indigenous Children’s Choir European Tour and Concerts

  1. Maria Nechwatal

    What a fantastic Project. I trust the Choir loved their tour and I bet Europe loved them!
    In this world which is often so divisive, it is so heartening to know of opportunities and encouragement for collaboration. My father was a member of the Vienna Boys Choir and then chosen for the Vienna Mozsrt Boys’ Choir which left Europe by boat in 1938 and toured USA, Canada, Hawaii, Samoa and New Zealand before beginning a tour of Australia. They enjoyed an unforgettabe train journey across the Nullabor, stopping in Kalgoorlie to give a concert. As they prepared to board for their departure in Fremantle, WW2 was declared so overnight they becae enemy aliens. My father was 14 and the youngest was 8 years old. The then Archbishop of Melbourne, Daniel Mannix negotiated with the Governmnent. An arrangemnt was made that they would join the newly formed St Patrick’s Cathedral choir. The children were taken in by families in the Cathedral parish and finished their studies at Abbotsford Tech and Parade College. My father’s love of his homeland, music and acklowledgement and appreciation of Indigenous people and culture and of Australia’s generosity was imparted to us. When Archbishop Mannix died in the 60s he commissioned a bronze plaque from a sculpture by Melbourne artist, Rod Dudley and the proceeds form the sales of this supported indigenous education. My family is thriled to witness your collaboration. We are mostly Melbourne based but together with our Cairns family, we look forward to your concert. Thank you for making all of this possible.

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