CONTENT COURTESY GONDWANA INDIGENOUS CHILDREN’S CHOIR
Two internationally renowned children’s choirs, Gondwana Indigenous Children’s Choir (GICC) and the Vienna Boys’ Choir (VBC/Wiener Sängerknaben) will come together for a world-first collaboration in Sydney and Cairns this October to perform Songs of My Country, a unique celebration of culture and language.
Created in partnership with the Austrian National Tourist Office, Songs of My Country is a choral event that will see VBC travel from Austria to Australia to perform two concerts with GICC in Cairns and Sydney.
Gondwana Choirs Founder and Artistic Director Lyn Williams OAM says: “We are enormously excited to welcome the esteemed Vienna Boys’ Choir to Australia to join Gondwana Indigenous Children’s Choir to perform Songs of My Country at the iconic Sydney Opera House and on the choir’s home soil in Cairns.
“Songs of My Country is so much more than two choirs performing together. It’s a truly unique cross-cultural exchange between two world-class ensembles that bridges their diverse cultural heritage through a shared love of singing and performance.
“Australian audiences have the extraordinary opportunity to witness the coming together of Vienna Boys’ Choir, one of the oldest continuously performing institutions in Europe, with Gondwana Indigenous Children’s Choir, which proudly represents one of the oldest continuous cultures on Earth.”
The first concert will be held at Sydney Opera House Concert Hall on 10 October at 7pm, featuring the GICC, VBC and the internationally recognised performing ensembles from the Sydney Children’s Choir.
The second concert will be held on the GICC’s home soil at Cairns Convention Centre on 13 October at 7pm, featuring the GICC, VBC, the Sydney Children’s Choir (SCC), and the combined youth massed local Cairns Songfest Choir, an outreach initiative of Gondwana Choirs.
The concerts will feature classical masterpieces (VBC); Traditional songs and dances from the Torres Strait (GICC); and, music by leading Australian composers (SCC).
The highlight of the concert is sure to be the world premiere of Boori Guman, a work written expressly for the three combined ensembles by Australian composer Owen Elsley written in collaboration with Gudju Gudju of the Gimuy Walibara Yidinji, the Traditional Owners of Cairns (Gimuy). Boori Gunman is based on a local traditional story about the origin of fire and will be performed in English and Gimuy Walibara Yidinji language by the combined ensembles.
The composition was made possible by a grant from the Regional Arts Development Fund, a partnership between the Queensland Government and Cairns Regional Council to support local arts and culture in regional Queensland.
The concert is suitable for all ages and will feature choral music for young voices that highlights the singing traditions of each of the three choirs. Vienna Boys Choir will perform music for which they are renowned around world.
Earlier this year, as part of the collaboration, 22 talented young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander choristers from the GICC, aged 10 to 17, travelled from Cairns to Vienna to discover Vienna’s musical and cultural offering, rehearse with the world-famous VBC and to perform together in its esteemed venue, the MuTh.
“Visiting and performing in Vienna, the world capital of classical music, was a life-changing experience for the young singers – many who had never before travelled overseas, let alone performed in such revered venues,” Williams says.
The experience was enriched with a range of cultural experiences arranged by Songs of My Country Presenting Partner, the Austrian National Tourist Office.
Austrian National Tourist Office (Sydney) director Astrid Mulholland-Licht says: “Welcoming Gondwana Indigenous Children’s Choir to Vienna gave us the opportunity to introduce these young Australians to Schoenbrunn Palace to learn about our history, discover Vienna’s fun side at the Prater where they rode the famous Ferris Wheel, and taste culinary classics such as Schnitzel and Strudel.
“I was personally impressed and delighted by the interest and curiosity displayed by our young guests who immersed themselves in the Austrian culture.”
Created in 2008 by Lyn Williams, GICC gives voice to the diverse cultures of Australia’s Indigenous youth, providing a vehicle to build identity through deep collaboration with local elders and community.
GICC’s mission is to preserve and develop language and story through song, involving intergenerational cultural activity and developing a new contemporary Indigenous repertoire. GICC participation is offered at no cost to the talented young people selected to participate.
GICC is proudly supported by Principal Partner Rio Tinto, and Songs of My Country is made possible with the support of Presenting Partner the Austrian National Tourist Office and Major Project Partners Haymans Electrical, MM Electrical Merchandising, Accor Hotels and the Vienna Tourist Board.
For more information and tickets, please visit the website.