This year’s New England Sings! is bigger and better than ever before with almost 30 schools participating in the project. Schools from around our region (including Glen Innes, Inverell, Ashford, Walcha, Dorrigo, Bellingen Tamworth, Gunnedah and more!) will come together for a choral/orchestral spectacular on the weekend of the 20/21 October at Lazenby Hall, UNE.
For this event, in 2013 and 2015, NECOM was awarded the prestigious national Australian Art Music Award for Excellence in Education and Excellence in a Regional Area, a great honour in categories where such iconic organisations such as Gondwana Choirs, Australian Chamber Orchestra and Moorambillah Voices were also nominated. The 2018 project includes:
- The commissioning of two works from leading Australian composers – Dan Walker for the Primary choir and Felix Reibl from The Cat Empire for the Secondary choir. Both composers will be attending workshops throughout the year and the final weekend of New England Sings! to assist with rehearsals and perform in the concerts.
- Mark O’Leary, co-director of the national children’s choir Gondwana Voices will be attending the final weekend of rehearsals and concerts to direct the secondary choir.
Preparations are well underway with the arrival of the Primary commissioned work, Fire and Light by Dan Walker a few weeks ago. The work encompasses three pieces, each exploring themes including bushfire, lights and colours in the sky and internal fire in terms of determination. The first piece in the work, I See Faith in the Darkness is about hope and compassion in times of loss and despair. The text is derived from conversations that appeared in Rachael Kohn’s ABC Radio National programme The Spirit of Things about the aftermath of the Victorian and Canberra bushfires. The second piece is about the extraordinary New England light which appears on our hills at sunset. The final piece, The Answers in the Stars is about the lights and colours of the night sky, and the idea that we should look beyond our own backyard on the quest for knowledge. Our Primary teachers were introduced to the work at a choral workshop led by Dan Walker on Wednesday 16th May. Dan provided tips for teaching the work to all the participating choirs using the NECOM choir Cantilena Singers as a model. Our first mass workshop will be held on Thursday 26th July where Dan Walker will again visit NECOM to work with the school choirs participating in the project. Stay tuned for more details!