BIG SING - ONLINE rehearsal 1 in Zoom

by ACU National Choirs

Other Activism ACU Choir Charity Music

Wed, Feb 28, 2024

6 PM – 7 PM (GMT+11)

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Start time in Brisbane: 5PM

Online Event





Connect. Collaborate. Have fun. Feel good. Make friends. Make a difference.

Sing with ACU students, staff and others in a casual, low-pressure atmosphere. Bring your dinner and your friends! No auditions or experience needed -- just your enthusiasm. Music will be taught by rote -- like "Pub Choir" -- and sheet music will also be available for those who want it. Rehearsal tracks can be accessed online so you can practise at home between rehearsals. The music is easy and fun. (Resources will be shared soon via ACU Life).


When: Wednesdays during semester 1 
Time (note: time changes for NSW and VIC after Daylight Savings ends)

  • Feb & March: 5PM in Brisbane. (6PM in NSW and VIC).
  • April & May: 5PM (QLD, NSW, VIC)

Where: Zoom

IMPORTANT: Additional rehearsals will be scheduled after May, involving the combined choirs, orchestra etc., leading up to the August performances.

Note: On-campus rehearsals are being arranged for Ballarat and Brisbane. Details will be shared as soon as possible. In the meantime, the online Zoom option is available.


On-campus rehearsals will be held in Melbourne, starting 28 Feb.

If you are located away from one of the performance locations, there may be opportunities for you to join in a live performance. This will be discussed during the online rehearsals.

The Melbourne Justice Choir, directed by Dr Kathleen McGuire, will be rehearsing on Saturday mornings approx. semi-monthly, in Brunswick West (inner northern suburb of Melbourne). You are most welcome to join in. This group is a more formal choir, using sheet music and learning all of the movements. This is an established group of about 30 singers, many of whom have sung STREET REQUIEM on many occasions. 

If you wish to join the external choir, you will need to register separately here:

(If you are not in Melbourne, further community choir options may be announced soon in other cities. Stay tuned!).


YES! There are opportunities for instrumentalists to play to accompany the choir. The accompaniment is scored for a chamber orchestra with traditional strings, woodwind, brass and percussions, plus there are opportunities for other instruments including:

  • Piano (in performance AND we need rehearsal accompanists)
  • African drums / percussion (e.g., djembe, dun dun, shekere)
  • Tin whistle / recorder
  • Acoustic guitar
  • Bodhrán (Irish drum)
  • Harp
  • Yidaki (didgeridoo)
Rehearsals for instrumentalists will start later. Please LET US KNOW if you are interested in playing an instrument and we will add you to the list. There are also options to sing with the choir on some movements and play instruments in others.

Yes! If you have solo vocal skills, let us know. Auditions will be announced in due course. 


We ask that you attend most rehearsals (missing a few here and there is okay). Basically it's up to you to be "performance ready" by August. In addition to the live and online rehearsals, there will also be combined rehearsals after Semester 1 with other choirs and the instrumentalists.

Students involved in the Big Sing will be able to apply for Community Engagement hours for units. Staff can apply for Community Service release.

If you have skills you wish to offer beyond performing, please let us know ASAP. 


The “Cause” is homelessness. In this project, we will help support and perform alongside people who are experiencing or at risk of homelessness. 

This quote explains further: “Instead of focusing on safety for our unhoused neighbours, the misperception that people without homes are perpetrators, rather than victims, of violence contributes to both criminalising homelessness and dehumanising people without housing.” (Kushel, 2022).

RELEVANCE: Census data (2021) revealed that 122,494 Australians are experiencing homelessness – an increase of 5.2% since 2016. “The average monthly number of people using homelessness services increased by 8% in the four years prior to to 2021-22. That's double the population growth rate over that period” [UNSW, 2022]. In Queensland, authorities noted the housing crisis and increases in homelessness (29% increase since Covid and 22% worse in 2023 than the rest of the nation) since the pandemic and in reaction to current economic and environment crises (Pengilley, V., 2022 and Ruddick et al., 2023).



THE MUSIC: “STREET REQUIEM – for those who have died on the street”, by Dr Kathleen McGuire (ACU), Andy Payne and Jonathon Welch AM, is a uplifting, multi-movement, contemporary cantata for community choir, vocal soloists and orchestra. Intentionally inclusive, it opens with an Acknowledgement of Country to recognise local Indigenous groups, then a Dedication sung in Persian or Arabic, evoking an Islamic call-to-prayer. World Music is included, such as Khoza and Zulu language, and Celtic folk music. The traditional Latin text is minimised, set alongside contemporary themes in English. The music incorporates a range of styles, from chant to popular idioms.

Since the world premiere at Melbourne Recital Centre (June 2014), STREET REQUIEM has been performed more than 30 times in several countries, receiving international acclaim. The most recent performance (Mornington Peninsula, 21 Oct 2023) raised $21,000 for direct services for homeless people.

The ACU BIG SING project will culminate in performances of STREET REQUIEM, featuring massed choirs, vocal soloists, and orchestras comprising ACU musicians and school students.


Ballarat: Saturday 24 August (venue TBA)
Melbourne: Sunday 25 August, 3PM, St Patrick's Cathedral 
Brisbane: August (date/venue TBA)

Further performances are slated for NSW and ACT in 2025.


Past Events

Wed, May 22, 2024
5:00 PM – 6:00 PM
Online Event
Zoom link
BIG SING - ONLINE rehearsal 12 in Zoom

See detailed description.

Wed, May 15, 2024
5:00 PM – 6:00 PM
Online Event
Zoom link
BIG SING - ONLINE rehearsal 11 in Zoom

See detailed description.

Wed, May 08, 2024
5:00 PM – 6:00 PM
Online Event
Zoom link
BIG SING - ONLINE rehearsal 10 in Zoom

See detailed description.

Wed, May 01, 2024
5:00 PM – 6:00 PM
Online Event
Zoom link
BIG SING - ONLINE rehearsal 9 in Zoom

See detailed description.

Wed, Apr 24, 2024
5:00 PM – 6:00 PM
Online Event
Zoom link
BIG SING - ONLINE rehearsal 8 in Zoom

See detailed description.

Wed, Apr 17, 2024
5:00 PM – 6:00 PM
Online Event
Zoom link
BIG SING - ONLINE rehearsal 7 in Zoom

See detailed description.

Wed, Apr 10, 2024
5:00 PM – 6:00 PM
Online Event
Zoom link
BIG SING - ONLINE rehearsal 6 in Zoom

See detailed description.


Kathleen McGuire's profile photo

Kathleen McGuire

Senior Lecturer in Education (Music)

Australian Catholic University, Faculty of Education and Arts

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Co-hosted with: ACU National Choirs (OWNER), ACU Choir Melbourne

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