ACU Choir Melbourne

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The ACU Melbourne Choir is available for students, staff and community members who want to develop their singing skills in the context of a vibrant choral ensemble. Singers from across the nation’s campuses can also join the National Choir group. If you enjoy singing, you’re invited to enrich our University fabric and lift our spirits through our ACU Choirs: another way to Connect, Create, Celebrate and Find Your Voice at ACU.

2024: BIG SING for a BIG CAUSE

Sing with ACU students, staff and others in a casual, low-pressure atmosphere. Bring your lunch and your friends! No auditions or experience needed -- just bring 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.

MELBOURNE (CHOIR) REHEARSALS

When: Wednesdays 12-1PM during semester 1, starting Feb 28, 2024

Where: Urban Theatre -- building 421, ground floor, alongside the escalator

Address: 115B Victoria Parade, Fitzroy

Register: https://aculife.acu.edu.au/MelbourneChoir/club_signup.

Each individual rehearsal is listed in ACU Life as an "event" (then scroll down to read details in the Event).

SCHEDULE SUMMARY

Please add the dates/times to your Calendar:

Melbourne, on campus

When: Wednesdays 12-1PM (during semester 1)

Where: Urban Theatre (bldg 421, ground floor near the escalator)

Dates:

  • Feb 28 - March 27
  • (Easter break)
  • April 10 - May 22

Zoom sessions

When: Wednesdays (during semester 1). Link: https://acu.zoom.us/my/kathleen.mcguire

Dates and times:

  • Feb 28 - March 27: 5PM Brisbane; 6PM ACT, NSW and VIC(Easter Break; daylight savings ends)
  • (Easter Break; daylight savings ends)
  • April 10 - May 22: 5PM (East coast)
  • Other rehearsals will be scheduled for instrumentalists. There will be additional rehearsals after May combining with other choirs and orchestras, leading up to the August performances.

Performance dates, 2024

  • Brisbane - August (venue/date TBA)
  • Ballarat - Sat 24 August (venue/time TBA)
  • Melbourne - Sun 25 August, 3PM, St Patrick's Cathedral

If you are based elsewhere, you have the option of coming to one of the performances to participate! Additional performances in Canberra and Sydney are in planning for 2025.

IMPORTANT: ACU Life lists the on-campus rehearsals scheduled for Semester 1 only. Additional rehearsals will be scheduled after May, involving the combined choirs, orchestra etc., leading up to the August performances.

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

CAN'T COME TO MELBOURNE ON WEDNESDAYS AT 12PM?

A weekly online Zoom rehearsal is available -- see schedule above. The Zoom sessions will be recorded and shared via ACU Life.

Link: https://acu.zoom.us/my/kathleen.mcguire

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.

COMMUNITY CHOIR OPTION: The Melbourne Justice Choir, directed by ACU's Dr Kathleen McGuire (a co-creator of the music), 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: https://streetrequiem2024.teamapp.com

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

CAN I PLAY AN INSTRUMENT IN THIS PROJECT? 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
  • Bass guitar
  • Drum kit
  • 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.

CAN I AUDITION FOR A VOCAL SOLO? Yes! If you have solo vocal skills, let us know. Auditions will be arranged for those who are interested.

WHAT COMMITMENT IS REQUIRED? 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.

COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT / SERVICE: 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.

ABOUT THE 'BIG CAUSE'

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).

ABOUT THE 'BIG SING'

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.

PERFORMANCES

  • 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.

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Members Benefits

Connect ACU Choir is an excellent way to meet people, make friends, be creative, have fun, and develop networks at the university. Studies have demonstrated the powerful effect that communal singing can have on the body's physical, mental and emotional health. Create ACU Choir provides the opportunity to develop your potential as a singer and musician. Improved music skills, the development of aural and choral skills, an understanding of musical style/form/expressive elements, the development of musical memorisation and the foundation of singing technique can all be achieved by regular participation in choir at ACU. Celebrate The beauty and power of music has always been an important part of the Catholic University tradition. Quality music is a powerful tool to draw people together to build community, and to make a difference through engagement with the wider community. Catholic universities have always recognised music as an expression of faith, prayer and celebration. We welcome people of all backgrounds and beliefs. Find Your Voice! Achieve your vocal potential by participating in live performances. Let your light shine by sharing your gifts with your University community!

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Christina Cushen Profile

Christina Cushen

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Ivy Ilyes

Kathleen McGuire Profile

Kathleen McGuire

Choir Conductor

E: choirmelbourne@acu.edu.au
P: +61 3 99533353

ACU Choir Melbourne

115B Victoria Parade, Fitzroy
Melbourne VIC 3065