CCS Newsletter February 2017

Greetings to all of Canberra Choral Society’s friends and supporters!

We are looking forward to filling 2017 with beautiful music in great locations and with great collaborators. We hope you can be part of it all. Under our new artistic director Dianna Nixon, work is underway to prepare four major performances this year.


A twilight concert

Sunday, March 26, 5.30pm
Village Centre, National Arboretum

A program featuring all things Green to celebrate our inaugural performance in the stunning surroundings and soaring acoustics of the Village Centre at the National Arboretum.

This twilight concert, with music by Randall Thompson, Ralph Vaughan Williams and Leonard Bernstein, among others, is not to be missed.



Last Night of the Proms with Canberra Wind Symphony

Sunday September 10
Albert Hall

All the Pomp and Circumstance of London’s Last Night of the Proms here in Canberra


The music of Carl Vine with the National Capital Orchestra

Saturday June 3, 7.30pm
Llewellyn Hall

Following the success of our collaboration with the National Capital Orchestra last year in presenting Carmina Burana, we again team up with the NCO to perform the Australian composer’s 1996 Choral Symphony, and also Wonders, a new work commissioned and debuted last year by Sydney Philharmonia, a setting of Walt Whitman’s 1855 poem ‘Who learns my lessons complete?


Handel's Messiah

Saturday November 25
Llewellyn Hall

Guest choristers and fabulous soloists will join us for the return of Handel's beloved Messiah which heralds the Christmas Season.

Our 2017 program

The 2017 program follows one of the most intense years in the choir’s recent history which combined not only an unprecedented number of our own concerts, but new and exciting demands being put on the choir in Toby Cole’s production of The Vow, and in a range of completely different, less formal performances around the national capital.

From Byrd to Britten at the Ainslie Arts Centre to a concert in the gorgeous acoustics of the High Court with Voices in Space, we seemed to be everywhere last year!

We popped up at the Parliament House night of nights - the Press Gallery Mid-Winter Ball – with an irreverent reflection on the election campaign set to the Hallelujah Chorus, and as a ‘flashmob’ at the Canberra Tourism Awards. We returned to Parliament House at year’s end to perform Christmas carols for the MPs and staff of the building, this year attracting an even bigger and more enthusiastic audience. Without doubt, though, the highlight of the year for the choir was our involvement in Toby’s production of Handel’s last oratorio Jeptha, as The Vow.

For the first time, the choir was asked to leave the safety of standing behind its scores, learn eight choruses from memory and become part of the onstage action. Carried by Handel’s beautiful choruses, we did things most of us didn’t realise we were capable of and learned to appreciate even more just what goes in to the work of soloists and professional performers.

Artistic Directors past and present

It was a great high on which to end our happy five year collaboration with Toby, who has guided us along a wonderful and challenging road, exploring new repertoire, diving deep into Handel, exploring new venues and performance formats.

We have covered works from William Byrd to the irreverence of the Wesley-Smiths, celebrated Canberra through composers with a Canberra connection, and through the role that Albert Hall has played in the national capital’s musical life. As well, of course, as a rich fair of the major choral works: Beethoven 9, The Creation, Messiah, and Carmina Burana.
We wish Toby the best in the future and are excited to welcome Dianna Nixon in 2017. Dianna’s wide experience in theatre and music will take CCS in new directions, tapping in to her experience in dance, film and theatre.
Dianna has worked for many of the arts organisations in the ACT, in particular has a long association with The Street Theatre.
Just some of her work in 2016 demonstrates the variety and scope of Dianna’s work, including creating and presenting Wild Shakespeare at the National Zoo and Aquarium for the Enlighten Festival, and with The Girls she performed in The Famous Spiegeltent. Dianna directed The Sonnets Out Loud (also creating the soundtrack) in a special one-off event produced by The Street Theatre, and her short musical film a Song had its international premiere at a festival in Chicago.
We look forward to seeing you at this year’s performances and thank you for your ongoing support.

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