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2018 ANCA Conducting Masterclasses

2018 ANCA Conducting Masterclasses

During the first quarter of 2018 ANCA is hosting a series of Masterclasses in various chapters. ANCA is delighted that Karen Grylls will be visiting from New Zealand and will be joined by talented local clinicians to conduct a number of Masterclasses and workshops.

2018 ANCA Conducting Masterclasses are proudly supported by Tour Time

The Masterclasses being in Brisbane on February 16 & 17 (Karen Grylls and Jodie Spooner Ryan) followed by Perth for February 23 & 24 (Karen Grylls), South Australia 24 March (Jenny Mathers) and Victoria 4 & 5 April (Karen Grylls and with Debra Shearer- Dirié) and finishing in New South Wales 6-8 April (Karen Grylls).  Please click on the links below to see what's planned for the states, and read about the presenters. As the details of various events are confirmed and registrations open, links to these will be added.

Click on this link to watch  Karen's Greeting!









South Australia 

Conductor and Choir - Working Together in Harmony


Saturday 30 June 2018 with Jenny Mathers

A workshop for conductors and their choirs with Jenny Mathers, St Catherine’s School, Melbourne

Conductors and their choirs are invited to participate in this workshop on practical skills for conductors and choirs working together to create a wonderful harmonious sound. Conductors will be able to conduct their own choir and/or an ad hoc combined choir formed from of all those who attend, so even if you can’t persuade your conductor or your choir to come, you can still have a great time learning and singing. 



Past Events 


Queensland and Northern Territory (Brisbane) 

Finding the subtlety in Choral singing

Friday 16 February - Evening

Come and observe Karen Grylls working with 16 advanced singers as she works with the ensemble in rehearsal, finding the subtlety and finesse in every musical phrase.  Karen will work through a selection of choral standards, using strategies and tools that can be transferred to any level of choral singing.  This is an opportunity to see how Karen creates the colours and vocal blend she is renowned for. 

Conducting Masterclass (Intermediate/Advanced with Karen Grylls, Beginners Jodie Spooner-Ryan)

Saturday 17 February - Day

There is no better way to learn that to actively be involved in our craft.  For those intermediate and advanced conductors who wish to refine and polish their skills on the podium, sign up to work with Karen Grylls.  For those that are just starting out in the conducting world, sign up to work with Jodie Spooner-Ryan (NSW, studied with Andre Thomas in the US).  Jodie will lead you through some of the basics, and her friendly approach will have you relaxed and performing at your best in no time. 

Western Australia (Perth) 

Open Rehearsal with Karen Grylls

Friday 23 February - Evening

Karen will work with a recruited choir, illustrating her approach to interpretation and rehearsal. Open to observers.  

Conductors' Workshop

Saturday 24 February - Morning 

Conductors will direct a recruited choir under Karen’s guidance, with the aim of improving rehearsal technique, choral interpretation and performance.  Prospective conductors should apply to participate by Feb. 1st. Open to observers 

Come and Sing

Saturday 24 February - Afternoon

Development session for choral performers and directors, led Karen Grylls: an opportunity to acquire new insights into choral performance with one of the world’s leading experts. 


Join Dr Karen Grylls & Dr Debra Shearer-Dirié for two days of masterclasses, networking, singing and more.

Includes masterclasses for advanced and beginner conductors; Sing Your Choral Favourites, concert; choral music in NZ lecture; networking and lunch.  Two days of choral learning for all!

Event 1:  Advanced Conducting Masterclass with Dr Karen Grylls  EVENT CANCELLED

Wednesday 4 April 2018 - Day

Event 2:  4th Annual 'Come Sing' with Dr Debra Shearer-Dirie EVENT CANCELLED

Wednesday 4 April 2018 - Afternoon rehearsal and Evening concert

Event 3:  Novice Conducting Masterclass with Dr Debra Shearer-Dirie

Thursday 5 April 2018 - Day

Event 4:  NZ Choral Music Scene:  What Can We Learn? EVENT CANCELLED

Thursday 5 April 2018 - Morning

A lecture by Dr Karen Grylls.  The secret ingredients to excellent choirs in New Zealand revealed. -

Event 5:  Networking Lunch with Karen and Debra EVENT CANCELLED

Please note that this lunch is not the standard lunch for choristers at the school, the purchase of a Networking Lunch ticket is required.


Advanced Conducting Workshop and Open Rehearsal with Dr Karen Grylls and the Sydney Chamber Choir

Advanced Conducting Workshop: Saturday 7 April - Morning
Open Rehearsal: Saturday 7 April - Afternoon

Click on above link for further information on session times, locations and inclusions

Dr Karen Grylls will work with Advanced/Experienced Choral Conductors in a masterclass with the Sydney Chamber Choir at Sydney Conservatorium. There is an opportunity to participate as one of the Conductors in this small class or to register as an observer. Watch the morning masterclass and then stay to watch Karen Grylls rehearse the Sydney Chamber Choir in the afternoon session. See her work with the SCC on the details which combine to make tonal subtlety and musical excellence.

 About Karen Grylls

Karen Grylls ONZM founded Voices New Zealand Chamber Choir in 1998 and the choir has achieved great acclaim internationally in performance and recording. She is Associate Professor in Choral Conducting at the University of Auckland and is Artistic Director of the Choirs Aotearoa New Zealand Trust, the managing body for the NZ Youth Choir and Voices NZ. Dr Grylls was Conductor and Artistic Director of the New Zealand Youth Choir from 1989 to 2011, and Artistic Director of Toronto’s Exultate Chamber Choir from 2011 to 2013.
A graduate of both Otago and Auckland Universities, Karen studied post-graduate Conducting and Music Theory at the University of Washington, Seattle, for four years. In 1985, she returned to NZ to teach at the University of Auckland and take up the directorship of the Auckland Dorian Choir.
As a result of her musical directorship, the New Zealand Youth Choir has enjoyed notable international successes including: the Silver Rosebowl in the “Let the Peoples Sing” radio competition in 1992, “Choir of the World” at the 1999 International Eisteddfod in Llangollen and the “Grand Prix Slovakia” also in 1999.
With equal success Voices New Zealand won first and second placings in the mixed choir section of the Tolosa International Choral Competition in October 1998. With these choirs, she has won further prizes and accolades in Gorizia 2004, and Llangollen and Cantonigros, Spain in 2007.
In 1996 Auckland University honoured her with a Distinguished Teaching Award in Music and in 1999 she became an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit (ONZM) for her services to choral music. She is also the recipient of the KBB Citation from the Composers’ Association of New Zealand and the Lilburn Trust Citation for services to New Zealand music. TOWER Voices CD Spirit of the Land took the 2006 Tui Award for Best Classical Album, and the CD Voice of the Soul was a finalist in the 2013 Vodafone NZ Music awards. In June 2017, Atoll released Requiem for the Fallen.
Karen is much in demand as an adjudicator for competitions worldwide, including the 48th International competition in Tolosa, the Marktoberdorf International Chamber Choir Competition, Bavaria, and The World Choir Games in Xiamen, China. She is sought internationally as a choral clinician and regularly conducts masterclasses and workshops in Wales, England, North America, Canada, Singapore and Australia.

About Jenny Mathers

Jenny Mathers has recently been appointed as the Director of Music at Korowa Anglican Girls School, having previously been Head of Music at St. Catherine’s School, Toorak, Melbourne for nine years. She conducts two choirs and the Flagship Menuhin Orchestra and she enjoys many forms of music making, including playing the clarinet (L.Mus.A), accompanying her students on the piano (A.Mus.A), and singing (A.Mus.A) in choirs. Jenny is passionate about using imagery in all forms of her teaching and the ‘discovery’ of the work of Rudolph von Laban when she completed her Masters of Music Education at Florida State University in 1997 was life-changing. She uses this knowledge whenever she teachers conducting, such as at the ACCET Summer School or short courses for the University of Melbourne Graduate program. Jenny has spent many years on committees for ACCET, ABODA (Australian Band and Orchestral Directors Association) and ANCA, having been the Victorian Branch treasurer for 11 years, and now, after a break for family leave, the Vice-President.

She was convener of the first Sounds Great! conference in 2003 and has enjoyed continued involvement with the organization of this conference, as well as planning for the 2015 Choralfest in Melbourne.

Jenny adjudicated Instrumental, Choral and Vocal sections in Burnie, Tasmania in 2014 and the Choral Sections at the Waverley Eisteddfod in 2015. She adjudicated both the Boroondara and Mildura Choral Eisteddfods in 2016. 

About Jodie Spooner-Ryan

Jodie Spooner-Ryan (Conductor)  graduated from the University of NSW with a Bachelor of Music/Bachelor of Education in 1995.  In 2002 she completed a two-year Master of Music (Choral Conducting) degree at Florida State University, USA, under the direction of Dr. Andre Thomas and Professor Rodney Eichenberger.  She also studied orchestral conducting with Dr. Alexander Jimenez and was an Associate Conductor at the University of South Carolina's Summer School.

Jodie is currently Director of Music (P-12) at Meriden School, Strathfield in NSW. She conducts the Meriden Senior Singers, the top auditioned choir, the Meriden Symphony Orchestra and teaches senior classroom music. Jodie freelances for community choirs, orchestras and choral workshops.

Jodie is passionate about conducting technique and is a regular conducting tutor at the Australian Choral Conductors Education and Training workshop held in Melbourne every January.  She has been guest presenter at ACCET, CaSPA, the Anglican Schools Choral Festival, ANCA NSW and ANCA South Australia and various other organisations teaching conducting technique and running workshops for choir and conductors. 

About Debra Shearer-Dirié

Dr Debra Shearer-Dirié has lectured at the Queensland Conservatorium, the University of Queensland School of Music, and the Australian Catholic University.  She is Musical Director of the Brisbane Concert Choir, Fusion Vocal Ensemble and Vintage Voices.  Debra has performed with her choirs in Europe, North America, Korea, and of course, Australia.  Her singers are drawn in by her attention to the promotion and advancement of artistic excellence in choral singing and choral conducting. 

She currently serves as editor of the Australian National Choral Association’s publication, Sing Out, and is on the board for the National Council of that organization.  Debra has also been a contributing reviewer for the International Choral Bulletin (International Federation for Choral Music) since 2012. Her year is filled with guest conducting and adjudicating at Choir festivals in Australia and New Zealand.   She also serves as Adjudicator for Choral Festivals and Eisteddfods within the Asia-Pacific region.


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