Welcome to 2019!
The beginning of the year is always filled with much anticipation and excitement as we contemplate the coming year for our choirs, schools and other activities. If you are anything like me, you have spent some of the time over the summer holiday period looking at many new titles of choral music in the hope that you will find something just right for your choir.
It can be a time-consuming activity and one that is not precise. It is hard to know what the choir will actually look like, how many tenors will turn up to the first rehearsal, how quickly they will learn the music, what extra performance opportunities may present themselves…… the list goes on! I distinctly remember asking my lifetime mentor Rod Eichenberger whether he had any magical ideas when it came to repertoire choice. I naively thought he would be able to give me the secret formula to this never-ending task. He looked at me and said emphatically, “No!” Even for the masters, it is all about listening, looking, talking, reading and putting in the time. All I can add by way of assistance is recommend to you the invaluable repertoire-reading days offered to you by the various ANCA State Chapters; you’re sure to find at least one worthwhile title! And don’t forget to program some Australian repertoire. Keep an eye on the ANCA website and Sing Out articles to assist you with this.
For ANCA the beginning of the year is all about ChoralFest. By now you have hopefully registered and organised to be in Fremantle the week before Easter. This issue of Sing Out will give you loads of information about what will surely be a watershed event in the history of choral festivals in this country. As an over-arching professional choral association, ANCA is uniquely placed to support all Australian choral musicians and ChoralFest is the most intensive, informative and inspiring way of experiencing and enjoying these benefits.
If you want to hear fantastic choirs, you’ll hear them in Fremantle. If you want to be immersed in the latest research about choral music, you’ll find it at ChoralFest. If you want to be energised by the nation’s best-informed choral educators, enjoy choosing a variety of workshop sessions at the conference. And if you want to feel connected to choral enthusiasts from other parts of Australia (& the world), ChoralFest is the way to go. I urge you to make the effort and find yourself this year at ChoralFest.
I also want to sincerely thank two of our state presidents who have “retired” from leadership within their respective chapters. Bevan Bates took over the South Australian chapter at a difficult time with the passing of ANCA life-member Helen Pietsch. His wise council, steady hand and faithful stewardship was just what was needed and we thank him for all his work across the years. Erzsi Marosszeky came to the rescue of the NSW chapter when there was a desperate need for leadership. She did this with enthusiasm and inspiration, gathering together a committee of like-minded choral specialists devoted to furthering choral music in NSW and the ACT.
Of particular note I believe it has been her leadership of various conducting and aural-training activities, ideas I hope can be continued in the future. We are indebted to her and to her committee and thank them for their work. We look forward to a new committee starting up in NSW in the coming months. If you’re interested in contributing in this way, please let us know!
I wish you all the very best for a successful 2019 and look forward to seeing many of you in Fremantle soon!
ANCA National President