Monthly Archives: June 2015

Massive sing with Chorus OZ, June 6-7, 2015!

Chorus OZ, run by Sydney Philharmonia Choirs, provides an annual opportunity for choristers to sing a major work in the Sydney Opera House, with rehearsals and a performance over the course of one weekend.

ChorusOZ_2015_flyerI couldn’t resist joining in this year: it is their 10th anniversary, and what a program it was to celebrate the occasion:

Orff Carmina Burana: O Fortuna
Handel Zadok the Priest
Mozart Requiem: Introitus, Dies Irae, Recordae, Confutatis, Lacrimosa
Rachmaninoff All Night Vigil Bogoroditse Devo
Haydn The Creation: In Splendour bright, The Heavens are telling
Brahms Ein Deutsches Requiem: Wie lieblich sind deine Wohnungen
Mendelssohn Elijah: O Lord, thou hast overthrown, Thanks be to God
Sculthorpe Requiem: Canticle
Verdi Missa da Requiem: Libera Me
Beethoven Symphony no. 9: Finale
Encore: Handel Messiah: Hallelujah Chorus

Now that has to be the ultimate huge sing! We had almost 1000 choristers, who overflowed from the choir seats behind the orchestra into all the boxes around the side of the concert hall!

Conductor Brett Weymark did an amazing job of pulling it all together over two days for rehearsals, without for a second losing his great sense of humour, enthusiasm and energy.

After the Saturday rehearsal, we sang O Fortuna and the Hallelujah Chorus on the steps of the opera house, and drew quite a crowd of passers-by!
Thanks to Danielle Bellas for putting it on YouTube…


The main performance on Sunday night was a fantastic experience, playing to a packed concert hall. I’ve always thought it would be amazing to sing in the chorus of Beethoven 9 at the Sydney Opera House, so that was a dream fulfilled!

Premiere of Missa Brevis by Penelope Thwaites

Internationally regarded pianist and composer Penelope Thwaites has written a new mass setting, which our choir at St John’s, Canberra, premiered at a concert in honour of the centenary of her late father, the poet Michael Thwaites, on Friday May 29 2015.

The Thwaites family have had a long connection with St John’s, and as a result we have enjoyed singing music by Penelope on several occasions.

Missa Brevis performance

St John’s choir with Penelope Thwaites (piano) conducted by Sheila Thompson

On this occasion, we augmented St John’s choir with some very talented additional singers from other Canberra choirs. After several weeks of practice, the performance of this new Missa Brevis, with Penelope accompanying on a grand piano, went off exceptionally well and drew much applause from a packed church!

It is a terrific piece, wonderfully melodic, and deserves to be heard again in the future – it would work in both in a concert or liturgical setting. I’m looking forward to hearing the recording made by ArtSound FM!