Saturday 9 November 2019

O's Australian Girls Choir Journey.

From a very young age, O has always loved singing. When she was in year three at her previous school in Western Australia, O joined the school choir and loved it. With the school choir, she performed at their school and also on stage at the 2017 Schools Make Music Concert series. She loved the experience of performing with her school choir in front of such a large audience. They were one of the smallest choirs performing but what they lacked in numbers, they made up for with their combined voice.

When we moved back to Queensland, O mentioned to us that she really wanted to join the Australian Girls Choir and at the beginning of 2019, much to her delight, O was offered a place in the Australian Girls Choir, Avanti level. From the moment that O's Australian Girls Choir uniform arrived and she tried it on for size, we could not wipe the smile from her face. The look on her face was one of pure joy. And since that moment every Thursday afternoon when O puts on her uniform, she beams so brightly. O loves telling everyone and anyone that will listen about the Australian Girls Choir.

The Australian Girls Choir was established in 1984 by Judith Curphey, OAM, in the Melbourne suburb of Burwood. Judith, whose 30 year career background is in music and drama education, was the sole tutor and she had 150 girls rehearsing in four classes. Judith's aim in establishing the Australian Girls Choir was to form a girls choir that would have an emphasis on not only singing but also dance and presentation and she wanted the choir to be known for its unique Australian sound.

The founding philosophy behind the Australian Girls Choir is that every child can learn to sing if they are given the encouragement and training. The Australian Girls Choir provides very high quality performing arts education and truly exceptional performance opportunities.
This year marks 35 years of the Australian Girls Choir. Judith celebrated her 90th birthday in style by going to Paris to watch her beloved choir on one of their oversea tours. Today, in 2019, there are approximately 6000 girls aged from 4 years to 18 years learning to sing, dance and perform in Brisbane, Adelaide, Canberra, Melbourne, Sydney and Perth.

Since joining the Australian Girls Choir, O has very definitely found her niche. And in the last 12 months of being an Australian Girls Chorister, O has blossomed musically and her confidence has grown.

Earlier this year O performed in the Winter Showcase. Leading up to the Showcase she was a bundle of nerves but on the day of the showcase, she was cool and calm. After the concert, O talked non stop about being back stage, the dress rehearsal, the performance and meeting the choristers from the other venues. That performance cemented to O, that singing is what she wants to do. Singing is her happy place.

Last weekend, O performed in one of the Australian Girls Choir Annual Concerts at the biggest venue that she has ever performed in - The Queensland Performing Arts Centre (QPAC.) O can now say that she has performed on the same stage that one of her Mummy and Daddy's favourite celebrities, John Scott Barrowman (Doctor Who, Torchwood, Arrow) performed on!

The morning of the concert, O had a massive anxiety panic attack about something that had happened at school during the week prior. She was a huge mess and both myself and Daddy Superhero were concerned about how she would go that night. But to O's credit, she brushed off her anxiety, put one foot in front of the other and off we went to QPAC. As soon as we arrived, she became a completely different child and she shone. After the concert finished, O was on a huge high. The drive home took us over an hour and she talked, sang and giggled the entire trip. It is truly wonderful to hear your child on such a high after doing something that makes her so very happy - singing, dancing, performing.

One of the things that I love about the Australian Girls Choir, is just how happy the classes make O. No matter how rough a day O has had at school, she goes to her weekly classes and comes out at the end of the hour and a half session on a huge high. O is genuinely happy and will giggle and sing the entire hour car ride home. I love the camaraderie that I see week in, week out at her weekly classes and also that I've seen at the two performances that O has been involved in this year. I honestly believe that her Australian Girls Choir classes are genuinely beneficial to O's happiness, as well as her mental and emotional well being. Australian Girls Choir is very definitely one of O's happy places and she has found her tribe with her fellow choristers.

But what about O? What does she think about her Australian Girls Choir experience?

"I love that the AGC doesn't try to push me beyond my limits. My friends there accept me for who I am. Everyone, the girls in my Avanti group, my tutors and the older choristers, our venue manager Miss Parkinson, all of the staff at the concerts, are so friendly and inclusive of all of the girls. It's like being in a big choir family. I am making friends with girls who are my age and who I have so much in common with. And I loved meeting and singing with our groups sorella, she was so lovely and her singing voice is beautiful.

My tutors Mrs Scott and Miss De Castro are so friendly and very encouraging. Mrs Scott and Miss De Castro have taught me so much more than just singing. They've taught me how to read sheet music, how to project my voice when I sing and act. I'm learning drama and performance skills. I love going to choir. I just wish we'd found out about the choir when I was younger. But I know that I want to be with the choir until I am in year twelve. I want to be just like the big girls in the performance and concert levels." 

So bring on 2020, O's second year with the Australian Girls Choir! We can't wait to see what next year with the Australian Girls Choir will bring!

P.S. Sorella is Italian for sister! There is an emphasis on the Australian Girls Choir being like a big family. O's AGC big sister is one of the older choristers who was helping out in their class leading up to the Annual Concert. For third term I'm not sure who was having more fun the class, the girls or their sorella!

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