Challenge hits the right note for choirs

The mixed-age choir that performed at the launch of the Choirs Division of the Australian National Eisteddfod.

The mixed-age choir that performed at the launch of the Choirs Division of the Australian National Eisteddfod.

“IF you love choirs like The Kings Singers and Kings College Cambridge, you will also enjoy listening to choirs in the Australian Choral Challenge,” says artistic director of the Choirs Division of the Australian National Eisteddfod, Dianne Anderson, one of Canberra’s keenest champions of choral music.

ABC Radio host Genevieve Jacobs is hardly behind her in enthusiasm, as those present at a launch last week observed. To Jacobs, who spoke after a performance by a mixed-age choir directed by Tobias Coles, the joy of singing was enhanced by teamwork, the technique of melding together disparate voices and above all, by the fact that in choral singing “we can have fun.”

Anderson, for her part, said she was standing down as director, but would continue to help sponsor the event, which is also supported by business people and choir lovers in Canberra.

The Eisteddfod is under new leadership this year with businesswoman Sylvia Tulloch taking over as president. In a classy act of rebranding, the finals have been restyled the Australian Choral Challenge, with a mighty first prize of $10,000 and a total of $18,000 in prizes all up.

Anderson is understandably over the moon at having found three choral experts to adjudicate – Julie Christiansen, from the Birralee Choirs, Brisbane; Andrew Hunter, from Concordia Choir, and our own Peter Tregear from the ANU School of Music.

Nine choirs will compete in the challenge on August 16, five of them from interstate. The primary sections on August 15 will see 600 children from Canberra, Jindabyne, Cooma and Sydney competing, to be followed by a workshop led by Christiansen.

Saturday’s program will include the popular Sacred, Contemporary, Popular, Multicultural and Australia-Britain sections and the 12 Years and under and 19 Years and under championships.

The Australian National Eisteddfod Choirs Division, Llewellyn Hall: Primary Choirs, 10am-2pm, Friday, August 15; Open Sections, 12 years and under and 19 years and under, 9.30am-5pm, Saturday, August 16. The Australian Choral Challenge, 7pm, Saturday, August 16, bookings to 132849 or tickets at the door. Full program at

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