“IT’S an exciting time to be a chorister,” says Richard Lamont, president of the Canberra Men’s Choir, which celebrates its 30th anniversary this month.
The unauditioned choir, which accepts anybody who wants to sing, has members ranging in age from their early 20s to late 70s.
“We are always looking for new singers of all ages,” says Richard.
“In the past, it has been difficult to attract male singers. Many in Australia have thought that it was not the thing men do.
“But this attitude is rapidly changing with the success of the male talent shows on television.
“They have clearly illustrated that singing is and can be a rewarding thing to do. And that it can be enjoyable. We hope to attract an increasing number of younger singers.”
These days, the choir’s musical director is experienced opera singer and conductor Leanne McKean, a far cry from the group of men gathered at the
Harmonie German Club in 1986, concerned at the lack of male-voice choirs in Canberra. One of the men was Dr Gunter Brandstetter, who became the choir’s first music director.
Originally it started with about 15 singers, but quickly expanded, continuing to hold rehearsals at the Harmonie German Club for many years.
“In the early days, the choir featured at all main functions in the Harmonie Club but started doing concerts on invitation at various outside venues as well,” says Richard.
“That included some Christmas concerts at the School of Music and The Playhouse. Initially, we concentrated mainly on European folksongs.
“When conductor Ken Teoh took over the choir, he introduced more contemporary songs, including arrangements of popular songs and songs from musical theatre.
“Currently, we sing a diverse range of songs, from opera choruses, folk songs, musical theatre and modern pop songs.”
Throughout the years the choir has performed in many concerts including with guests such as the Canberra Youth Orchestra, the Sydney Male Voice Choir and the Woden Valley Youth Choir.
In 2004, the choir was part of a joint concert with the Canberra Boys’ Choir in Llewellyn Hall.
Richard says the choir aims to do at least three performances a year – from community events to concerts.
“We also sponsor a male singing workshop – All Men Aloud – each year, which is designed to attract the unengaged singer,” he says.
“Many of our current members have emerged through that process.”
To mark the 30th anniversary, the choir will perform “The Grand Reunion” concert at the Harmonie German Club, Narrabundah, 2.30pm, on Saturday, November 19.
The concert will consist of a segment of songs by the choir, a segment accompanied by a string quartet, a segment with former members of the choir conducted by past musical directors and will culminate in a grand finale, involving sing-along songs with the audience.
Tickets at $20 (concession $10 and children 12 years and under free) from trybooking.com/mxyd.