Choral festival illuminates path to ‘positive ageing’

Published 19 March 2010

choir.jpgThe University of New England and Southern Cross University have announced that the third biennial Australian Seniors’ Choral Festival will be held this year from the 12th to the 17th of July.

The 2010 festival, to be held in Coffs Harbour, NSW, is being organised jointly by the two universities.

UNE’s Dr Terrence Hays, the Artistic Director of the festival, said that it was “a wonderful opportunity for older Australians to be actively involved in music making at a high level”. “Music is not only about emotions and life experience,” he said. “It is about connection with others, personal identity, and sharing the joys of life.”

The festival is open to anyone aged 55 or over who can read music and sing in tune. The varied repertoire will range from classic anthems to chorus excerpts and dynamic spirituals. “You don’t necessarily need to be a singer,” Dr Hays explained. “People with an instrumental background are also encouraged to participate.”

Christopher Allan, Senior Lecturer in Voice at the University of Newcastle, will be the Resident Conductor for the 2010 festival. He is well known as a conductor and singer with many choral groups including the Sydney Philharmonia Choir, The Song Company, and Cantillation. The festival’s patron is the internationally renowned Australian composer Peter Sculthorpe, and Kawai Pianos Australia is a major sponsor.

Music workshops throughout the first five days of the festival will be followed, on Saturday 17 July, by a final rehearsal and then a public concert (as pictured here).

The 2010 event builds on the success of festivals in 2006 and 2008. “The festival has provided fresh insights into the possibilities of ‘positive ageing’ for everyone involved,” Dr Hays said. “Feedback from participants has indicated that it has provided them with life-enhancing emotional experiences that are intensely personal, while at the same time enabling them to experience the joy of creative self-expression as part of a group.”