Choir Visits with Australian Counterparts


Alesandra Markovic, Staff Writer

Members of Chamber and Concert Choir had a chance to meet and share their love for music with students from Melbourne, Australia on December 6.

The Melbourne choir, which is touring the US, contacted Campolindo through a traveling agent. “We just ended up emailing back and forth and it turned out that the details could be worked out, so it just sort of came into fruition, but they found us,” said choral teacher Mark Roberts.

The Australian singers attend St. Leonard’s College, a school that kids start from the age of 3.  Just the way that their school is comprised going through 3 year olds to seniors in high school creates some differences in sort of like how they’re structured, meaning who would be in which choir and what students would take which classes,” said Roberts.

St. Leonard’s choir meets before or after school, instead of as a class imbedded in the school day, of which Liz Furman, the head of St. Leonard’s choral, said their students were “quite envious”.

Furman said, “Our rehearsals for choir have to be before school or after school and on weekends for this individual case of this tour. So, we rehearsed on Sundays for three hours for about eight Sundays leading up to our tour because we couldn’t fit it into the week because these kids are already in all different choirs at the school.”

On their US Choir Tour, they’ll be singing “Better Be Home Soon” by Australian band Crowded HouseMichael Jackson’s “Heal the world,” “Royals” by Lorde and “When I Grow uU” from Matilda the Musical, written by an Australian comedian.

The tour wasn’t funded by St. Leonard’s College, but by the parents of choir members.

“I think it will give them a lifelong memory of singing and having this opportunity. Already, the performances we’re doing are getting better and better because they’re not a group that regularly rehearses together apart from those Sundays. They’re learning about each other,” Furman said. “So, as we go I can already hear and see differences and they’re watching me much more as a conductor. We’re really getting the sound happening so much more.”

San Francisco is their first stop and the next one is New York, where the choir will go to Broadway shows and music theory workshops that will teach them how to do auditions in the professional world of music.  Furman said, “I think a lot of them realize that music as a career is a challenge but they love what they’re doing.”

Lachlan McKay, one of St. Leonard’s students, said, “Overall, it [US] didn’t sort-of feel like it was a different country until we started talking to the people and, you know, interacting a bit more. I really like it. I remember the first day we went to Haight Ashbury and me and my friend were saying that we’re just going to come and live here because we love it so much.”

Tom Ellis, head of Year 7 at St. Leonard’s, was mostly surprised by huge drink in America, saying that when he ordered a small coffee he was given a “soup bowl”. He also liked the American free refill option and said that the kids are loving the fried food in Campolindo’s cafeteria.

McKay said, “It’s really good to learn and further your music education.”