Aussie Choir Shares Common Interests


Mindy Luo, staff writer

Choir students from Wesley College, an Australian high school, visited the concert choir class on December 6.

During the visit, both choirs took turns performing. The visiting choir sang a couple of songs dedicated to Australia, such as “The Wally Wombat Shuffle” and “The Seal Lullaby.”

“It’s eye-opening to see a different choir and how they work,” said junior Devon Ashburn.

Wesley students are part of a bigger pop choir program from the private boarding school in Melbourne, Australia. Every 3 years during their summer vacation, students in the program tour the United States for 3 weeks. This year, around 35 visiting students, from grades 7 to 12, made the trip.

According to choir director Mark Roberts, Campolindo had a visit from a different Australian choir 2 years ago. He said that is still quite uncommon to have frequent interactions with a choir traveling internationally.

For Roberts, the experience is meant to bridge cultural gaps and to provide an eye-opening experience for students participating in choir. “It’s for students to get a reality check. You feel like you’re in a little bubble in Moraga, but in reality, halfway across the world, there are teenagers doing the exact same things,” Roberts said. “In fact, 2 of the songs they were singing were ones we have sang before too. There are common experiences to be had through music.”

Several concert choir students enjoyed getting to interact with foreign students and connecting over their common love for music. “It was a good experience because I got to meet students from a completely different part of the world, but at the same time, I realized how similar we all were at this age. It made my day,” said junior Mia Travis.

Many of the Australian students decided to partake in the program to learn about a new country. Junior Olivia Weeks from Wesley College said, “I thought it would be really cool and I could make new friends and learn about a new culture.”

Sophomore Robby Nykodym said, “They were really eager to talk to us to learn about typical American culture. They were like, ‘where’s your cafeteria? Is it like in High School Musical where the lunch lady just drops stuff on your tray? Where are the football players and cheerleaders? They were just so excited all the time.’”

Matthew Ting, 1 of the choir directors at Wesley, was happy at how excited his students were on the entirety of the trip. “My students aren’t going to want to leave the school premises. They’re having too much fun at Campo,” said Ting.

After their campus visit, Wesley students explored San Francisco. They departed for New York on December 8 to continue their tour.