Endeavour Harmony Chorus, winners of The John Lamble Foundation Australasian Open Choral Championship in 2016. Photo: WinkiPop Media
In the 2016 Sydney Eisteddfod Endeavour Harmony Chorus went from strength to strength. They placed second in the Community Choir (Any Age) event qualifying them for The John Lamble Foundation Australasian Open Choral Championship, which they won. Their winning performance caught the attention of event officials and the choir was invited to take part in the 2016 Australian Choral Grand Prix. The Jury recognised the choir for their polished performance, awarding them first place.
Musical Director Lea Baker, reveals what the choir is hoping to achieve next as an ensemble and what she believes the future holds for Australian choristers.
Describe choral singing in five words.
Fun, Harmonious, Challenging, Thrilling, Rewarding
Tell us how you became involved in your first choir?
I started my own! Hired a hall, put an ad in the local paper (that was 20 years ago). Endeavour Harmony Chorus was born. It’s been a fantastic ride ever since!
What has been a highlight of performing with Endeavour Harmony Chorus?
Last year we competed for the 4th time on the International stage (an honour for those who win the National Sweet Adelines Competition). We came in 10th place in Las Vegas, October 2015. The first time an Australian Chorus has made the top 10 and with a great score. We are still riding high from that experience!
Do you have any tips for somebody thinking of joining a choir?
Go for a choir where they teach you about singing. You’ll become a better singer and get more bang for your buck. Other than that, remember choirs need ‘ensemble’ singers. So leave any “soloist” behaviours at home.
What are you most looking forward to with Endeavour Harmony Chorus as 2016 draws to a close?
We have a big show coming up on October 9th at the Sutherland Entertainment Centre. The show celebrates our 20 years as a chorus. We are planning a fabulous afternoon of entertainment with 70 singers on stage. Can’t wait!
What is Endeavour Harmony Chorus hoping to achieve next as an ensemble?
We are currently working on taking in some new members. We are looking for the two lowest voices (bass and baritone) and we are excited to have 14 prospective new members in our rookie program. We are planning to make a music video for YouTube and a new CD (our 4th) later this year. Competition wise we are working on singing at an ‘A’ level in next year’s National Sweet Adelines Competition being held in Perth, WA.
What styles of music do you like singing with Endeavour Harmony Chorus most?
We always sing unaccompanied and in 4 part harmony other than that we are open to anything! I love that we sing a mixture of different styles. Right now we have some new more contemporary songs which we love performing, including Fix You (Coldplay) and Somebody To Love (Queen). We also love to rock it out with Proud Mary (Tina Turner).
What do you believe the future holds for choral singing in Australia?
I’m loving that the Sydney Eisteddfod is not only still going, but improving in every way. It seems much more professionally run these days and the adjudicators are more qualified and experienced than a few years ago. So that is a great thing to keep groups coming back each year. Getting knowledgeable comments from the judges spurs us on to keep improving.
What life skills would you say you have learnt through being part of a choir?
As the Musical Director I’ve learned so many skills besides actual voice training and teaching harmony, like team building, leadership, mentoring, teaching, negotiation, long range planning.