2019 Newcastle Choir2

This Time Last Year, Choral Championship Anniversary

Published: 23/06/2020 9:00am

Last Sunday would have been the day of our first major event of the year, our Open Choral Championship.

With the event not going ahead this year due to the global pandemic, we have caught up with the First-place Winners from last year, Newcastle Chamber Choir, to mark the occasion.

Members from the group who were interviewed include Benjamin Lambert, Keira Linde, Jen McPherson and Phillipa Miskiewicz.


What was it like performing in this event last year?


“Overjoying. The point of building, working, sharing & pouring sweat and love into music with a group is truly magical when it all comes to a pinnacle.

Winning the actual event was exciting, but for me being part of live music on stage with an audience is the real delight. Having the opportunity to sing in the Sydney Eisteddfods is a wonderful experience”


“Winning the final in 2019 was so exciting... I was so proud of our choir to work together as we did and showing what we can do.”


“I think many of us were quite nervous! But we also had a wonderful experience and loved the opportunity - it's a cliche, but our choir really is like a big family and it was a pleasure to make music together for an appreciative audience.

It was also great to hear the other choirs perform and support the local choral community.”

What did you gain from the experience last year?


“A credit to your name is always emboldening. 

If you can take the heat in competition, you can do anything. It's like tempered steel. Going from Big Smoke competition, to a local Newy concert home allows you to quietly relax and dig into the depth of the music. Release your inhibitions!”


“Winning the final in 2019 was a great achievement for the choir; a prestigious award that opened doors for us with concert venues and audiences.”


“Newcastle Chamber Choir formed last year, so winning the Choral Championship was a huge achievement for us. We all worked so hard as individual singers and as a group and it meant so much to us to be able to prove ourselves and have a prestigious win to our name.”

Have you found ways to continue to perform during this pandemic?


“Adapt & enjoy is a pseudo mantra of mine.”

Transcription, arrangements & recordings are the direction I'm taking... I preferred to direct my efforts into online rehearsals, so that, eventually one day, when we emerge back to live performances with audiences, we can hit the ground running!”


“I tried a few multi-track recordings of pieces I like and enjoyed learning the skill.

Loved watching virtual choir videos of other choirs but our choir took the time to learn our music and be ready to pick up where we left off - ready to give concerts as soon as we could all sing together.”


"We've been rehearsing and memorising new songs so that we'll be prepared for our next concert - whenever that may be!"


“The mental health/general well-being benefits of singing together have never been more keenly felt. It's been fantastic to still connect over zoom, but I'm really looking forward to the endorphins and oxytocin kicking in when we sing together in person”.

Any advice to those who didn’t get to take part in our Choral events this year, particularly the Choral Championship Finals? 


Keep doing 'it'. Remember the feeling. The hair standing up on your arms, sound washing over you as you sing in good company. Remember setting the goal, climbing the mountain. The sun will set on COVID-19 (Our new choral MacBeth!), and when it does, us choirs will be ready, waiting! 

Keep your eyes keen and bright - There's always next year! 


All choirs, singers and musicians should enter the event when they can; the Choral Championship final is a wonderful experience...COVID19 will soon be in the rear-view mirror and I will be even more grateful for my choir family,  sing with them regularly and work towards the final in 2021.

I think all the virtual choirs have created a stronger choir community in Australia and globally - I hope there will be many more choirs competing in Eisteddfods in the post COVID-19 world.”   


I can imagine there would be a lot of disappointed choristers out there, particularly Year 12 students who've missed out on their last chance to perform with their school choir. But the only thing we can do is to just keep singing!  

Newcastle Chamber Choir, performing at the Opera Scholarship Finals 2019.


It was great speaking with Newcastle Chamber Choir, we're inspired by what they have managed to do during a pandemic and encourage everyone to keep practising their passions, now more than ever!

The entries are rolling in for Stage At Home, so if you haven't already, make sure to send in your performances and Make Your Mark on 2020.