Stephen Leek workshops

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This festival, called SING SOUTH GIPPSLAND, included workshops by the fabulous Australian choral composer, conductor and educator, Stephen Leek, at the Foster War Memorial Arts Centre.

An energetic and enthusiastic Stephen Leek proved to be also an encouraging and entertaining inspiration to one hundred and seventeen choristers involved through two choral workshops as part of the Sing South Gippsland!

On Saturday evening each of the six choirs participating in the festival entertained each other and their audience with songs they had been rehearsing in preparation for the event.


Foster’s Prom Coast Singers under musical director, Paddy Broberg, presented songs composed by Stephen Leek and some traditional melodies arranged by John Rutter.

The Vivace Singers, directed by Ross Fairhurst from Phillip Island, presented a diverse mix of songs which included ‘Wild Mountain Thyme’, ‘Lean on Me’ and Redgum’s ‘Poor Ned’.


Warragul choir, the West Gippsland Singers directed by Jan Maclean, presented two religious pieces and a suite of songs by George Gershwin.


A second Foster choir, Bec’s Bonny Boners led by Rebecca Bone, performed a variety of songs which ranged from African melodies to ‘Dancing with Daisies’, a song which Rebecca had composed for her daughter.


The formal concert ended with Larry Hills conducting the combined forces of the Bass Coast Chorale and the South Gippsland Singers in performances of extracts from two of his major works, ‘Starscapes and Visions’ and ‘The Miners’ Requiem’, plus popular songs including Stephen Sondheim’s ‘Send in the Clowns’.


A second singing workshop was held on Sunday morning after which the singers enjoyed a light lunch and then the general public was invited in to Stephen Leek conduct a master class working with individual choirs using some of the music which had been presented on the previous evening and reiterating many of the principles discussed during the workshops.

Stephen worked with the Prom Coast Singers on two of his own songs, ‘Monkey and Turtle’ and ‘Trade Winds’.


With the Vivace Singers the master class piece was ‘Cockles and Mussels’ and Stephen worked on Sting’s ‘Fields of Gold’ with the combined choir of the Bass Coast Chorale and the South Gippsland Singers.


Sing South Gippsland! also involved a sit down dinner for one hundred and twenty singers and their partners plus plenty of opportunity for singers from different choirs to get to know each other better.

Stephen provided an inspirational weekend of singing and the opportunity Gippsland choristers to meet and socialise. Foster turned on ideal weather and the whole event was thoroughly enjoyable for both the singers and their audience.

Stephen Leek with Paddy Broberg (Prom Coast Singers’ director) and …………………………. Lyn Jamieson  (Sing South Gippsland! organising committee)



Bass Coast Chorale & South Gippsland Singers ~ Conducted by Larry Hills, accompanied by Barbara Kershaw

Margaret Atkins, Yvonne Bain, Annie Bain, Pauline Beedle, Genevieve Brayley, Peter Brooks, Joyce Brown, Neville Chapman,  Gaye Cleeland, Alan Forbes, Claire Gatto, Sebastian Gatto, Joan Harris, Larry Hills, Clive Hollins, Judy Jennison, Jan Kershaw, Wayne Moloney, Tony Morris, Janine Morris, Mary Nadler, Geraldine Price, Sarah Spencer-Smith, Julie Thomas, Sandra Thorley, Carol Thorn, Nola Thorpe, Marty Waters, Nicky Waters, Lorna White, Ronald Wilmann, Kathleen Wilmann, Fred Zwygart, Lynoree Drury, Carol Hurst, Maree Ludenia, Peter McAlpine, Elaine Taylor, Lew Wilson.

Bec’s Bonny Boners
~ Conducted by Rebecca Bone

Yvonne Austin, Taliya Barker, Rebecca Bone, Marcella Brennan, Jenny Cocksedge, Maureen Collins, Jack Croft, Kate Facey, Tracy Fraser, Deborah Harris,  Linda McMullan, Alicia Miller, Joanne Moloney, Lyana Ryan.


Prom Coast Singers ~ Conducted by Paddy Broberg

Fran Allott, Tania Bird, Arie Bos, Paddy Broberg, Ruth Carson, Neil Chandler, Edwin Coad, Pamela Coad, Geoff Davey, Jenny Davies, Frank Deane,   Patricia Doran, Barbara Fleming, Lorraine Froiland, Larry Giddy, Brian Hoskins, Andrew Jamieson, Lyn Jamieson, Peter McAlpine, Phil Nightingall, Dianne Paragreen, Jennifer Paragreen, Pamela Park, Barbara Partridge, Anne Roussac-Hoyne, Dick Straw, Bronwyn Wakely, Fleur Wheeler, Shirley Wilson, Kate Woodward, Marilynne Zanella.


Vivace Singers ~ Conducted by Ross Fairhurst

L-R Barbara Fairhurst, Lois Wenham, Anna Van Caem, John Stott, Mike Cleeland, Jan Bates, Hilary Stuchbery, Rob Bates, Ash Stuchbery. Back to camera, Ross Fairhurst

Jan Bates, Rob Bates, Mike Cleeland, Barbara Fairhurst, Ross Fairhurst, John Stott, Ash Stuchbery, Hilary Stuchbery, Anna Van Caem, Lois Wenham.

West Gippsland Chorale
~ conducted by Jan Maclean, accompanied by Simon Loveless

Margaret Carlile, Marion Cohen, Janice Eshuis, Judy Hopkins, Susan Lester, Geoff Leunig, Simon Loveless, Jan Maclean, Elizabeth McCaffery, John McCaffery, Elizabeth Medling, Peter Medling, Brooke Mollison, Joshua Mollison, Tamara Mollison, Des Parker, Joy Parker, Venetia Somerset, David Tanner, Dianne Wilkie, Alan Woollard, Alan Wright, Christine Wright.


Individual Singers
Rosemary Bird-Carroll, Ronnie Carroll, Jennie Deane, Sheila Hill, Michael Strong, Mark Wakely.


.Bass Coast Chorale and South Gippsland Singers in performance


Paddy Broberg, director of the Prom Coast Singers,
with Ross Fairhurst, Vivace Singers’ director, and Stephen Leek

Now for some really positive news ….. South Gippsland in Eastern Victoria is one of those unspoiled magical destinations where the ocean melts into the lush rolling hills. The olive groves and vineyards co-habit the green fields easily with dairy cows and horses. Many of the locals, whose grand designed houses dot the landscape, have escaped the big smoke of the city for a much more relaxed and creative lifestyle. The sense of community in the numerous small towns is palpable.

So, this was where I spent one of my recent weekends….with five local choirs in the land of “The Prom” (Wilson’s Promontory). Sing South Gippsland was a wonderful event staged by Paddy Broberg and a most energetic and enthusiastic team from the Prom Coast Singers. For two days the choirs from the region shared with me in workshops, concerts, meals and socialising. What a pleasure it was to have the opportunity to work with five great and very different choirs of such enthusiasm, all eager to discover more about their choral art.

This event marked Paddy’s retirement from working with the Prom Coast Singers after many, many years of wonderful work. I know we all wish Paddy the very best for the future. I must send very big thank you to Andrew and Lyn for your wonderful hospitality on your beautiful property. Thank you also to all the participants for your generous and warm friendship, and of course, your enthusiastic choral singing. I hope I can return again someday soon.


……… SATURDAY 17th September

12:00… …  Lunch for Stephen Leek and choral directors

1:30pm Participant registration commences

2:30pm …. Choral Workshop with Stephen Leek

4:00pm …  Afternoon tea …. …. Afternoon tea

4:30pm . . Sound check and rehearsals in situ for choirs individually

6:30pm Festival Dinner

8:00pmFestival Concert – performances by participating choirs
………………… fiinishing with commentary by  Stephen Leek

……… SUNDAY 18th September

10:30am ..  Second Choral Workshop with Stephen Leek

1:00pm ….. Festival Lunch

2:30pm ….. Master Class – Choral Showcase Performance


Stephen Leek is an internationally recognised composer, conductor and educator on choral music and the vice president of the International Federation for Choral Music (IFCM).

His distinctive music is immediately recognizable, capturing the enigmas, drama, rhythms, colours and ethos of Australia. He has been accredited with having made a significant impact on and a major contribution to the development of Australian choral composition and performance and how that has been promoted and discussed throughout the world over the past 25 years.

Born in Sydney in 1959, Stephen Leek is an extensively commissioned freelance composer, freelance conductor, educator and publisher. Teaching sessional Composition and Improvisation at the Queensland Conservatorium, Griffith University until 2009 Leek, resigned from this position in order to develop further his already hectic free-lance schedule of commissions, workshops and guest appearances and to take up a non-remunerative position on the Board of the International Federation of Choral Music – a project of UNESCO.

Stephen has become a pioneer in developing composer residencies.  His involvement with numerous choral and music groups at every level of accomplishment has had vital influence on recent Australian music.

Having worked extensively at all levels of Australian and international music-making, Leek has devoted much of his time to generating workshops and repertoire that stimulates, excites and challenges the very youngest performers to seasoned professionals, putting performance practices and skills in place to enable all ages and skills levels to interpret, understand and appreciate the unique qualities of his music and other Australian composers.

For further information on his musical activities and achievements visit

Keynote presenter ~ Stephen Leek

Master of Ceremonies ~ Michael Strong

Workshop pianist ~ Barbara Fleming

Front of House Manager ~ Nan Mackay
Assistant ~ Jo MacKenzie

Catering Manager ~ Catherine McGlead


Chairman: Andrew Jamieson
Paddy Broberg,  Edwin Coad,  Pamela Coad,  Lyn Jamieson,  Nan Mackay,  Dianne Paragreen,  Jennifer Paragreen,  Jon Wathen,  Ros Wathen

Special thanks to

Growers and makers of boutique extra virgin olive oil

 Arie Bos,  Barbara Partridge,  Edwin Coad,  Fleur Wheeler,  Main Street Revelations,
Cr. Mohya Davies,  Paragreen Real Estate,  Robert Paragreen,
South Gippsland Secondary College, South Gippsland Shire Council, Cr. Warren Raabe,
Yanakie Hall Ladies and our front of house volunteers.

Photos by Robert Paragreen (R. A. Pargreen Photography 03 5682 2421)


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