Sing South Gippsland was held at the Foster War Memorial Arts Centre on 17 and 18 September 2011. Australian choral composer, conductor and educator Stephen Leek was an inspiration to 117 choristers from six choirs over the weekend.
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.
The Prom Coast Singers, directed by Paddy Broberg, presented songs composed by Stephen Leek and some traditional melodies arranged by John Rutter.
The Vivace Singers from Phillip Island, directed by Ross Fairhurst, presented a diverse mix of songs including Wild Mountain Thyme, Lean on Me and Redgum’s Poor Ned.
The West Gippsland Singers from Warragul, directed by Jan Maclean, presented two religious pieces and songs by George Gershwin.
Bec’s Bonny Boners from Foster, led by Rebecca Bone, performed songs ranging from African melodies to Dancing with Daisies, a song Rebecca composed for her daughter.
The formal concert ended with Larry Hills conducting the combined Bass Coast Chorale and South Gippsland Singers performing 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 and then the general public saw Stephen Leek conduct a master class with individual choirs using some of the music presented on the previous evening and reiterating 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. The Vivace Singers’ the master class piece was Cockles and Mussels and the combined Bass Coast Chorale and South Gippsland Singers worked on Sting’s Fields of Gold.
Stephen provided an inspirational weekend of singing and the opportunity for Gippsland choristers to meet and socialise. Foster turned on ideal weather and the whole event was thoroughly enjoyed by both the singers and their audience.