A favorite inspirational quote
“I don’t sing because I’m happy; I’m happy because I sing.”
Choir Name: Sunshine Coast Oriana Youth Choir
Location: Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia
Style: Various Genres
Number of singers: Ranges from 14-24 singers from ages 8 – 18.
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What is something you do in rehearsals that surprises new members?
We like to mix up our warm-ups each week and challenge our singers to try new things. Vocal and coordination exercises activate all parts of the children’s brains. Watching some of our new members tackle some of the singing and movement exercises is really exciting to watch – both for new and older members.
The voice coordination exercise we love at Oriana Youth Choir is the “counting song” exercise. We alternate the way we use this exercise, however our favourite is when we add clapping and stamping to the song to allow our singers to develop their inner ear. The choristers sing the scale using numbers and we make it a little more difficult by getting our singers to clap instead of singing the number 3 and stamp instead of singing the number 7.
What a great exercise! What is the result?
This exercise makes the choristers concentrate on their singing and coordination, and there is a lot of laughter as we all do this exercise together!
How does your choir bond as a group?
Half way through rehearsal youth choir singers bond by sharing afternoon tea together. This short break lasts for 10 minutes, but the social and emotional connections created with each other during this process enables our singers to bond and sing as one, rather than 20 individual voices.
What was a very special performance and what made it special?
Most recently, in December 2018 we performed in Nambour Plaza (at their Santa’s Event carols) and Sunshine Plaza (during the Christmas shopping period). These performances facilitated the Oriana Youth Choir to become a closer group; as well as spread joy to the community. It was very special seeing the different reactions to Christmas from not only our singers; but the community too.
A favourite piece of repertoire:
I not only try to select music that challenges our singers, but I also like to select repertoire that inspires them; and makes them live through music. We performed the piece ‘You Will Be Found’ from the Broadway musical Dear Evan Hansen. This song tells the story of teenage struggles and conveys the message that there is always someone to hold you up and help you during times of struggle. Watching how this song impacted each chorister emotionally; and watching them make connections to their everyday life, was a very emotional experience. Witnessing our choristers find meaning in music is a special thing.
A turning point in the life of your choir?
In 2013 the group was awarded 1st place at the Sunshine Coast Junior Eisteddfod. This was a moment of great achievement for a very young group of choristers and something we now aspire to achieving again.
A challenging performance and how you faced it.
The youth choir often performs with the Oriana Choir (the adult choir of Oriana Arts Inc). This can sometimes be a daunting experience for the children, but the excitement and pure joy of singing with the experienced adult choristers soon takes over from the nerves – and the children absolute love, and value, this unique performance experience!
Kirsten’s love for music has driven her to help young adults find their true passion for singing. Working with high school and primary school music students she has vast experience directing children’s choirs of all sizes (from 6 to 150+!) and across many genres. Kirsten’s love for singing stemmed from an early age singing in school and state choirs and musical theatre groups. She holds two Bachelor’s degrees in Music and Education and is thrilled to be Director of the Sunshine Coast Youth Choir; working with choristers, parents and members in the community for such a great cause – singing!