Newfoundland, Canada – first encounter

Back in 2003, I took my choir Voiceworks (part of the then Queensland Youth Choir) to St John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador, to participate in Festival 500, Sharing the Voices. Festival 500 was a non-competitive event, but choirs were required to go through an audition process and had to be invited to participate in this Festival. We were all very chuffed when we found out that Voiceworks had been invited to come all the way from Australia to participate. During the week of the Festival we were given the opportunity to perform and participate in various concerts, workshops, clinics and masterclasses – all delivered by world leaders including Rajaton, Bobby McFerrin and Stephen Hatfield.

For all of us, Festival 500 was a thoroughly enjoyable and memorable event that remains firmly etched in our memories, along with the amazing hospitality of our hosts; the quaint, small-town charm of St John’s; and the spectacular scenery of the surrounding countryside.

The Singing Network

And now, this amazing part of the world has spawned yet another singing/choral music event – The Singing Network.

The Singing Network was established late last year at Memorial University of Newfoundland (MUN) by Professor Ki Adams and Dr. Andrea Rose. The Network aims to stimulate and provide programs and experiences for the development and innovation of singing and use of the voice in all contexts.

It is seen as the starting point for creating and building what will become an international network of individuals and organizations interested in singing and song: scholars, performing artists, educators, students, as well as professional and community-based musicians organisations and associations. The Network will generate and produce a series of voice-singing-choral events ranging through workshops, seminars, master-classes, performances, dialogues, the formation of new ensembles. A major focus of The Singing Network will be a biennial international Symposium on Singing and Song.

International Circle of Advisors

At the recent ACDA Conference in Salt Lake City I was again able to renew acquaintances with many of my choral music colleagues from around the world, including Ki Adams whom I have known since my initial visit to St John’s in 2003. Ki was very excited to be able to tell me about the impending launch of The Singing Network project, and I was very excited about the fact that I was being invited to be the Australian representative on The Singing Network’s International Circle of Advisors.

Symposium on Singing and Song 2015

The inaugural Symposium on Singing and Song, to be held in St John’s from 1-4 October 2015, will bring together scholars, performers and pedagogues, representing diverse disciplines, to share international perspectives, research and practices associated with singing and song. Headlining the Symposium will be Keynote Presenters Ēriks Ešenvalds (Latvia), Karmina Šilec (Slovenia), Karen Brunssen (USA), Dr Julia Davids (Canada) and Br Patrick Freer (USA).

I’m in. Join Us!

I would encourage you all, especially my North American colleagues who are close by, to check out The Singing Network and what it has to offer to singing and choral music. If you’re interested in presenting – submissions close on 15 May 2015, so you’d best be quick.