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Music for Royal Occasions

Over the centuries, some of the finest choral music has been composed to celebrate coronations, weddings and funerals of members of the British Royal Family. This recital of famous and less well-known items will be a suitable prelude to the Coronation of His Majesty, King Charles III, a few hours later.  Join us for this festive celebration and feel especially patriotic!

Saturday 6th May at 2:30pm
All Saints Church, Cnr Noble and Talbot Sts Newtown

Music for Royal Occasions



The Choral Grapevine
Music for Royal Occasions

Entertainment Geelong
Music For Royal Occasions sung by The Geelong Chorale
It might have been seen as a bold move byGeelong’s senior choir to schedule this concert on Coronation Day – the biggest Royal occasion.
It could have contributed to a day of regal overload, but in the event our television companies did this by each providing identical coverage – while this Chorale concert allowed us a preview of what was to provide the best part of the coronation ceremony itself – the music.
Not that this church concert was all crowning anthems and fanfares; for in selecting his material, the Chorale’s musical director and conductor, Allister Cox, had widened the choice to include music written for Royal weddings, funerals and other occasions. But it was coronations that provided the majority – and the most stirring – of the afternoon’s songs.
The concert began with Hubert Parry’s I Was Glad, a rousing intro which backed the choir with strident organ chords played by Ken George with all the stops out.
This was followed and contrasted by William Child’s O Lord Grant The King a Long Life, a gentle, pretty tune with Ken joining the Chorale to sing it a capella.
Then followed a different element again, as piano accompanist Kristine Mellens joined for Samual Sebastian Wesley’s Thou Wilt Keep Him In Perfect Peace. As always with Chorale concerts, Allister provided short helpful commentaries to explain the works and illustrate their purposes. Thus we were told of William H Harris’s Holy is the True Light, then the respectful funeral rites of Henry Purcell’s short trio of Funeral Sentences, Man That Is Born Of Woman and Thou Knows, Lord.  Keeping to the theme came Edward Elgar’s They are at Rest, before Johannes Brahms’ lyrical How Lovely is Thy Dwelling. Then the Chorale’s bass singers quietly retreated to the very back of the church to provide a moving deep drone to back John Tavener’s lovely Song For Athene which was followed by a song chosen for the funeral of Elizabeth II James MacMillan’s Who Shall Separate Us? sung in eight-part harmony.
This led to a song for a very different occasion, John Rutter’s This Is The Day was previously sung at the wedding of William, Prince of Wales to Catherine Middleton.
It was followed by another stirring anthem, the Proms favourite Jerusalem, sung with gusto by the whole church audience with Ken George back at the organ before a final Royal flourish, George Frederick Handel’s Zadok, the Priest, accompanied by Patrycja Radzi-Stewart solo violin to appropriately close the concert.
Later this song was delivered by a much larger and more prestigious choir, used as a high point when King Charles III was screened and anointed with oils in Westminster Abbey.
I doubt the sovereign would have known it had been preempted five hours earlier in the city which contributed part of his education – but I’m sure that he and the other Royals would have approved. Because this concert made a fine contribution to a memorable occasion.

– Colin Mockett

Concerts for 2023

The Geelong Chorale are delighted to announce our programme for 2023 and we hope to see you at our concerts.

Music for Royal Occasions – Saturday 6th May, 2:30pm, All Saints Church, Cnr Noble and Talbot Sts Newtown 3220

Mozart Requiem – Sunday 20th August, 2:30pm, Wesley Uniting Church, 100 Yarra St Geelong 3220

Christmas Concert – Saturday 9th December, 5pm, All Saints Church, Cnr Noble and Talbot Sts Newtown 3220

The Very Best Time of Year

This year, our Christmas concert featured the carols of John Rutter. Born in 1945, Rutter is considered to be the most celebrated and popular composer of Christmas music alive today. His music displays influences of the English and French choral traditions of the 20th century as well as light music and American classic songwriting. A review in the London Evening Standard said, “For the infectiousness of his melodic invention and consummate craftsmanship, Rutter has few peers”. The Geelong Chorale performed a selection of his best known original compositions along with some of his masterful arrangements. There were also other popular carols, some with audience participation.

Saturday 10th December 2022 5pm
All Saints’ Church, Cnr Noble and Talbot Sts Newtown


Entertainment Geelong
Rutter and Kookaburras – a beaut Chorale Christmas Celebration

The Very Best Time Of The Year presented by The Geelong Chorale conductor Allister Cox, December 10, All Saints’ Church, Newtown.
Each year since the mid 20th Century, the Geelong Chorale has staged a Christmas concert in a suitably elegant and acoustically pleasing local venue. For many years this was the Geelong Gallery but for the past decade or so, the annual event has been held in Newtown’s All Saints Church. Every concert has been different and eclectic but with common themes. You won’t hear songs about Santa, reindeer or jingling bells at a Geelong Chorale Christmas concert. You’re much more likely to be taken back to celebrations from Yule times of yore. You’ll also get a glimpse of how the season is celebrated internationally.
This year, the Chorale’s musical director, Allister Cox, chose to feature the carols of a living composer, John Rutter. An Englishman born in 1945, Rutter is considered to be the most celebrated and popular composer of Christmas music alive today. He’s particularly popular in America. His music carries influences of English and French choral traditions as well as from America’s light music songbooks.
The Chorale dedicated the entire first half of this concert to his works, then, following a short interval, presented a mix of Carols old and new, with an invitation for the audience to join them.
The concert’s overall title The Very Best Time Of The Year was lifted from the first song, a sweet, lyrical opening introduction to Rutter’s composition skills. The 30+ Chorale voices blended lyrically to present it with a high Geelong polish that continued through the entire concert. The second piece, Shepherds’ Pipe Carol, was a jaunty air featuring the Chorale’s tenor voices, while the next, What Sweeter Music, featured the soprano section who were, indeed, sweet. Then followed the first of five songs that Rutter had not written, but arranged for the group that he founded, the world renowned Cambridge Singers.
The French Carol Born To Earth, the Divine Christ Child was followed by a Cornish traditional piece Sans Day Carol – instantly recognisable as the more familiar The Holly And The Ivy.
A Little Child on the Earth Has Been Born was set to a traditional Flemish melody and Quem Pastores Laudavere a 14th Century German carol sung in Latin.
These were themselves arranged around John Rutter’s own Nativity Carol and neatly topped off with his bright and cheerful Star Carol.
The concert’s second half Carols Old And New alternated well-known Christmas songs – where the audience was invited to sing along – with some well-chosen new works.
It began with the standard O Come All Ye Faithful, nicely delivered by the Chorale, though we audience were a little bashful. The new work that followed, O Magnum mysterium was a solemn 1994 piece written in Latin by Morten Lauridsen. It was followed by the traditional The First Nowell, again neatly delivered by the Chorale, with tentative audience participation. The Angels and the Shepherds was next, a traditional Bohemian favourite that was much loved by Chorale tenor Milena Idris when she was a child, according to conductor Allister Cox’s introduction. Then, before the next traditional piece, Good King Wenceslas, he told of the song’s controversial beginnings, of how it began as a traditional European Spring celebration song that was appropriated and reworked to become a Christmas staple much to the annoyance of purists. This brought an immediate audience response as we found our voices to match the Chorale and deliver a rousing version.
Then followed a lyrical German piece Susanni (Lullaby) then Silent Night, Holy Night, a stirring Hark The Herald Angels Singbefore the afternoon’s finale, a modern Australian song by Matthew Orlovich, If Christ had been born in another time which posed the questions ‘If Mary and Joseph had travelled through the Australian outback, would there have been no room in the pub?’ ‘Would they have been turned away while drovers and stockmen jostled the bar toasting the end of the day?’ And ‘Would the Wise Men have brought gifts of perfume and oil from the eucalypt tree or gold from a river’s bed?’
The writer called for this song to be opened and closed with the sound of Kookaburras, a challenge which the Chorale joyfully accepted to bring their 2023 Christmas concert to a unique – and delightful – conclusion.

– Colin Mockett

The Very Best Time of Year

The Very Best Time of Year

St John Passion – JS Bach

As part of the Windfire Festival Program The Geelong Chorale is pleased to join the Windfire Choir in presenting

St John Passion by JS Bach

Joseph Hie, Conductor
Robert Macfarlane, Evangelist,
Adrian Tamburini, Christus
Henry Choo, tenor,
Lee Abrahmsen, soprano
Danielle O’Keefe, mezzo soprano,
Tom Healey, baritone
Windfire Choir and the Geelong Chorale and orchestra

Friday 7 October 2022 7:30 PM – 9:45 PM

The Basilica of St Mary of the Angels
136 Yarra Street, Geelong Victoria 3220


St John Passion: Windfire Festival opening concert – Friday, 7th October, 2022


2022 SJP A4 SJP poster



Around the World in 80 Minutes

Sunday 10th July 2022 at 2:30pm in All Saints Church, Noble Street

Having been delayed in making this overseas journey for the past two years, we are were delighted to finally present “Around the World in Eighty Minutes”
Although restrictions have generally eased, overseas travel still remains a challenge.
So come on an overseas journey with us, no need to check in or stand at the luggage carousel, as we take you on an epic journey via the world’s treasury of folk songs.

Allister Cox OAM

All Saints Church, Cnr Noble St and Talbot St, Newtown, Sunday 10th July at 2:30pm

Tickets $35|$30 concession


The Choral Grapevine review

Entertainment Geelong review

Around the World in 80 Minutes

Around the World in 80 Minutes

Around the World in 80 Minutes

Vaughan Williams – A Life in Music

2022 marks the 150th anniversary of the birth of one of England’s finest composers. In a long and productive life, hardly a music genre has been left untouched or failed to be enriched by Vaughan Williams’s work. We will mark this significant milestone with a selection of his finest choral music.

Amelia Wawrzon, soprano
Syrah Torii, mezzo soprano
Ben Glover, tenor
James Emerson, baritone
Ken George, organ
Kristine Mellens, piano
The Geelong Chorale
Allister Cox, conductor

Sunday 15th May at 2:30pm
All Saints Church
Cnr Noble & Talbot Streets, Newtown, Geelong


Colin Mockett Entertainment Geelong https://entertainmentgeelong.com/reviews-2/

Choral grapevine https://thechoralgrapevine.wordpress.com/2022/05/16/vaughan-williams-a-life-in-music-sunday-may-15th-2022/

Vaughan Williams flyer

Upcoming concerts

The Geelong Chorale are pleased to announce that we are in rehearsal again and will present a feast of singing in three major concerts this year.

Our first concert will celebrate the 150th anniversary of the birth of Ralph Vaughan Williams, the quintessential English composer of the 20th century. For this concert we will be joined by four soloists to present a selection of some of his finest choral music: grand anthems, partsongs, folksongs, and movements from the Mass in G minor. Sunday 15th May at 2:30pm in All Saints Church, Noble Street.

Having been delayed in making any overseas journey for the past two years, we are delighted that we can finally present “Around the World in Eighty Minutes”: a veritable whistle-stop tour of many countries via the world’s treasury of folksongs. Sunday 10th July at 2:30pm in All Saints Church, Noble Street.

In October we will combine with Music at the Basilica’s Windfire Choir to present the monumental ‘St John Passion” by J.S. Bach. This moving work has rarely, if ever, been performed in Geelong. First-class soloists and orchestra will accompany the combined choir, all conducted by Joseph Hie.

Concerts for 2020

POSTPONED – from Sunday May 3 to a date to be determined

Brahms – A German Requiem
Brahms’ beautiful German Requiem performed with the accompaniment in his own arrangement for piano 4 hands.

CANCELLED – Sunday August 16 at 2.30pm

Around the World in Eighty Minutes.
A veritable world tour with folksongs of many nationalities followed by a multicultural afternoon tea.

CANCELLED – Saturday December 5 at 5pm

Christmas Through the Ages
A selection of Advent and Christmas music spanning four centuries

Singing the Classics 2020

The program for this year is

  • CANCELLED – Sunday 5 April Tom Healey, Dvorak Mass in D with Terry Norman
  • Sunday 12 July Anne Pilgrim, Beethoven Mass in C with John Bumford
  • Sunday 4 October Allister Cox (G&S)

All sessions are from 2-5pm at St Luke’s Uniting Church, Highton.

Bookings are essential because we have to hire music and plan afternoon tea. Book by email at pandapilgrim@gmail.com or phone 0412 524 316

Magnificat – Music to Celebrate Christmas

The Geelong Chorale’s Christmas concert this year featured works by two great English composers: Fantasia on Christmas Carols by Ralph Vaughan Williams and John Rutter’s supremely engaging Magnificat. There was also be a chance to hear two rarely performed Christmas chorales from Vaughan Williams’ cantata, Hodie. The Geelong Chorale was once again be joined by The Geelong Handbell Choir, directed by Gwyn Gillard. Soloists for the concert are Fiona Squires, soprano, and Rodney Dearing, baritone, with piano accompaniment by Kristine Mellens.

Saturday 7 December, 5pm

All Saints Church, Cnr Noble Street and Talbot Street, Newtown 3220