The Song Company

Stories of a cappella

Thursday, May 21, 2015

First-time collaboration sees Australia’s leading vocal ensemble perform with Avondale vocal ensemble

A first time collaboration between Australia’s leading vocal ensemble and its equivalent at Avondale will celebrate the history and development of a cappella music.

Stories of A Cappella: The Concert will see The Song Company and The Promise perform classical, jazz and pop repertoire from a range of composers including Australia’s Martin Wesley-Smith, New Zealand’s Gareth Farr and Grammy Award-winners Pentatonix. Both ensembles will each perform a set before combining for three songs: an arrangement by Christian vocal jazz sextet Take 6 of Ralph Carmichael’s “A Quiet Place,” Wesley-Smith’s “The Fighters Who Fell” and “Waltzing Matilda.”

The Song Company approached The Promise after hearing the Avondale ensemble’s 2012 album Give Thanks. The Promise “has the skills and the capabilities to delve into more sophisticated a cappella arrangements,” says soprano Anna Fraser.

She and the five other members of the ensemble will also present two workshops for The Promise and others the day before the concert. “It’s rare for The Song Company, as an ensemble, to work with tertiary students in this way,” says bass Andrew O’Connor. “We’re looking to see what results will follow.”

So is The Promise’s artistic director Aleta King. Performing with The Song Company “will be a once-in-a-lifetime experience for some of our members, perhaps even the beginning of a future career as part of a professional vocal ensemble.”

Soprano Laura Green has performed with other artists such as multi-instrumentalists Adrian Cunningham and James Morrison in her four years as a member of The Promise “but I’ve never had the chance to collaborate with an a cappella ensemble. Many of us have been attending The Song Company’s concert series in Newcastle and I can’t believe we now get to sing alongside this experienced and talented group.”

You can, too. Stories of A Cappella: The Workshops is open to anyone. The first of the two workshops is an educational performance by The Song Company tracing the historical origins and development of a cappella singing. The second is a practical and interactive workshop about the voice.

“Music education is vital to the future of our art,” says O’Connor. “Many of my colleagues can point to a workshop or performance that made them think, Wow! I want to do that for the rest of my life. I first heard The Song Company at a workshop in Perth and that inspired me to continue my tertiary studies in opera and a cappella singing. Now I’m giving workshops with The Song Company. Never underestimate the power of performance to inspire your audience.”

Stories of A Cappella: The Concert, Ladies Chapel, Avondale College of Higher Education (Lake Macquarie campus), Saturday, May 30, 7 pm. Tickets from $40.

Stories of A Cappella: The Workshops, Ladies Chapel, Avondale College of Higher Education (Lake Macquarie campus), Friday, May 29, 11 am. Tickets from $70 (includes lunch).

Stories of A Cappella: The Concert Stories of A Cappella: The Workshops
Chloe Lwin

Chloe Lwin

Chloe is a Bachelor of Arts student at Avondale College of Higher Education.