A group of young, indigenous choristers from Far North Queensland recently travelled to Vienna to join one of the world’s most famous boys’ choirs onstage and experience the world’s capital of music. Now the Gondwana Indigenous Children’s Choir (GICC) prepares to receive the Vienna Boys’ Choir (VBC) for a return visit to Australia to perform together at the iconic Sydney Opera House and on GICC’s home soil in Cairns.
The unique musical collaboration is titled Songs of My Country, and is an initiative of the Austrian National Tourist Office created in partnership with Gondwana Choirs. As well as uniting two choirs in performance, Songs of My Country presents a unique opportunity for cross-cultural exchange between two world-class ensembles. The collaboration enables the two choirs to bridge their diverse cultural heritage through a shared love of singing and performance.
“Bringing these young Australian singers and the VBC together also allows us to shine a light on Austria’s unparalleled cultural heritage and Vienna’s deserved reputation as the world’s capital of music”, says Astrid Mulholland-Licht, Director of the Austrian National Tourist Office in Sydney.
In May, 22 young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander choristers from GICC rehearsed and performed with the VBC in its esteemed concert venue, the MuTh. During their visit to Vienna, the children also had the chance to discover the city’s musical and cultural offerings, thanks to a range of experiences organised by the Vienna Tourist Board. “Visiting and performing in Vienna, the world capital of classical music, was a life-changing experience for the young singers – many who had never before travelled overseas, let alone performed in such revered venues,” says Lyn Williams OAM, Gondwana Choirs Founder and Artistic Director.
TheVBC is one of the oldest continuously performing institutions in Europe with a history dating back to 1498. It was founded as the boys’ choir of the Imperial Court and performed for the Habsburg Dynasty over many centuries. Many of Austria’s great composers including Joseph Haydn and Franz Schubert started their musical career as choir boys. Today there are 100 active choristers, divided into 4 concert choirs. Together they delight an audience of over half a million people per year, with 300 performances around the globe.
GICC represents one of the oldest continuous cultures on Earth. Founded in 2008, it gives voice to Australia’s indigenous youth, preserves and develops language with song, and provides a vehicle to build identity through collaboration with local elders and community.
Watch GICC perform with VBC for the first time below.
GICC and VBC are performing at the Sydney Opera House and Cairns Convention Centre this October.
For information on the Sydney show, visit sydneyoperahouse.com
For information on the Cairns show, visit ticketlink.com