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Haven - The Boite Millennium Chorus



Goanna band’s 1980s hit song Solid Rock performed in Pitjantjatjara by a 225-voice choir will be one of the many spine-tingling highlights of a most extraordinary and moving concert on Sunday 20th August at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre.

The Boîte Millennium Chorus will perform its 20th concert, ‘Haven’, bringing songs from the Seychelles, Africa, East Timor, Chile, the Caribbean and Indigenous Australia to thousands of Melburnians.

This year, the songs selected for the concert include works composed and sung in English, Mandinka, Tsonga, Seychellois, Spanish, Tetum and Indigenous Australian (Yolngu and Pitjantjatjara) languages.

Each song relates to the theme of ‘Haven’ through stories of seeking refuge and freedom, finding a home, falling in love, feeling safe, embracing change and nurturing hope.

In a massive undertaking, the hundreds of singers from Mallacoota in far east Victoria to Ballarat and Geelong in the west, from Albury-Wodonga in the north, Castlemaine, and the Mornington Peninsula and Melbourne in the south, gather for weekly rehearsals in their region for the three months leading up to the concert.

This concert celebrates the work of seven outstanding directors—Andrea Khoza, Jane Thompson, James Rigby, Stella Savy, Carl Pannuzzo, Penny Larkins and Geoffrey Williams—brought together under the guidance of Boîte director Roger King. The concert will also feature notable soloists and musicians from diverse backgrounds: Mitch Tambo, Jess Hitchcock, Sally Ford, Lamine Sonko, Darrel Belle, and Valanga Khoza.

Master storyteller, writer, human rights activist and much-loved Melbourne narrator, Arnold Zable will complement the concert with his insightful and surprising stories reflecting on the notion of ‘haven’.

The repertoire includes the driving African-American gospel song Freedom Road, the gentle Mai Fali Eh, a Timorese song that calls children home at sunset, and Dr G Yunupingu’s sublime Marrandil, about running out to the tidal mud flats to catch shell fish. Our Home Our Land is Lou Bennett’s anthem to country, to the land that nurtures us. Aladji, a West African song, sings of the importance of music, and uniting in our humanity. Chilean song Todo Cambia—“everything changes”—exhorts the listener to embrace life’s vagaries. Shane Howard’s anthem to Indigenous strength and fortitude, Solid Rock, features a rousing final two choruses sung in Pitjantjatjara, declaring that “we are standing in the most sacred place… we have been standing the wrong way… the wind is blowing stronger… now we are standing the right way.”

The Boîte Millennium Chorus started in 1999 as a one-off major celebration to usher in the 2000s and highlight the work of The Boîte in bringing culturally diverse music and musicians to Australian audiences. It was so successful, and the audience response so overwhelmingly positive, that The Boîte arranged another concert the following year. Since then the massed choir has grown to become the most popular, anticipated and well-attended concert in The Boîte’s packed world music event calendar.

Audiences, critics and choir members alike are incredibly moved by the performances, and unanimous in their praise. Comments include: “I feel privileged to have been a part of something so meaningful and joyous. I believe the world is a better place when we sing…”, “The choir stood and their first note literally sent shivers up my arm…”, and “An incredibly uplifting atmosphere… the voices of 300 Australians raised harmoniously…”
About The Boîte Millennium Chorus

The Boîte Millennium Chorus is a major community engagement project that creates opportunities for Victorian singers and audiences of all ages to participate in a large-scale arts event. The project is socially inclusive and accessible to people of all genders, ethnicities and abilities. The regional choir program ensures that singers from across the state can learn repertoire, engage with other cultures within Melbourne's community and from across the world, as well as perform in a grand concert at a prestigious venue. It addresses the human need to participate in the arts and storytelling, celebrates Australia's cultural diversity, and supports the wealth of musical talent in our community.

The Chorus aims to support the work of new and existing choirs, musicians and professional choir leaders in regional and metropolitan Victoria. It creates access to an array of highly skilled choir leaders and artists from diverse cultural backgrounds. All repertoire has been commissioned by the Boîte and arranged specifically for this project.
The Boîte Millennium Chorus is supported by Creative Victoria.

Web Link: Haven - The Boite Millennium Chorus Link opens in new browser window





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