Rosemeadow choir helps indigenous youths connect to culture

Ellie, Campbelltown Gondwana Indigenous Choir
Ellie, Campbelltown Gondwana Indigenous Choir

They’ve performed with the likes of Jessica Mauboy, Christine Anu and even the lake Dr G Yunupingu but many people have never even heard of them.

The Campbelltown Gondwana Indigenous Children’s Choir, based at Rosemeadow, has been in operation since 2013.

Associate conductor Liz Vierboom said the choir was a great way for local indigenous youths – treble singers from year 4 to year 12 – to connect with their culture.

“We sing in indigenous languages, including the Dharawal language,” she said.

“Most of the kids have never spoken in language before so it really allows them to connect more with their culture and learn about their mob.

“Recently we had one young girl go home and talk to her grandmother about the choir.

“Her grandma sang her a song in language which she brought back to us and we all learnt it.”

Ms Vierboom said kids didn’t need to have any prior experience with singing as they would be taught all they needed to know.

Choristers have travelled to Sydney Opera House, NSW Parliament House and even Uluru to perform.

“We’re a well-travelled choir,” Ms Vierboom said.

“The kids gain so much confidence from the choir.

“We have kids that are now excelling academically with music or have left the choir and gone on to study music after high school.

“It’s so wonderful to see kids that came to us with little to no confidence suddenly blossom.”

The local choir is a branch of the national group, which also has a hub in Cairns.

The most exceptional singers will be called up to perform with the national group.

Ms Vierboom said Gondwana was also having a positive impact in the community.

“We’re providing kids with another after-school option that’s not just sport,” she said.

“We have some fantastic athletes in our choir and they know they have rehearsals on Tuesday and training another time in the week.

“We also often get locals opening their windows to listen to the kids singing, or coming along to help out with making sandwiches and providing fruit.”

Ms Vierboom said the choir was about “genuine, good-quality music” and the choristers worked extremely hard every week to achieve “excellence”.

“People are blown away by just how good they are,” she said.

With several of last year’s members moving out of the area, the Campbelltown Gondwana Indigenous Choir is currently short on numbers.

Ms Vierboom would ideally love to see the group of 15 double in size.

Anyone interested in joining the choir – which provides musical training at no cost to indigenous youths – should visit gondwana.org.au/welcome-to-gicc.

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