A Musical Journey Down Under

A Musical Journey Down Under

By Mrs Emily Leong, Teacher

Lilla Gillman-Wells (Year 8) participated in the Australian Girls Choir National Tour in September. She shares her tour experience below.

Lilla on tour in South Australia with the Australian Girls Choir

Can you tell us about your recent choir tour? Where did you go, and how long were you there?

I went on tour for two weeks in South Australia. We stayed in four places: Murray Bridge, Victor Harbor, Adelaide and Clare. We took part in a total of 11 workshops with primary and secondary schools, plus 11 concerts with a large repertoire of songs in a variety of languages, including Zulu, Latin and English.

What inspired you to join the choir in the first place, and how long have you been a member?

When the Canberra Branch of the Australian Girls Choir first opened, people would come to my primary school and hold auditions to try and get people to join. I joined in the Allegro class. I’ve been in this choir since it first opened in Canberra nearly seven years ago. Each rehearsal in the top level, Performing Choir, is two-and-a-half hours long, but because of the specialist group, it becomes four hours for me every Thursday, from 5-9 pm.

What were some of the songs that you performed on tour, and how did you prepare these?

Full list of songs:

  • Thulele Mama Ya
  • You’re The Voice
  • Partner In Crime
  • Gaudete
  • Under The Milky Way
  • Pain
  • I Still Call Australia Home
  • I Smile/Smile
  • Louder Than Words
  • Cup Of Life
  • Golden

In order to prepare, we had three separate, four-hour rehearsals in our home states/territories. We would practise these songs (some of which we already knew) and polish them, then go home and practise like crazy in between rehearsals.

What were the highlights of the choir tour for you?

Making so many new friends, travelling to places I’d never been to before, kayaking with one of my host families, getting a solo with a very close friend of mine, staying up late to gossip, and just generally having so many kind people around me.

What do you think you’ve gained from this choir tour experience that you will carry with you into the future?

I learnt how to be a lot more independent and also to be able to change any plans I have in the nick of time. Overall, it was one of the best experiences of my life, and I’m so glad I went on tour.

Lilla recorded a Swahili folk song, Thulele Mama Ya, earlier this semester, which conveys a message of solace and reassurance. She recorded each track individually using Garage Band and enjoyed learning new skills to achieve a polished sound in collaboration with Mr Kevin Knapp and Mr David Burcher. Thulele Mama Ya marks a milestone in Lila’s musical journey, offering insights into composition and musicality.