Dawn Chorus

My choir has some interesting performances coming up in January. For the next four Saturdays we’re doing dawn performances (5.30am starts) on beaches around Sydney, as part of the annual Sydney Festival: Dawn Chorus (scroll down)

Singing on the sand, barefoot and wearing shorts and t shirts should make a pleasant change from our standard, formal black tie get up.

Let’s just hope it doesn’t rain.

That sounds lovely. I hope the weather is good!

We had our final rehearsal this morning, in situ, on Balmoral Beach. It was overcast, and somewhat cool for a Sydney summer’s morning. At least I now know that I need to bring a torch (for the period before sunrise) and some insect repellent.

As always with outdoor singing, it took a while to get the right balance. It’s so hard to judge the dynamics when you can’t get any feedback. But it all seemed to come together reasonably well eventually. By the end of the rehearsal we had quite a large crowd of neighbours, exercisers, early morning swimmers, dog walkers and general passers-by.

Having been up since 3.30, I now feel like having a good long nap.

How does the sand and water effect the acoustics?


Wow. That sounds like an amazing experience. In bocca al’lupo!

The sand seemed to muffle the sound a bit. I’m not sure about the water. Overall though the acoustic was generally not good. I could hear only the singers very close to me. Nobody else. But people who were listening from 10-20m away said that the sound was travelling pretty well.

My daughter will be listening at Balmoral tomorrow!

(mental note - add insect repellent to list)

That’s great Mame. I hope she enjoys it.

Yes, most definitely. The mozzies were very active this morning.

It all went off very well this morning. Lovely weather, and the sun rising mid-way through the performance. We were absolutely staggered by the size of the crowd. Most of us thought we’d be lucky to draw more than a hundred or so. I think we got at least two thousand. At the end we had to move further down the beach and do an encore performance for those who were so far away that they weren’t able to hear clearly.

I think the Sydney Festival has a hit on its hands. The next three Saturday mornings should be interesting.

OK, I wasn’t there. My daughter was, with a couple of friends and a parent who took them all. The feedback?

Wow - it’s just amazing that the human voice can do that!
So impressive.
Worth getting up for!

All comments were positive, other than one comment that none of the music was cheerful, and it would have been good to have one upbeat thing.

So for the group of them, it was 8 thumbs up. :smiley:

So well done that choir!

I agree Mame. We choristers made much the same complaint about the choice of music.

There’s some footage here of the ABC News broadcast about our first performance: Dawn Chorus

We had the third performance yesterday morning. With sunrise gradually getting later each week, it’s getting increasingly difficult in the dark to see the music for the first few pieces. We’re just having to do them from memory.

The crowds have continued to grow. I’d say we got about four thousand yesterday. The Festival organisers have now increased their estimate for next week at Bondi to ten thousand.

Some good youtube clips of our various performances:

O Magnum Mysterium

I do Like to be beside the seaside