History of the ACC
Founded in 1976, The Australian Children’s Choir is widely regarded as one of the finest mixed-voice children’s choirs in Australia. Based in Melbourne, and consisting of some 200 boys and girls aged 6-18 in five different training ensembles, the choir has developed a strong reputation for its refined performances, varied repertoire and the production of fine young musicians, many of whom have gone on to pursue successful musical careers.
The choir is under the Artistic Direction of Andrew Wailes, widely acknowledged as one of Australia’s leading choral directors. The ACC has made regular international tours, to countries including England, Hong Kong, Wales, the USA and Canada, Czech Republic, Austria, New Zealand and China. Although based in Melbourne, the choir regularly tours throughout Australia, having also performed in Sydney, Newcastle, Adelaide, and Canberra as well as extensively throughout regional and country Victoria.
In 2010 the choir toured regional Victoria, performing a number of concerts in Bushfire affected areas such as Bendigo, Ballarat, Castlemaine, Healesville and Wangaratta following a major grant from the Lord Mayor’s Charitable Foundation to commemorate the Black Saturday Victorian Bushfire tragedy. A new CD of new music especially commissioned to mark the tradgedy has also been recorded.
In 2011 the ACC toured Europe, where they received a prestigious invitation to be the feature choir at an International Festival of Children’s Choirs in England. The tour of Germany and Austria culminated in services and concert performances in England with the Virtuosi Orchestra of London at Canterbury and Southwark Cathedrals, as part of the International Festival of Children’s Choirs. The Choir appeared in European Cities including Frankfurt am Main, Bad Wiessee, Heidelberg, Nuremberg, Munich, and Salzburg.
With over 30 years of high profile performances behind it, The ACC regularly appears in concert with many of Melbourne’s leading musical ensembles, including the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, Royal Melbourne Philharmonic, Royal Australian Naval Band, and the Victorian Police Showband. Past concert highlights have included Mahler’s 8th Symphony with the MSO under conductor Markus Stenz, numerous performances with the Royal Melbourne Philharmonic and conductor Andrew Wailes such as Stravinsky’s Symphony of Psalms and Orff’s Carmina Burana, as well as featured appearances at the nationally televised Australian Film Industry Awards Ceremony, and the 2004 AFL Grand Final. The choir has also made regular TV appearances, and with the legendary Rock band Kiss and the MSO at the Telstra Dome (globally released on CD and DVD). In 2007 the choir participated in some twenty performances of Tchaikovsky’s Ballet The Nutcracker, with The Australian Ballet and Orchestra Victoria at the State Theatre. The ACC has recently hosted visits to Melbourne by choirs from the USA, Canada, Denmark, New Zealand, Finland and Hong Kong.
The choir has produced four CDs, “Leave No Song Unsung”, (nominated for an Australian Music Centre award for best choral recording) featuring songs from Australia and around the world, “Christmas Lullaby”, featuring music for the Festive Season, “Like a Rainbow” featuring songs of joy and inspiration, and most recently “Fire in the Heavens” to commemorate the Black Saturday Bushfire disaster. These recordings have been featured on radio broadcasts, on both ABC Classic FM and 3MBS FM.
The ACC is also in demand at Christmastime, providing the music for a number of Melbourne’s leading carols by candlelight concerts, and regularly performing in the highly popular “Carols in the Cathedral” concerts with the Royal Melbourne Philharmonic at St Paul’s Cathedral. Leading artists the choir has appeared with in recent years include ACC Patron Judith Durham, Julie Anthony, Marina Prior, Marcia Hines, Delta Goodrem, Rove Mcmanus, David Hobson and Damien Leith. Past recordings include John Farnham’s Whispering Jack Album, and the smash hit You’re the Voice, as well as numerous recordings ranging from folk music and commercials to movie soundtracks. In 2010 the choir recorded music at the Melbourne Recital Centre with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, for the Australian Pavillion at the World Expo in Shanghai. The choir also appeared on the debut album of the band “Jetty Road”, which later won best independent single (“The World Keeps Turning”) and the Best New Album awards at the Australian Independent Music Awards. Another recording was a new version of Advance Australia Fair with Judith Durham. Other recent concert performances include J.S. Bach’s St Matthew Passion with the Melbourne Bach Choir, Orff’s Carmina Burana, and David Fanshawe’s African Sanctus (with the Royal Melbourne Philharmonic) as well as Irish Songs of Praise concerts at Melbourne Town Hall, and the Melbourne premiere of Gordon Kerry’s Requiem Tropes at St Paul’s Cathedral as part of the Melbourne University Choral Society’s 70th anniversary celebrations.
Other appearances have included the Melbourne International Fashion festival at BMW Edge and concerts for the Salvation Army, Rotary, the Victoria Police Showband at the Police Academy, carols performances at The Australian Club, the RACV Club, at the City of Stonnington, City of Yarra and City of Banyule’s Carols by Candlelight concerts, and performances at Federation Square, the Regent Theatre, National Gallery of Victoria, Federation Square, and Melbourne Town Hall. In 2010 the choir appeared at the MCG, performing a 40 minute recital in front of some 10,000 people, as part of the largest Australian Citizenship ceremony ever held. In 2010 regional performances included concerts at the Castlemaine Art Gallery, Sacred Heart Cathedral in Bendigo, St Patricks Cathedral Ballarat, the Wangaratta Performing Arts Centre, and at Healesville Sanctuary.
The young singers who comprise the senior performing ensemble of the Australian Children’s Choir meet twice a week to rehearse outside school hours, and must demonstrate a high degree of musical ability, personal organization and concentration to become proud wearers of the ACC’s distinctive green uniforms. In return, they receive a solid musical education under the guidance of some of the nation’s leading musical educators, and many wonderful musical and social experiences, and take on the role of cultural ambassadors for both the ACC and their country.