Raising voices for community harmony

Choir members smile as they celebrate MYC's 35th anniversary.

By Kerry Alexander*

The choristers were feverishly excited. A strong community spirit prevailed. The atmosphere was lively.

On Saturday 2 April, Berwick based Melbourne Youth Chorale (MYC) joined The Velvetones and Daughters of the King (DOTK) in Clyde to raise voices for community harmony in celebration of MYC’s 35 years.

MYC was established by the late Jean Heriot, OAM, whose belief has become MYC’s motto – “Every child deserves the gift of music”.

the Chorale was proud to honour Mrs Heriot’s legacy on Saturday night by sharing the gift of music.

MYC’s Musical Directors Caitlyn Bosch and Simon Loveless are both MYC alumni, as are DOTK’s Artistic Director Leah Bosch and The Velvetones’ Claire Patti.

Working together was a perfect way to promote community harmony through music and celebrate the history of MYC.

“It was a delightful community event and my whole family had a ball. The combination of performers was perfectly fabulous,” shared Elizabeth Carrick.

Jazz quartet The Velvetones kicked off the event with a community workshop, teaching an arrangement of The Andrews Sisters song ’Gimme Some Skin’ which was performed later in the evening.

Working and performing with musicians of such calibre was a unique privilege.

Eight-year-old MYC chorister Zoe Alexander, said she “loved the way The Velvetones taught that whole song so quickly.“

“That time was all I needed to completely learn the song and it was so fun,” she said.

The evening concert began with an impressive premiere performance of Juliana Kay’s commissioned ’Friendship Song’ performed by all MYC’s choirs, choristers aged six to 17 years old.

Ms Kay was a guest presenter at MYC’s Children’s Day event in 2021 and encouraged choristers to share their thoughts and feelings about friendship, which she then used as inspiration for the Friendship Song.

The choristers themselves created the body percussion.

It’s a very special song.

MYC [resident Kerry Alexander said she’s proud of the hard work the teachers and choristers have put in this term, pulling together and polishing songs from online learning through lockdown as well as learning two brand new whole-choir songs.

For many choristers this was a first performance.

“My son was so proud to be performing in front of an audience – he’s only little but he was prepared so well and he was full of confidence. A great experience for him,” said mum Elizabeth Carrick.

As well as showcasing MYC’s choirs, The Velvetones and Daughters of the King added colour and pizzaz to the show.

The concert wound up with a premiere performance of Claire Patti’s commissioned song ’The Gift of Music’ which involved choristers from MYC and DOTK as well as past choristers and teachers.

The Gift of Music is a song of celebration, beautifully capturing the spirit of the choir over its 35 years.

Huge thanks to City of Casey for sponsoring the event, and a massive thank you to the audience.

MYC is a charity and offers the gift of music on a donate what you can afford basis.

We depend on community support to be able to function.

We look forward to joining with you to continue offering the gift of music to children – and the community – into the future.

*Kerry Alexander is president of the Melbourne Youth Chorale