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The Montague Choristers are a non-auditioning choir who have been bringing wonderful music to the Narooma and Bermagui regions for over 20 years. The choristers were originally formed as an offshoot of the Montague Art and Craft Society (MACS) for those members and/or their partners who wanted to meet together and sing; membership of either group open to anyone who could see Montague Island.
Val Brown, with her love of singing, and whose husband Charles was actively involved with MACS, volunteered to lead the new group which was soon presenting concerts of sacred music and light favourites. With time the challenges of the works presented grew and in 1991 the Choristers staged “The Pirates of Penzance” by Gilbert and Sullivan, the first of many stage shows.
In 2002 when Val and Charles moved north, Emeritus Professor Bill Hawkey became the Music Director of the Montague Choristers. Under Bill’s guidance the choristers now present a series of concerts each year: two by the choristers, sometimes combining with the Merimbula based choir the Nomads, also under Bill’s baton, and five by Visiting Artists of a very high calibre.
The Montagues sing a wide range of choral music including part-songs, Gilbert and Sullivan operettas, and major choral works as in Haydn’s Creation, Mendelssohn’s Elijah and Handel’s Messiah. Choristers are encouraged to also contribute as soloists where appropriate.
Rehearsals are held in the Anglican Church Hall on Mondays, at 7.30pm.
2005 saw a new development with the formation of the Montague Choristers junior Choir and Cantabile Ensemble for women’s voices, both under the direction of Christina Coull.
The Music Director of the Montague Choristers is New Zealand born Emeritus Professor William (Bill) Hawkey. Retiring in 1999 from the position of Director and Professor of Music at the Australian National University, Bill had a distinguished career in music as an educator, administrator, orchestral and choral conductor, composer , pianist and organist. Bill founded, and conducted the Canberra Community Choir for 10 years ; in New Zealand he had been the long-term music conductor of the Christchurch Harmonic Choir. He is still sought after around Australia as an adjudicator for Eisteddfods.
His favorite motto for his choirs is “the 3 E’s: enjoy, educate and entertain.”
Tickets for each concert are available from Bazaar Home Beautiful, Narooma, The Pineapple House, Bermagui and at the door.
Adults $20, Concessions $15, Students $10 and accompanied Primary school aged children free.
Great savings can be made by purchasing 4 Subscription Series tickets for the sum of $50 which can be used at any concert during the 2008 Series or all 4 at the one. Subscription Tickets can be obtained by completing the application form available from the outlets or by contacting 44763059 or 44737541 and forwarding the form, with payment, to The Montague Choristers Inc, PO Box 460 Narooma.