Congratulations Isla Houston on your selection and participation in the 2019 Gondwana National Choir at the University of New South Wales in January. This program brings together talented young singers, composers and conductors, between the ages of 10 and 25, from all over Australia, who undergo a challenging audition process, for an intensive and unforgettable two-week program in Sydney.
The six Gondwana Choirs are led by Australia’s leading choral conductors and composers. The National Choral School culminates in the Festival of Summer Voices – four consecutive days of exceptional public performances with some choirs continuing overseas throughout the year to places such as the UK, Germany, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.
Isla was selected to be a part of Gondwana Voices, Australia’s national children’s choir for treble singers aged 10-17. They regularly perform with the country’s leading ensembles and have built a reputation for performances of outstanding musicianship. Gondwana Voices is conducted by Gondwana Choirs Founder and Artistic Director Lyn Williams OAM and Mark O’Leary. Over the Choral School Isla learnt around twelve pieces of music and performed seven of them over the two concerts with the choir (many in different languages).
A range of special electives of musical interest were also on offer at National Choral School for choristers to participate in the two-week program. Isla chose the Community elective which was a group of around thirty treble singers aged about 14-17 from three different choirs. They learnt five songs over three rehearsals and then performed them on three occasions: the Chris O’Brien Lifehouse for cancer patients, the Starlight Room at the Sydney Children’s Hospital and the Montefiore Nursing Home. This was a rewarding and unforgettable experience for her. Isla said “it was an amazing to share the healing power of music and bring some joy. Also having the chance to mingle with the audiences and share experiences was wonderful.”