Yarrawonga Mulwala will welcome renowned Yorta Yorta soprano, composer and educator Deborah Cheetham AO and her Dhungala Children’s Choir to Yarrawonga Mulwala’s Festival of 1,000 Voices on March 10 and 11.
The unique festival, which potentially could have up to 1,000 singers from choirs from all over the region and Melbourne, will also be headlined by Dr Jonathon Welch AM, conductor and creator of the renowned ‘Choir of Hard Knocks’.
Deborah Cheetham is a recipient of the Order of Australia for her services to the Arts and Indigenous Artists, together with the 2013 Vocational Award from Rotary Melbourne. In March 2015, Deborah was inducted onto the Honour Roll of Women of Victoria.
She is devoted to the development of Indigenous Opera Singers. Ten years ago, she established the Short Black Opera Company, Australia’s National Indigenous Opera Company and a not-for-profit organisation.
Her first Indigenous Opera, “Pecan Summer”, was performed in 2016 at the Sydney Opera House. It became the first Indigenous opera to be presented at the Sydney Opera house and has since been performed Australia-wide.
The Reconciliation work, “Eumeralla, a Requiem for Peace” sung in the Gunditjmara language, had excerpts performed in 2017 at the Opening of Venice Biennale.
Deborah’s recitals have taken place in London, Paris, Rome, Singapore and many other places both locally and around the world.
Deborah will bring her renowned Dhungala Children’s Choir to Yarrawonga Mulwala.
Event Chairman Andrew Brown said the event is going to be a real spectacle and the local choir group; Lakeside Voices, are excited to bring this festival to Yarrawonga Mulwala.
“For inclusion in this festival, Deborah has taken the piece “Beneath the Wings of Bujil”, an excerpt from her opera “Eumeralla, a Requiem for Peace”, and rearranged it, for self-selected choir members from the festival to sing in the Yorta Yorta language, with Dhungala Children’s Choir, at the Sunday afternoon concert,” Andrew said.
Dhungala Children’s Choir is an award-winning ensemble for Indigenous children between the ages of 9 and 17.
For thousands of years the Yorta Yorta people have passed down their traditions, language, dreaming and culture through song. Dhungala Children’s Choir (DCC) is a continuation of this tradition.
Established in 2009 by Deborah Chetham DCC debuted in the SheppARTon festival with its performance of “Riversong”. They have since become a strong presence in Shepparton, Geelong and throughout Victoria.
Dhungala Children’s Choir now consists of members from around Australia, coming together regularly for high profile performances and the annual Dhungala Choral Program.
Members of DCC have appeared in Mooroopna, Melbourne, Perth and Adelaide, with Short Black Opera, Australia’s National Indigenous Opera Company. Their most recent performance at the Sydney Opera House in 2017, earned them an award in the Prestigious Broadway World Awards for Outstanding Performance by a Children’s Choir in the Sydney Opera House production of Deborah Cheetham’s “ Pecan Summer”.
“The gathering of many choirs towards the 1,000 Voices concept for the weekend is very unique,” Andrew said.
“This event would not be happening without the generous support of our major sponsors Club Mulwala and Across the Arts”.
For more information about the Festival of 1,000 Voices, contact Andrew Brown on 0414 397 802 or the Yarrawonga Mulwala Information Center on 5744 1989.