Building friendships, passing musical skills, minding our manners, having fun and SINGING! What’s not to love about Weekend Workshops with the Australian Boys Choir?
Over 150 boys from all of the Choir’s junior training groups, along with a team of 13 parents who had been carefully selected as volunteer Carers, assembled at Choir House at the crack of dawn on Saturday morning for our October Weekend Workshop.
After the super efficient sign-in procedure, the buses were loaded and the boys and Carers were on their way.
Residential camps are an essential component of the ABCI’s training program. Weekend Workshops are held every May and October, and the Choir hosts its annual Summer School in January. These camps provide the opportunity for intensive musical training – attending Summer School is equivalent to completing a full term of work! But it is the development of friendships, independence and life skills that make these camps so important.
Mastering the art of making your own bed with a fitted sheet. Learning the importance of resting your voice during Quiet Time. Helping to wipe down tables after meals. Following a packing list to pack your own suitcase and keeping track of your belongings. Spending time away from your family (and learning to cope with the occasional bout of homesickness). Getting to know the other boys. These skills are all vitally important preparation for touring with the choir.
And the friendships made on choir camps and tours often endure well beyond the boys’ time with the choir.
There are a number of different ways that we measure a camp’s success. The number of musical skills passed (xxx over this weekend). Significant development of musical pieces being prepared for performance (we suggest you buy your tickets for the Christmas concerts quickly because the boys are sounding terrific!). But most important of all is when the buses return to Choir House full of tired, happy boys and Carers!
Special thanks to our fabulous Caring team, led by the indefatigable Nicole Hoskin, for achieving all of these goals and more.
What did the boys enjoy most about camp?
Kabir: “I enjoyed hanging around with friends and singing.”
Oliver S: “This was my second choir camp. We did a lot of singing. I made some new friends and I passed my melody reading skill!”
Gabriel M (Tyro 2): “I loved the food and I liked the singing. My favourite song is O Sinner Man. I passed one skill – rhythm reading.”
Josh T (Tyro 1): “I liked all the songs we sang and the tutoring because you get to know a lot of things you haven’t learnt before.”
Gabriel B: “My favourite thing was playing cricket… and singing!”
Benjamin J “Singalong was good – singing in parts! The person who had the birthday on camp was very lucky – not many people get happy birthday sung to them so beautifully!”
Matthew W: “This was my second camp. I like singalong. You get to sing with different groups and it sounds amazing.”
Nicole, Camp Leader: “It was exhausting but exhilarating! But I’ve lost count of how many times I reminded the boys to tie their shoelaces!!!”