22 November 2023
22 November 2023


The recent Kelly Gang and The Vocal Consort tour to Brisbane to attend the Pemulwuy Festival was a great success. It provided all those who went with a valuable musical experience and an enormous amount of fun along the way.

The Pemulwuy Festival, named after an Indigenous warrior, is a male voice singing festival held in Brisbane every three years that the Choir has been part of since it began around twenty years ago. The Festival consists of multiple ensembles, each formed of multiple male choirs from all around Australia and led by guest conductors.

Our flight to Brisbane ran smoothly and we arrived at Brisbane Youth Hostel on Friday Evening, in time for dinner and rehearsals. The Kelly Gang prepared our pieces ready for two showcase concerts, then went to our rooms to rest our voices for the days of singing to come.

The rehearsals on the first day of the Festival were very informative. We gained interesting new insights into different ways that singing rehearsals can be run. The Kelly Gang presented our first showcase performances that evening and I think we sang well.

We were up early on the second day and walked to the rehearsal venue. We rehearsed in a large group of teenage singers. After lunch, we performed our showcase and it was well received. That night, The Vocal Consort had their showcase concert, which was one of the best performances of the Festival.

The third day featured the main performance at the Queensland Performing Arts Centre. We rehearsed there from early in the day and all felt ready for the performance. The Kelly Gang performed two pieces in our larger group and both went as well as we hoped. The Vocal Consort featured in their own performance. At the end of the night, after many amazing pieces, we sang the Festival’s namesake song Pemulwuy. It was a spectacular ending.

Late that night, we waited for our Melbourne fl ight to be called at Brisbane Airport. It was delayed by a few minutes, then by an hour and at around 11pm, our flight was cancelled. We had a great time singing at the airport. After some quick thinking by the adults in our cohort, maxi taxis were organised to take us to a luxury hotel, where (most of us) got about five hours of sleep. The trip home the next day went smoothly, and we touched down in Melbourne after four days at the Pemulwuy Festival.

I’d like to thank all the staff, volunteers and singers who made the trip possible. I’m excited to go back in another three years.

A reflection by Rory Westcott, Kelly Gang




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