Volunteers are vital to the Australian Boys Choir. Indeed in the beginning, there were no paid staff at all. When the Choir began in 1939 at the start of World War II, society was different and women were not directly involved in the Choir. But mothers were armed at home with needle and thread! Notices were gender specific – “Please ask your fathers to drive you here”, or “Please ask your mothers to sew this”, and of course the jumble sales, progressive dinners, fashion parades, lamington drives, car rallies, theatre nights, cooking demonstrations, raffles, fairs and more, essential in supporting the Choir, could not have happened without the mums.
The Board, formerly the Council, has always been a group of volunteers. It has included people experienced in the arts and business, as well as parents. It guides the business of the ABC and directs policy.
Volunteers make up the committees or teams with specific tasks. These include publicity, concerts, wardrobe, fundraising, maintenance, sponsorship and development, recruitment, tours, social and pastoral areas.
In more recent years, parent volunteers have staffed the desk and organised refreshments at rehearsals a couple of times a year each - a great way to meet the boys and staff and see how the ABC operates.
But why? Often volunteers mention the immense satisfaction gained from watching boys grow. Long time volunteer, Louise Phillips, commented, “Seeing boys who began as small, shy Tyros blossom through the ranks, learning to care for themselves and others, is very rewarding”.
The ABC is a community of singers and their families, working towards a common goal, building strong bonds and firm friendships. When families volunteer, the boys learn that being a community involves giving and sharing and working together – valuable lessons that enhance their excellent musical education.
There have been so many volunteers through the Choir’s history - parents, grandparents, family, old boys, friends and staff - all giving their time so generously to make such a significant contribution.
In the Choir’s 75th year, we acknowledge our volunteers, past and present, and thank them for all they have done.