The Queensland Choir 150th Anniversary Reception
Former Member of the Executive Council of Queensland, Mr Ian Walker – who is also here representing the Queensland Youth Orchestras; Brisbane City Councillor for Central Ward, Councillor Vicki Howard; the Queensland Choir Patron, the Honourable Ian Callinan; Chair, Mr Don Jameson, and fellow Board Members; Musical Director and Conductor, Mr Kevin Power; all staff and supporters of the Queensland Choir, including from the Queensland Theatre, Chair, Ms Elizabeth Jameson.
I begin by acknowledging the traditional custodians of the lands around Brisbane, the Turrbal and Jagera peoples, and extend respectful greetings to Elders, past, present and emerging.
Graeme and I are delighted to welcome you to Government House this afternoon as we celebrate the 150th anniversary of the Queensland Choir.
As our State’s oldest choir, you have been at the heart of our cultural vitality since long before Federation, and I am so pleased that this monumental milestone in your history has coincided with my own term as Governor.
Back in 1872 when the choir first formed—as the Brisbane Musical Union—the entire State had a population of just over 133,000 and those with musical experience were thin on the ground.
Yet there was a keen desire to build an organised, united choral group that could bring people together to sing—not only so those involved could enjoy the benefits of musical expression, but to encourage a wider appreciation for vocal music in the community.
Over the years, your story has been intrinsically linked with the events and circumstances that have shaped Queensland.
You have sung at occasions that have reflected our joys and our sorrows.
You have been a vital part of Brisbane’s transformation at significant times such as the opening of Brisbane City Hall and QPAC.
You have sung for royalty, and serenaded a good number of Queensland Governors!
Now, in 2022, at 150 years of age, the Queensland Choir is still driven by the same sense of purpose that was there when it was first formed: to strengthen and develop choral music in this State.
Each year, you give the 100 or so volunteer choristers who join your ranks the chance to further develop their talents, in a supportive, inclusive environment.
You encourage other choirs, and help young soloists pursue their dreams.
Through collaboration with leading arts organisations, and involvement in major festivals, the Queensland Choir delivers a diverse repertoire, while continuing to do honour to much-loved works, such as Handel’s Messiah.
As we reflect on this impressive biography, we pay tribute to those who have assisted the choir in the past, and to those who currently make it such an essential part of our State’s cultural scene.
I would first like to profoundly thank Musical Director and Conductor, Mr Kevin Power, who has been involved in the choir since 1970. For a mammoth 52 years, Kevin has been an ardent, dedicated champion for choral music in this State.
I also thank the Queensland Choir’s Board of Directors, Accompanist Mark Connors, management, and the enthusiastic volunteers and supporters, particularly the Brisbane City Council, for ensuring such success.
On behalf of all Queenslanders, congratulations and I wish you all a magnificent, song-filled sesquicentenary year ahead.