District choirs perform in Songs of Hope concert

Voices soared in St Patrick's Church on Sunday, as district choirs displayed their talents in the Songs of Hope concert, Boorowa's significant and highly enjoyable afternoon of song.

Five choirs, stemming from Canberra, Yass, Young and Boorowa entertained an appreciative audience in this annual local fundraiser for the Young-Boorowa Branch of Can Assist.

The concert was the farewell appearance with the Australian Rugby Choir of their Musical Director Rachel Campbell, who has conducted the choir here since the inception of Songs of Hope in 2015.

However, she will conduct the choir for appearances on British soil early next month, when the Rugby Choir will perform in the Cornwell International Male Choir Festival.

Many tributes were paid to Rachel for her co-operative attitude, and her commitment to perfection, while members of her choir marked the occasion with the presentation of a bouquet of flowers.

The concert began in rollicking fashion, with the Gospel Folk choir presenting Zulu, Swedish and American folk melodies and a composition by accompanist and composer Michael Dooley, with two items involving audience participation.

A newcomer to Songs of Hope, Maisie's Choir from Yass, presented a series of items with a strong spiritual flavour, such as 'The Chariots are Coming,' and 'Shenandoah,' concluding with the foot-tapping number 'Down by the Riverside.'

The Hilltops Choir from Young shared traditional items from the pen of Purcell, Samuel Barber and Mozart, and a popular number based on an old Irish blessing.

Described by their conductor Peter Roberts, as 'the smallest and oldest' choir of the day, the Boorowa M D combination drew applause for the hymn 'Colours of the Day,' A blending of two British folk songs, and had the audience singing along with their closing item, 'The Battle Hymn of the Republic.'

The eagerly awaited performance by the highly professional Australian Rugby Choir included a traditional spiritual, two numbers from significant films, and another spiritual in which members of the choir danced and 'shimmied' in time to the music. This final item had the audience cheering and clapping with gusto.

At the conclusion of the programme appreciation was extended to Bendigo Bank for generous sponsorship, the St Patrick's Parish Council for use of the iconic church, Lorna and Arnold Spackman who produced the programmes, Bede Morrissey, who acted as MC in his usual competent fashion, Paul Reardon, who acted as sound engineer, the members of the five choirs and the appreciative audience.

The afternoon came to a close with the whole gathering singing the National Anthem.

A total just short of $1,300 was raised on the day, but final figures for the whole project this year had not been calculated as we went to press.

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