3 November, 2022
From Gilgandra to the steps of the Opera House, eleven local children sung to the masses over the weekend, for the iconic building’s 50th anniversary.
Country children from across NSW
involved in Moorambilla Voices were invited
to be part of the ‘From the Steps: Voices
at Dusk’ performance on October 29, as
well as a special performance with ‘Big
Heart Sing’ on October 30.
Director and founder of Moorambilla
Voices, Michelle Leonard OAM, said what
the children achieved in 48 hours was
incredible, performing to over 8000 people
collectively, and singing their way around
“It was just genuinely nuts. 3000 people
in the audience on Saturday, and over 5000
on Sunday with a choir of 500 other voices
alongside them,” said Ms Leonard.
“Coming out of covid, we never knew
what was going to happen with
Moorambilla. But having this opportunity
with 44 students was just magnificent.
They’ve accomplished so much over the
weekend; I imagine they were all dead
asleep on that bus home.”
up a quarter of the voices for Moorambilla,
something Ms Leonard had not seen in over
“I was trying to pick kids that would
really benefit from the program, and that
showed resilience. We don’t normally have
that many kids from Gilgandra but they
were just outstanding and they should be so
incredibly proud of themselves.”
The ‘From the Steps: Voices at Dusk’
performance was held on Saturday night,
with the Moorambilla Choir performing
songs written especially for them by various
contemporary Australian composers.
Another Gilgandra star, artist Melissa
Kelly, was commissioned by Moorambilla
back in 2020 to create ceramic trophies.
These trophies were of a cat, fish, and a
flamingo that go on an adventure all around
“We then had music written for us about
those adventures, and those ceramics were
drawn up and projected, to use for River
Song 22, Moorambilla’s 17th annual gala
concert,” said Ms Leonard.
“We then decided
that the Opera House needs to hear and
The choir had a 30 minute set, that consisted
of singing in Wiradjuri and
“This was a first for the choir to which
was absolutely beautiful,” said Ms Leonard.
Four students were unable to make to
performances due to flooding, but the
Opera House and Moorambilla made sure
they still felt included.
“Everyone’s been so beautiful, and generous
and supportive. It’s been really humbling
and wonderful really,” said Ms
The children loved the opportunity to
sing on such a large stage, and being part of
the Opera House’s history.
“They have never done anything like that
before, their previous concern was in
Dubbo!” said Alicia Harrison, mum of two
performers, Claudia and Jemima.
“Performing was the highlight of the
trip, but the children also got to have some
other incredible experiences like walking
across the Harbour Bridge and visiting the
Art Gallery of NSW. They also visited the
crypt in St Mary’s Cathedral and got to
experience those acoustics.”
Ms Leonard is proud of what the students have achieved and is appreciative of everyone’s support. But while the weekend was a success, she would love to see the opportunity extended to other children.
“These are not children who have the
opportunity to relish in a choir every week.
We really value the opportunities that we
can give them, and the kids feel so empowered
and it’s such a positive experience, it
just shines through.
“But we need the support of everyone
we can get. We need people to know that
rural NSW is phenomenal, the artistry and
the capacity and phenomenal. We could
only take 44, but I would love to take 144.
“And it’s not the lack of ideas, or lack of
capacity, it’s money.”
This was the first performance over the 17 years of Moorambilla that the choir has performed at the Opera House.