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December 4, 2017

Rundle Mall unites South Australian choirs this Christmas

This Christmas, Rundle Mall is celebrating those who have dedicated their lives to music - whether they be the souls of community choirs or well-known voices.

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  • Story: Sharmonie Cockayne

In the lead up to Christmas, Rundle Mall is bringing together more than 30 local and regional choirs and 500 individual voices from around the state.

Headed by accomplished Artistic Director Andy Packer and Musical Director Carl Crossin, Voices of Christmas will see 12 uniquely arranged Christmas carols ring out in the Mall this festive season – each featuring musical identities, local and regional choirs, and community groups of all skill levels.


Voices of Rundle Mall will run from Friday 15 December through to Sunday 24 December in Gawler Place. Head here for the full program.

In an effort to create a unique art experience that celebrates local talent, Andy and Carl sought out musical communities from all corners of the state – including singers as young as 11 from Unley Primary School and Indigenous performers from Port Augusta.

They all perform in a “virtual choir” that provides accompaniment to a series of live shows by accomplished performers on a showcase stage in Gawler Place in the Mall. LED screens will sit behind the stage, beaming the faces and voices of the virtual choir into the city centre throughout the ten day program.

The project, Andy says, gives a stage to people who have dedicated their lives to music, and it gives performers a chance to be a part of something bigger.

“People that make music central to their lives are important to us as a society,” Andy says.

“So, to give them an equal footing and to support them through a sound engineer and a stage manager and a host and a proper stage is just to value add to what they’re giving to the world. Trying to find a small way to support them, to offer to the audience what they work very hard to develop a skill in, is important.”

In order to collect the digital voice recordings, Andy and Carl travelled to each community group’s space.

Amid creating the recordings, Andy began to see how some community artists were disadvantaged or under-exposed despite their hard work and commitment. He sees Voices of Christmas as a chance to cross the divide sometimes caused by distance or circumstance.

“Because of their location, or sometimes just because of their age or position in life, many of these people don’t get the wide audience they deserve,” he says. “I’m glad we can showcase them in a way that does their talent justice.”

As Carl and Andy travelled and worked with community groups, the pair endeavoured to understand the motivation that lay at each group’s core, and to get to know the stories of the people involved.

Andy spoke to many of the singers in the virtual choir, and young or old, city-bound or rural, the way they expressed their connection to music was the same: Music is their life.

And to have a stage for those less likely to reach an audience as large as the crowds that walk through Rundle Mall in the ten days before Christmas – it’s important, it’s an opportunity.

It’s community.

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