A Win to Sing About

Townsville Choral Society Musical Director Rachel Cairns and Deputy Musical Director Claire Davies with North Queensland Eisteddfod Choral Championship and Aggregate trophies. IMAGE: Sonia Warrell

Townsville has had one of its strongest years to date at the 92nd annual North Queensland Eisteddfod, bringing home both the Aggregate and Championship trophy for the first time in Eisteddfod history.

While Townsville has won each separately in the past (the Championship trophy was won by Townsville for the first time last year), 2018 is the first year both have been won by the choir during the same competition.

Townsville Choral Society librarian and choir member, Julie Dell, said the dual win was a significant moment for the society.

“It’s a fantastic achievement – we love meeting each year and renewing the friendships with other choirs across the North, but the bottom line is it’s a competition and everybody’s in it to win it. So each choir has a really strong rehearsal process and it’s an all-in total commitment – so is a wonderful thing to win, it really is,” said Julie.

The Choral Championship is awarded to the choir with the highest marks across the Chiefs, Ladies’ and Men’s Choruses, Sacreds, Oratorio, Novelty and Modern sections; while the Aggregate trophy goes to the choir with the highest marks across sections with set songs.

“Townsville excelled right across the board: not just in those sections contributing to the Championship or Aggregate, but in the ensembles and smaller sections with solos, duets and quartets. We’re so proud of them all, there’s a great bunch of young people coming through now which is wonderful to see, and gratifying that they feel they’re an important part of the Choral Society family.”

Sections won by the choir included Welsh, Mixed Ensemble, Male Chorus, Ladies Chorus, Jazz Ensemble, Men’s Ensemble, Oratorio, and the Madrigal; with Townsville performers also placing first in the Open Trio, Open Quartet, Pop Solo, and Modern Solo.

“We have people from 14 years old through to a gentleman well into his 80s in the choir currently. It is like a family, everybody feels like they’re part of it. Choir people are just a different breed who appreciate everybody for what they bring to the table, it’s great.”

Townsville’s Musical Director Rachel Cairns was also awarded Most Proficient Conductor while Deputy Musical Director Claire Davies was voted in as President of the North Queensland Eisteddfod committee – the first Townsville-based President in three decades.

“Rachel and Claire are a breed apart, we are just blessed – they are extremely gifted musicians, and Jeanine Tegg on piano – we can’t do it without our pianist, we can’t do it without our conductors, and I think we were extremely well-prepared with all three people. They worked together as such a wonderful team and we’re very fortunate.

“I’ve been part of the choir for 25 years now. There’s a quote, ‘if you need a tune up, join a choir.’ It’s the friendships, it’s the music, it’s the singing, and the joy that singing gives you. You can come into a choir after a hard day’s work or whatever, and it just makes you feel renewed – it’s quite spectacular.”

The Townsville Choral Society Choir rehearses at the Brian and Daphne Pease Memorial Hall on Sturt Street, with no audition required to join. The choir is taking a hiatus following Eisteddfod, however will regroup again shortly. For more information, visit the Society’s Facebook page.

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