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Home : About Us : Our Archive : Annual Chronicles : 2012
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2012 - our 15th year

Eternity and Grace

During 2012 we focused on our objective to promote choral music to the communities of which we are part. We produced a massed choir performance of Handel's Messiah in Marrickville; joined with local and overseas choirs to sing in Cantonese at the Sydney Opera House; participated in the Moorambilla Festival as choir-in-residence; and produced Carols on Norton for the Leichhardt community.

LEC pictured before Carols on Norton with Luke Byrne (Accompanist), Dan Walker (Tenor), Billie McCarthy (Soprano), Michelle Leonard (Artistic Director) and Stephan Kooper (MC)


LEC presented Handel's Messiah for Easter 2012 with full orchestra, wonderful soloists and a magnificent massed choir in the beautiful Marrickville Town Hall. The vocal soloists were Allegra Giagu (soprano), David Yardley (alto), Richard Black (tenor) and Alexander Knight (baritone). 

For this concert we invited all singers from far and wide to join us for a weekend rehearsal and performance. There was a great atmosphere in the room and the concert was a huge success. The following Youtube video clip provides a wonderful insight into the weekend.


Our major concert for the year, Eternity & Grace, was performed twice in June at the Italian Forum Cultural Centre in Leichhardt. These concerts were a unique blend of new Australian compositions for choir and chamber orchestra with poetry and visual art. They featured fresh new Australian music by Sally Whitwell, David Basden and Dan Walker along with a few past favourites and some quirky new gems!

The core of the concerts was Breath of Kindness, a suite of three songs by Sally Whitwell that was commissioned by the Gentle Exercise Morning Tea Group. This was supplemented by a new song and two new arrangements by composer Dan Walker, while our 2012 composer-in-residence (David Basden) contributed a series of musical textures that were accompanied by readings from Sappho's poems. Our accompanist for this concert was Kimbali Harding.

A few weeks later we were joined by several local and overseas Chinese choirs to perform Ask the Sky and the Earth at the Sydney Opera House and conducted by our very own Michelle Leoonard. The stirring work conveys the human story of the Chinese Cultural Revolution of the 1960s.

Michelle Leonard and soloists take their bows at the Ask the Sky and the Earth concert

In September, LEC travelled to Baradine and Coonamble for Lifelines: Moorambilla Festival. We joined with Moorambilla Voices and the Sydney Youth Orchestra to present Hydra written by our accompanist Luke Byrne.

The 2012 Christmas season started in mid-December with our Carols @ High Noon concert and concluded with Carols on Norton on 23 December. Our chamber choir, Ristretto, also sang carols in the Pitt Street Mall as part of the City of Sydney's Christmas festivities.

   March - A Marrickville Messiah
   June - Eternity & Grace
   July - Ask the Sky and the Earth
   September - Lifelines: the Moorambilla Festival
   November - Carols @ High Noon
   December - City of Sydney Carols (Ristretto)
   December - Carols on Norton


LEC commissioned nine new songs and co-commissioned one in 2010. These were:
Premiere    Composer               Name

23 June      David Basden           Eternity
               David Basden           An Die Musik
               David Basden           Stand Up and Look At Me
               Dan Walker             Were All the Stars to Disappear and Die
               Dan Walker             + Reckless (David Reyne)
               Dan Walker             + Fields of Gold (Sting)
21 Sept      Ben Van Tienan        How Can I Keep from Singing?
23 Dec       Alice Chance            Three Kings
               Alice Chance            Christmas Harmony

NB The following work was commissioned by the Gentle Exercise Morning Tea Group and premiered by LEC

23 June      Sally Whitwell          Breath of Kindness

Behind the scenes

Our Artistic Drector, Michelle Leonard, returned to Sydney after living in Salzburg during 2011.

The successful 2011 initiative of Sight Sing @ Six with Amandine Petit was continued with some singers progressing to level 2. Amandine also acted as Assistant Conductor during the choir's Moorambilla tour in September.

The provision of learning aids for choristers moved into high gear with Mike Webb and Allen Haroothunian coming on board to assist Jim Fleming. 

Chorister numbers continued their upward momentum, averaging 103 per term during 2012. Numbers were so strong that we needed to hire a second coach for the Moorambilla tour in September.

LEC supported the Moorambilla Festival by funding a scholarship; by sending mentoring singers to the August camp; and by facilitating fund raising for Moorambilla at Carols on Norton.

We lobbied and successfully obtained $31,000 from Leichhardt Council for Carols on Norton and the Lantern Parade.

We ran a fundraising Sausage Sizzle at Ashfield Bunnings and made $1460 for new compositions.

The new music librarians, Georgie Cropper and Paul Raciborski, undertook a major stocktake and overhaul of the choir's music library. The committee arranged for a new off-site storage facility that we are sharing with Sydney Chamber Choir.

We continued to successfully use for online ticketing of all our productions. The proportion of our tickets purchased online continues to rise.

The committee purchased a printer for copying music and arranged for the building of a conductor's podium.

LEC launched a new section of its website devoted to archiving the choir's history. Our archive consisted of 46 new pages, 8 photo galleries and 42 souvenir programs.

President: Lliane Clarke
Vice President and Artistic Director: Michelle Leonard
Secretary: Pepe Newton
Treasurer: Chris Robinson
Committee: Miriam Poole, Richard Goodman, Paul Raciborski, Melinda Beck

This was the last full year for our accompanist, Luke Byrne. Luke supported us brilliantly over the six years from 2007. In addition to his musicianship on the piano, his perfect pitch and his ability to sing in any register, he assisted Michelle Leonard by enthusiastically working with the singers - especially with the tenors and basses. As a composer he blessed us with the beautiful love song Immortal Beloved, the hymn Salmos de Santiago, the funny Back in My Day and the epic Such Country suite, as well as several arrangements of Christmas music.

Section Leaders
Sopranos: Margaret Grove, Suzanne Blythin and Lliane Clarke
Altos: Miriam Poole and Pepe Newton
Tenors: Mark Robinson
Basses: Chris Robinson, Richard Goodman and Jim Fleming

New Singers

This was a bumper year for recruitment - 62 new singers joined the choir for the first time this year: Paul Andrews, Julie Bangura, Flora Benson, Derek Brookes, Terri Burnet, Erica Byrne, Nigel Cadogan, Christine Cargill, Stephen Chikazaza, Sofia Costantino, Robbie Dixon, Jane Erwin, Brad Gilchrist, Gabriel Gonzalez, Emma Grahame, Kathy Green, Cecile Guilloux, Annette Hagerman, Angus Hancock, Merryn Hughes, Jane Hungerford, Phoebe Jackson-Morison, Olivia Johnson, Ene Juurma, Irene Ladds, Annette Larke, Agnes Lau, Kirsten Levy, Yue Liang, Val Lloyd, Chris Lu, Kate Mathieson, Claire Maynard, Lindy McAllister, Mark Mercer, Janet Millar, Amanda Miller, Elaine Moore, Sharon Muir, Mark Nelson, Karen O'Brien, Kate Paraha/De Gois, Sally Pierce, Caroline Pugh, Marian Rados, Christine Rakvin, Jan Ramus, Fiona Reid, Cath Renwick, Anna Roache, Amy Seagrief, Marina Shine, Victoria Skjerve, Glenda Stone, Leslie Survela, Debra Taylor, Jo Watts-James, Amy Weaver, Mike Webb, Cameron Woodhouse, Noriko Yamanaka and Andi Zhang.

In Memoriam

Vale Robin Klineberg 4/12/1940 - 12/2/2012

Stalwart chorister Robin Klineberg unfortunately passed away suddenly in hospital on 12 February. A long-time resident of Balmain and lover of music, Robin will be sadly missed by her many, many friends. We have been inspired by her great enthusiasm for life.