THE STORY BEHIND OUR STORY
In the back rooms of the Murray Park College of Advanced Education and as part of their Community Outreach programme, a small group of eight Choristers under the direction of Cathy Weber, sang their first notes together as the “Murray Park Singers”. The year was 1978, and the month was May.
The College funded the Director of Music, Accompanist, the music, and provided the venue for rehearsals as part of their Community Outreach programme. The Dean of the College was the Patron of the Choir, which performed annually at the College AGM.
Over the years, the choir flourished to reach almost 70 choristers in the early 1990’s.
Some highlights (or fond memories) of the Murray Park Singers have included:
1984 participating in the Adelaide Festival Chorus, performing Beethoven’s 9th Symphony, under the baton of Vladimir Ashkenazy.
1986 they were chosen to sing before Pope John Paul in the Adelaide Festival Theatre.
1988 they travelled by bus to Bankstown, Sydney to perform with the Bankstown choir.
1990 after months of planning and saving, they completed a two-week concert tour of New Zealand.
In 1992 a transition of the “Murray Park College of Advanced Education” to the “Magill Campus of the University of South Australia” resulted in a change of circumstances for the choir.
As a result of a withdrawal of financial support, the affiliation between the University of South Australia and the Murray Park singers ceased. Thus it was necessary for the Murray Park Singers to become an independent incorporated body, and financially independent with its own Board of Management.
St George's Anglican Church Hall was chosen as the new venue for rehearsals, and the new home of “Cantabile Singers”.
Some highlights of Cantabile Singers:
1996 the Choir performed in Red Square, on the parade ground as part of the Festival of Arts. About 50 choristers sang Handel’s Hallelujah Chorus while hanging out of Morris Minor cars, as they drove into the square, leaping out to stand beside the cars to complete the final chorus, headlights and indicators flashing!
During a rehearsal, Dame Roma Mitchell, who was Governor of S.A. at the time, wandered down from Government House to see what was going on and to chat with the singers. She apparently commented, “I just live next door”.
1996 was also the year that Cathy Weber decided to step down as Music Director, after nearly twenty years. She left behind a wonderful legacy.
...more of the story to come.
OUR MUSIC DIRECTOR and CONDUCTOR
Denise Rothall is a graduate of Flinders Street School of Music and Adelaide College of the Arts, where she gained her Bachelor of Education in Music and Drama. She also holds an A.Mus.A. in piano.
While working as Music Coordinator at Marymount College, Denise’s passion for choral music grew. She attended a summer music school at Westminster Choir College in Princeton USA, and was hooked. She auditioned and was accepted to further her studies at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas, USA where she completed a Master of Music degree, majoring in choral conducting, under the tutelage of Constantina Tsolainou and minor studies in orchestral conducting with Dr David Milnes.
Since her return to Australia, Denise has been invited to work with a number of choirs in Adelaide, including Adelaide Girls Choir, Graduate Singers, Corinthian Singers, Mt Lofty Singers and interstate as guest conductor with the Mozart Choir and the Warrnambool Symphony Orchestra.
Denise has also been invited to be a guest speaker by Kodaly Association, JSHAA Music Teachers, ANCA, Dalcroze Assoication and guest conductor, for the Royal School of Church Music SA Chapter.
In 2013, ANCA SA nominated Denise for a CEASA award in the category of Outstanding Educator for her work as the Music Director of the Catholic Schools Music Festival. In 2015 Denise has been invited to be part of a Conducting Mentoring Program, a new initiative by the National ANCA.
Denise is currently Music Director for the Catholic Schools Music Festival.
Meredith Wilson completed a Bachelor of Music at Adelaide University and an Advanced Certificate in Accompaniment at Flinders Street School of Music (Adelaide Institute of TAFE) in 1988. She is a piano teacher both in her own home studio and at various schools in Adelaide including Pulteney Grammar School and Kings Baptist Grammar School.
Meredith is a highly respected freelance accompanist who has had extensive experience including all levels of AMEB and SACE exams, University Performance exams, Young Adelaide Voices, Graduate Singers, Adelaide Cabaret and Fringe Festival events, and school performances such as recitals, musicals, choirs and eisteddfods.
Meredith enjoys her teaching and accompanying, as well as looking after and juggling the lives of her busy family.
She has accompanied Cantabile Singers since the beginning of 2009.