Ahead of the Choir of Trinity College’s public Melbourne performances on 21 and 22 May, former chorister Bria Rechner reflects on what makes the choir such a ‘rare beast’, and why you should take up the opportunity to hear them sing.
When I was awarded a choral scholarship to join the Choir of Trinity College in 2018, I was unaware of the grand opportunities I would be offered. Music tours to Europe and adventures through North America, to name a few highlights, doing what I love most.
It almost felt too good to be true.
The funny thing is, five years ago, I didn’t even know what the Choir of Trinity College was. I had no idea that a college choir of high international standing – one that professionally records albums, tours the world, and is directed by a former Tallis Scholar (of the renowned British vocal ensemble) – operated right here in Melbourne.
It was only after a chance encounter with Trinity’s Director of Music, Christopher Watson (the Tallis Scholar), that my choral journey really began. I had been part of various school choirs throughout my secondary education, and I had a strong yearning for choral music. Christopher told me that he had relocated to Australia four years ago to take on the director role at Trinity, describing the college choir as ‘a rare beast’.
I’ve now come to know what he means by that.
As a member of the choir during the final two years of my Bachelor of Music degree, the experience gave me more access to and knowledge and understanding of the music industry than any degree could have.
I got to record albums with the group and toured the world, singing in some of the most prestigious chapels, churches and concert halls in the world, like St Paul’s Cathedral in London and the Cathedral of St John the Divine in New York City.
One could argue that these opportunities don’t come to many in a lifetime, let alone in the space of two years.
Members of the Trinity College choir know how to put the work in (yes, the practice schedule is grueling!) and the group knows how to create magic through sound, but, like many artists and businesses, the choir was impacted by forces beyond its control during the COVID-19 pandemic and touring and performing was put on hold.
However, as the world slowly starts to open up again, the choir – and the people of Melbourne – have been given an amazing opportunity. Rather than visiting far flung shores, the Choir of Trinity College will be playing to its home audience – one that has perhaps been overshadowed by the bright lights of international stages.
This year, instead of singing for audiences in New York City or Toronto or Edinburgh, the choir has scheduled four concerts in Melbourne, which will be open to general public.
My fond reflections as a chorister revolve around the incredible musicality of each member under the direction of an internationally acclaimed tenor. Listening to the sounds of the choral voices in an acoustically ideal environment is an experience nobody should be denied – and the Trinity choir definitely shouldn’t be a foreigner in its own city. I urge everyone to strengthen their musical knowledge in 2021 and enjoy the group’s angelic sounds.
The Choir of Trinity College will perform at St Michael’s Uniting Church (Melbourne CBD) on Friday 21 May from 7.30–9.30pm (buy tickets here) and in the Trinity College Chapel (Parkville) on Saturday 22 May from 3–4pm (buy tickets here). Everyone welcome.
By Bria Rechner