History

The story of the Brunwick Women’s Choir begins in 1991. Co-founder Lyn Szilagyi was working as a maternal and child health nurse and believed that for some women, singing would be the best way of saying “who they were” to the world. Lyn’s enthusiasm was so infectious that her colleague Cathy Nixon was persuaded to take up the role of musical director.
Finding money was the next step so Lyn, Cathy and co-founder Judith McKenzie-McHarg sought funding from the local council to seed the choir. Mission accomplished! Their next task was to find women to join the choir. They placed a notice in the local newspaper and held their breath.

Forty women turned up to the first rehearsal…and the journey began!

A brief chronology

 

The embroidered banner of Brunswick Women's Choir


1992
First major concert. Launch of newly-made embroidered banner.

1994 First recording produced (on cassette!) and a second major concert held.

1995 Choir wins joint first prize at Melbourne International Festival of Choirs.

1996 Choir appoints its first administrator to manage its growing workload. An inaugural planning day is held to think about future directions. Choir performs at the National Folk Festival in Canberra.

1997 Choir celebrates its sixth birthday with a concert.

1999 Production and launch of the choir’s first CD, Give Me The Roses While I Live.

2000 Choir sings at Apollo Bay Music Festival. The waiting list for new members tops 100 women!

2001 Two CDs produced and launched: I Can Hear Her Calling and an oral history, Ten Years On. Choir sets a record of nine performances in three months.

2002 Musical director Cathy Nixon receives the Vida Goldstein award for the Arts.

2003 Cathy Nixon wins the Honouring Women in Moreland award for improving the wellbeing of women in the area.

2004 Choir tours New Zealand.

2005 Choir tours regional Victoria.

2006 Local composer Jenny Swain is commissioned by the choir to write four songs. The choir publishes a history book, Seeking Harmony.

2007 Seeking Harmony receives a commendation in the Victorian Local History Awards. The choir produces its third CD, Peace Cannot Be Silent.

2008 Choir commissions much-loved performer/musician Lou Bennett to write three songs with the choir, including lyrics in Lou’s traditional Yorta Yorta language.

2009 Choir tours from Adelaide to Darwin and on to Tiwi Islands. Choir is a joint runner up in the national Music in Communities Awards.

2010 Performances in Country Victoria at Yackandandah Music Festival and in
Euroa.

2011 Grant received from Victorian Health Promotion Foundation to produce on-line teaching resources for other singers and community choirs.

2011 Choir celebrates its 20th anniversary with a concert at Brunswick Town Hall and premiere’s a trilogy of songs ‘Sing Anyay’ written by Melbourne composer Jennie Swain. The Very Best Of Brunswick Women’s Choir CD released.

2012 Choir produces it’s fifth CD Sing Anyway.

2013 Choir performs with Judy Small at Brunswick Music Festival. September tour of regional Victoria teaming up with choirs in Upwey, Churchill, Bairnsdale, Albury, Beechworth, Yackandandah, Maryborough, Bendigo and Castlemaine to run workshops and put on concerts.