Singing Hoosiers Down Under: Ending in Adelaide

Our final three days of the tour were spent in Adelaide, and we couldn’t have asked for better weather to celebrate our remaining time in Australia.

Our last few days were filled with workshops with some incredible groups of people. Following an assembly performance, we spent time at St. Michael’s College working with their senior choir and their younger group, Jive. That afternoon was spent with the extremely energetic and engaged young women of St. Peter’s Girls School. They went absolutely wild during our performance, and asked some very intelligent questions. It seems that no matter what age, what area, or what school we went to throughout Australia, there were always students that were eager to learn, musically gifted and intelligent, and kind and compassionate young people. If they’re the future of music in Australia, we should see some amazing things coming our way.

The next morning was spent with some teachers after their workshop with Ms. Ly Wilder and Dr. Zegree. We gave a short performance, and were then released to spend the afternoon sightseeing in Adelaide. We took a trip to the Cleland Wildlife Park and Glenelg Beach and spent the evening with our host families.

Our final day in Adelaide was spent with free time in the morning and a sound check and final performance in the evening at the Scott Theatre at Adelaide University. We were very lucky to be joined by some of the amazing groups we had spent time with earlier in the week and other community choirs in the first half of the concert, and we took the stage for the second half. Our last song in Australia was Bridge Over Troubled Water, sung with the hundreds of people we had worked with over the week.

Leaving on Monday morning was a sad affair, but we were lucky to have met such incredible people and have them at the airport waving goodbye as we boarded the plane. The entire tour of Australia was such a meaningful experience to each and every one of us, providing us with new life lessons, once-in-a-lifetime memories, and connections with some of the best people we might ever meet. Our sincere thanks go out to everyone that we encountered on this tour – you have all impacted us in ways that we cannot express and could not have imagined.

For now, it’s time for us all to get settled back in our homes and deal with jet lag. Keep an eye as we post photos and videos in the next few weeks!

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Singing Hoosiers Down Under: Day 10

We’re officially all settled in and loving Adelaide!

This morning we were able to workshop with Adelaide Connection, an incredible jazz choir at the University of Adelaide! They were absolutely amazing and we were so impressed by their blend, sound, and energy. Although we only got about 90 minutes together, we’re hopeful that we will be able to meet up in our free time with some of the students! Music really is the easiest way to bring people together.

The afternoon was spent in Mt. Barker at Cornerstone College. We gave a 30 minute performance to an assembly of about 500 students, mostly grade seven through grade twelve, and then split into three workshops. We had Jive (the junior group) with our assistant director Ly Wilder, the senior choir with Dr. Zegree, and the Soul Band with our wonderful and talented band members. Getting to see high school kids putting that much dedication into workshopping pieces and performing was so energizing for us, and I think both the Singing Hoosiers and the students walked away with even more musical knowledge and understanding than we came in with.

When we mentioned to someone early on in the trip that we would be visiting Adelaide, they said that wasn’t surprising because Adelaide had a lot of music. It’s clear that was a true statement – all the vocalists, instrumentalists, and other musicians or music educators we have encountered so far have been so intelligent, compassionate, and talented. We feel truly lucky to spend our last few days in such a great place (and with such great weather too)!

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Singing Hoosiers Down Under: Day 7 & 8 & 9

Day 7, 8, and 9… also known as “The Days with Very Little Wi-Fi.” But we’re back & all settled in Adelaide after a brief stop in Sydney.

Our first day in Sydney was incredible. We hopped off the plane to board the coaches with our wonderful guides, Marilyn and Iris and headed off to see the city. Our first (and most important) stop was the Sydney Opera House, where we were able to see the beautiful Harbor Bridge & Sydney Harbor. We were even lucky enough to get to SING in the main concert hall of the Sydney Opera House – we performed our acapella arrangement of the Star Spangled Banner. It was an absolutely incredible space to sing in, with a long echo, and we got a great sound recording (video not allowed) that we hope to post later! We then hit Bondi Beach for some relaxation, and headed to our “hotel apartments” at the Adina Hotel Central for the rest of the evening.

Day two in Sydney was even better than the last, with a morning spent at Manly Beach playing in the waves and shopping. We got back and most of us took naps and explored the city a little more before our perfect evening. We took a dinner cruise out of Sydney Harbor where we cruised around the harbor for 2.5 hours, eating a three-course meal and dancing and enjoying each others company. It was a perfect evening and a great way to finish our time relaxing in Sydney.

Today, day nine, was the beginning of the end of our trip! We were lucky enough to run into one of our favorite people from Brisbane in the airport this morning, Ally! We are all settled in with our host families in Adelaide and we could not be more grateful to have such wonderful people housing us and caring for us for the next five days. After landing this morning, we went straight to Cabra Catholic to perform and workshop with kids from grade six to grade twelve! They were so welcoming and inviting, and the entire reason we’re in Adelaide to begin with is their music teacher, Saz Burton-Claridge. Saz is unbelievably friendly and helpful and we are so grateful for the work she has put in to make our time here a success. After dinner, we were able to work with the Festival Statesmen, a young barbershop choir that blew us away with their talent, blend, and all-around incredible musicianship. We’ll post a video of them on our Facebook and a link to their page to check them out!

As of right now, we’re all in our host homes getting ready to sleep before a morning of two performances/workshops at Adelaide University and Cornerstone College before our time with our host families tomorrow evening.

Lastly, we’d like to thank everyone who’s been active on our Facebook for all of your support and love. If you would like to see trips like this happen in the future, please donate to our tour fund through https://iufoundation.fundly.com/singinghoosierstravelaustraliacampaign. Every donation will be doubled, and will go into the general Singing Hoosiers Travel Fund to make trips like this a possibility for future students.

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Singing Hoosiers Down Under: Day 5 & 6

Our last two days in Brisbane have come to a close, and we are hopping on a plane in the morning for Sydney! Saturday was spent with the Queensland Show Choir rehearsing and performing for their 30th Anniversary Concert, and Sunday was spent in the Australian Zoo, competing for the best “selfie” with a kangaroo.

Before we leave Brisbane, it seems only fitting to dedicate one of our posts to the Queensland Show Choir. Without them, this trip literally would never have happened. It was their idea to bring us to Australia in the first place, and it took their dedication and initiative and planning to get us here.

Besides being the reason we are in Australia today, they are also the kindest, most generous, most fun-loving people we could ever imagine meeting. Many of their members opened up their homes to us and kept us fed and gave us beds and a substitute family for the week. Besides that, we had members working as tour guides as we went out during the day, and they were with us in the morning to make sure we got off safely on our next adventure. Mick & Kym Strachan led the efforts, and although I’m sure they are just as exhausted as we are, they greet us every morning with a smile on their face. Michael (the sarcastic one) was there to help us figure out what equipment we needed for each performance and make sure that everything got there and back in one piece. Andrew Hay ran sound for many of our shows, and even helped shuffle things back and forth as we traveled around. There are many more names and many more faces that deserve all the recognition we could possibly muster, but I hope that these few words can convey at least a part of how appreciative we are for the people we met this week.

Although we have seen many beautiful sights and had many great experiences this week, the best part for many of us was the people that we got to interact with and the laughs we shared over the course of rehearsals and performances. Not only are they incredible people, they are also amazing singers and performers. We feel truly lucky to have shared the stage with them.

Although we must say our goodbyes tomorrow, we are hopeful that we will meet again. I can safely say for all of us that any member of the Queensland Show Choir will always have a home in the United States, and we hope to come back here someday. Although words cannot truly suffice… Thank you, Queensland Show Choir – we will always have something to sing about because of our time spent with you.

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Singing Hoosiers Down Under: Day 4

Even a little bit of rain doesn’t stop another wonderful day in Brisbane!

This morning, we were taken around the city on a walking tour by some wonderful and knowledgeable Brisbane tour guides, finishing up at South Bank for lunch and sightseeing on our own.

The afternoon was spent at an all-girls “college” (what Americans would call a high school) named Mt. Alvernia with special guests from the partnering all-boys college Padua. The workshop was an incredible success – the students were all engaged and eager and made some highly amusing commentary. We were even able to learn two of their songs from their repertoire and perform them together! At the end, the students gave us all Australia hats as a parting gift – something seemingly small that means a lot to the members of the Singing Hoosiers. Their real gift to us was that they provided us with energy and inspiration that carried on well into the evening!

We got to spend dinner eating a delicious barbecue with the members of the Queensland Show Choir, followed by a rousing game of “footy” between some members of each. Following soccer and supper, we closed out with a rehearsal of our combined pieces for our big show tomorrow night and we were allowed to watch the Queensland choirs perform some of their pieces.

In preparation for their big concert tomorrow night, we have to dedicate some grateful words to the members of the Queensland Show Choir. While we literally would not be here without their invitation, we also would not be sleeping in comfortable beds, well-fed every day, exposed to great music made by local people, and feeling like we have truly found a home away from home. Everyone has been so caring and welcoming, and they have provided us with more than we can ever put into words in just a few short days. They all have a home in Indiana in MA 404 if they should ever choose to take it, and we can’t wait to share the stage with them for their sold-out show tomorrow night.

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Singing Hoosiers Down Under: Day 3

Today can be summed up in one very simple experience. We had a wonderful woman in our community workshop today who is legally blind – she was very engaged, had a beautiful voice, and was extremely kind. Following a performance of one of our songs, she  commented:

Because I’m legally blind, I can’t really see your faces as you perform… but I can feel the joy. I can feel the joy while you sing.

This one comment moved many of us to tears, because we were able to communicate the happiness and love that we feel as a group and as a family through just the way that we sounded and the energy that we were able to exude.

After our all-day community workshop and feature two hour performance at a packed Brisbane City Hall, we are reminded that music is a universal language. Despite any cultural or personal differences, if there is joy or love or song in your heart, it becomes very easy to make connections with friends both new and old. Today, we are grateful to be in Brisbane, we are grateful for the opportunities we have been given, and we are grateful for music for making it all possible.

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Singing Hoosiers Down Under: Day 1 & 2

G’day from the beautiful city of Brisbane, Australia!

After a sixteen hour plane ride, we arrived in Brisbane at approximately 5:30 am on Tuesday morning. We were greeted by the incredible Michael and Kym Strachan from Queensland Show Choirs and some wonderful tour guides to welcome us. Our first day was incredibly successful, with two performances at Queen St. Mall in the early afternoon, a workshop/clinic for teachers from 4-6 pm, and a rehearsal from 7:30-9 pm with the Queensland Show Choir. We received such wonderful feedback from those who saw our performances, and each one gave us the energy we needed to push through any jet lag and continue to share our music and make new music with people across the globe. The people of Brisbane are incredibly friendly and have opened their homes and hearts to us and treated us like family – special thanks goes out to our host families (“billets”) who are housing and feeding all 54 students on the trip.

Our second day started with a bang, visiting the beautiful campus of the University of Queensland, and giving a ‘teaser’ performance for our concert tomorrow night. As you may know, our own Indiana University President Michael McRobbie is an alumnus of University of Queensland! It gave us great pride to be able to share in the beauty of his old campus and work to continue the incredible reputation he has established both for himself and Indiana University in that part of Brisbane. Special thank you to President McRobbie for his support of our tour, and for the time he took out of his busy schedule to speak to us personally in class a few weeks ago. We will have lots of pictures to send his way that we took at some of the greater landmarks on campus.

Afterwards, we headed to the Gold Coast for a (slightly rainy) free afternoon, spent shopping and enjoying the beach and the local cuisine. Our final stop was at the Australian Outback Spectacular, for a horse show and a great meal.

A huge thank you goes out to everyone who has made this trip possible so far – both in the states and abroad. If these last two days have been any indicator of the joy, fellowship, and musical experiences that are to come, we know this will be a once-in-a-lifetime trip.

 

If you would like to see the Singing Hoosiers continue to tour in future years, please consider donating to the Singing Hoosiers Travel Fund through https://iufoundation.fundly.com/singinghoosierstravelaustraliacampaign. All donations received will be doubled by an anonymous benefactor.

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Singing Hoosiers Down Under: Update

Following the completion of our 64th Spring Concert, The Singing Hoosiers have been back to planning and organizing for our upcoming tour of Australia.

We have had two pieces written for us, including one by Queensland Show Choir founder Robert Clark, and have been in rehearsal a few days a week learning and perfecting this wonderful new music. Trip coordinators are in touch with travel agents, and we have been busily booking concerts and setting travel plans and booking flights and hotels. It is looking like a long flight from Dallas Fort-Worth to Brisbane… 16 hours and 5 minutes! We’ll have to get lots of sleep since we’ll have two performances and a workshop the same day we arrive in Australia! We’re especially looking forward to our feature concert in Brisbane at their newly renovated city hall – the performance space was just opened on April 6th and holds 1600 people.

Special thanks to the Queensland Show Choir and all the amazing work that the people in Brisbane have done for us! They have been instrumental in publicizing our shows and raising awareness and excitement for our visit.

Additional thanks goes out to the incredible support we have received from our Singing Hoosiers alumni, particularly the Singing Hoosiers Alumni Council. It is amazing to receive such encouragement and become closer through the bonds of traveling and the Singing Hoosiers family. Speaking of alumni, we are especially excited to welcome Jennifer Gentry, from the Indiana University Alumni Association onto our trip! She will be traveling with us as a trailblazer, figuring out how it might work to bring alums on tours with the Singing Hoosiers. Her support has been wonderful, and we look forward to teaching her our traditions and sharing memories with her.

However, this great trip would not be possible without fundraising. The students have worked to raise almost $9,000, which will be doubled by an anonymous donor to $18,000. We have also received several student scholarships that will help deserving students who may otherwise not have been able to travel with us. Even with this incredible support, we are still in need of almost $30,000. We are seeking corporate sponsors or donors, people wishing to sponsor students, and small-time donors who may find our cause one that they wish to support. The best way to help is to donate through our page on Fundly - every donation made will be doubled by an anonymous donor. The link to donate is below:

https://iufoundation.fundly.com/singinghoosierstravelaustraliacampaign

Even if you are not interested in donating, you can read about the work that the Singing Hoosiers are doing and will continue to do, and even explore some of the students’ personal pages to read their thoughts on the group and the amazing experience we have been offered.

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Australian Hospitality

Following the announcement of the Singing Hoosiers’ trip to Australia, we received a tremendous response. As students, we feel very honored to be invited, but we are also honored by the many people that have supported and continue to support the work that we do on a daily basis. One of the most unexpected things that we found was the amount of Australians and members of the Queensland Show Choir that have reached out to us through email or through our Facebook page to show their support.

Our promotional video that we sent to Queensland and posted on our Facebook page has reached almost 11,000 people and has comments like “We are very excited about you guys visiting sunny Queensland ! Can’t wait!” and “We can’t wait to meet you guys.”

Another great response was this one, from Rhonda Coady from Brisbane:

Excited to learn the Singing Hoosiers will be visiting us (The Queensland Show Choir) in Brisbane for our 30th Anniversary celebrations. The Show Choir was inspired by the Hoosiers. Since their last visit in the late 80s, hundreds of young Australians have entertained themselves and others with the kind of dynamic performances learned from their example. ‘Thank you’ from one who spent 25 years training the younger ones in the tradition.

Needless to say, we are feeling a lot of love from our Singing Hoosier family, both here and overseas, and we look forward to continuing to plan, fundraise, and promote our upcoming tour to Australia.

Check out our first promotional video here!

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G’Day Mate!

That’s right… The Singing Hoosiers are headed to the Land Down Under to tour for two and a half weeks in May of 2014. We are so honored to have been invited by the Queensland Show Choir (check them out: http://www.queenslandshowchoir.com.au) as part of their 30th anniversary celebration. We will be spending time in Brisbane, Adelaide, and Sydney, performing, giving clinics, and sightseeing around the amazing continent of Australia.

In order to make this trip a reality, our next few months will be filled with lots of fundraising and trip planning, but we’re willing and ready to take on any challenges that come our way. We look forward to blogging about both the process of preparing for the trip as well as the trip itself. Keep up with our blog & stay informed as The Singing Hoosiers take on Australia!

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