All posts by simon

Choir & Coronavirus

Choir is in recess for the duration

– a letter from Wendy

Dear lovely Mainesong,

There will be NO rehearsal this Monday and onwards until further notice.

I am taking it upon myself to officially call Mainesong to recess for the period of time we need to get through this crisis.

We were heartened and very positive last Monday when we made an attempt to set some temporary measures in place while we proposed to meet for the next 4 weeks. Thankyou David, for your communication summary. This was optimistic and I have really appreciated your sentiment of loyalty with each other, our choir as a whole, and, of course, to me.

We are a group of wonderful people, who love getting together and singing. Every week, I am uplifted by it also. We know that it’s the ultimate nourishment for our souls and also for our health and well-being. So, it is very important, not only that we look after ourselves in our ‘distancing’, but remain as in touch as possible via other means, over this critical period of time.

I have some ideas, that I am hoping to implement concerning staying in touch, over the next few months. Fun, of course! Surely, there is no end to the creative imagination in dealing with communication. I will also have plenty of time to arrange music for our choir and you never know, perhaps I could compose a piece…the sky is the limit. I remain positive.

Please take very good care of yourselves and others around if you can and/or need to. There are also good things to come as a result of this unprecedented time. Please email me for a chat now and then. I would love that.

– Wendy

I Am Australian – & practice track

The Seekers

Dear Choir

I promised these things for you to rehearse with. Better late than never!

    • The Seekers singing ‘I am Australian, that I transcribed from. The rhythm of the lyrics should be pretty similar. So…copy away. Sing along with The Seekers!
    • Please remember..I would like it off by heart, so we really can sing from the heart.
    • Lingmarra, will be sung unison once and then with all harmonies the second time.
    • Also, I want to let you know that Lingmarra has been approved by Uncle Rick and it turns out that the council and the indigenous people around are very pleased and moved by our voicing, concern and care with the preparations for this event. They have been working very hard to change things for this day, slowly and sensitively and have been successful, especially in this shire. They have agreed to relay two statements will also be read before we perform, that are important to us. Thankyou for all your wonderful integrity in this process.

SEE YOU SUNDAY at 8.40 for a warm-up. 

– Wendy

note: the lyrics and score are both now in the Scores Gallery


Wendy Returns & Concert 26th January

Hello lovely Mainesong Choir

Some of you may know that I have already returned to Australia, and am settling back into Castlemaine to begin the new year. I am home earlier than expected but have had an amazing time, and perhaps fortuitously AS….

We (Mainesong) have been asked to sing with Corker Orchestra,
on Australia Day, 26th January!

I’m sorry it’s come up so quickly, but I have said yes, and will now gather available voices for the choir. This event is the yearly ceremony to officially welcome new citizens in this country.

I know that you have been having a wonderful time with Scott again, while I’ve been away. I can’t wait to hear what you’ve been doing. Scott and I have spoken and, given this event is coming up, he is happy for me to resume taking the choir for rehearsals on 13th/20th January, as you were expecting, and then early Feb. as we originally planned.

This event which is taking place with much respect to positive changes in respectful attitudes towards our First Nation history. I feel that the inclusion of our community musical groups will be a wonderful spirit to add to the occasion and continue to build bridges for these these positive changes. We have a powerful voice. It was lovely to be asked.

Janey has been liaising with the council and has written this for us, on my request, to help describe the morning’s occassion.

‘The celebration of Australia Day has long been one of contention with the early Europeans claiming ownership in 1788 of “Terra nullius” – nobody’s land. In fact Australia has been occupied by indigenous people for some 65,000 years which predates human settlement of Europe and the Americas.

The Australia Day event held here in Castlemaine celebrates the induction of new Australian citizens but also includes traditions which are and always have been very important to our First Nation people. These include “Welcome to Country” where custodians invite other groups onto their traditional land. This ceremony is lead by an elder, in our case Uncle Rick Nelson who is a Jaara Jaara man from the Dja Djawurrung language group. A smoking ceremony then follows which has cleansing properties and the ability to ward off bad spirits.

The song which will be sung by the MaineSong choir and accompanied by Corker Orchestra is “I am Australian”. This song acknowledges so much about Australia from our First Nation people to convicts, pioneer women, poets and artists and the diversity of our climate, geography and of course cultures.’

I have been working hard on an arrangement for the song, ‘I am Australian’, which was requested by the organisers, to be performed by the choir and orchestra. We will also sing another song, which I’m still contemplating. We will need to learn the words off by heart if possible, so check out one of the recordings available on utube. Perhaps Simon might put it online. I will send lyrics. There is an extra verse to most recordings, I have decided to include.

By the way, I would be happy to expand the choir for this performance if you would like to invite anyone who is interested. They will need to attend both rehearsals though, if possible.

I will need to confirm voices asap. The music will not be difficult and learnable by reading the lyrics.

Times & Dates

Event: Sunday, January 26th
Time: 9.00am, for 9.45am performance
Place: Victory Park
Rehearsals: 13th and 20th January, 7.45-9.45pm,
Rehearsal Venue: Campbell’s Creek Community Centre

Please confirm your participation with an email to me, thanks.

Mainesong & Corker Concert

Mainesong/Corker Concert
Campbell’s Creek Community Centre

September 9th 2019
6.30 – 8.30pm


Corker: Monsoon Wedding
Mainesong: Somebody’s knocking
Corker: It’s been a Hard day’s night
Mainesong: If I had words
Mainesong: Since first I saw your face
Corker: Tango Idishe
Corker: Lustig Hasidim
Mainesong: Durme, Durme
Mainesong: Mas que Nada
Corker: Carmen

Interval & Supper: 30 mins

Mainesong: Bohemian Rhapsody
Corker: Watermelon Man
Corker: In the mood
Corker: (Begin the Beguine?)
Mainesong: Bogoroditse Devo
Corker & Mainesong: Mambo Italiana

Introductions: James/Scott/Thankyous

Mainesong: Lonesome Road
Corker: Gymnopédie


and a printable programme, here …

Mas Que Nada

Lyrics, translation & history

The Story of “Mas que Nada”

Oariá raiô Obá Obá Obá
Oariá raiô Obá Obá Obá

[An invocation of the orixá Obá?]

Mas que Nada
Sai da minha frente
Eu quero passar
Pois o samba está animado
O que eu quero é sambar.

It’s nothing
Get out of my way
I want to pass
Because the samba is exciting
What I want is samba.

Este samba
Que é misto de maracatu
É samba de preto velho
Samba de preto tu.

This samba
Is mixed maracatu
It’s old black samba
Samba in black for you.

Mas que Nada
Um samba como esse tão legal
Você não vai querer
Que eu chegue no final.

It’s nothing
A samba like this, so cool
You will not want
To reach the end.

Oariá raiô Obá Obá Obá
Oariá raiô Obá Obá Obá


Vocal Jump Start!

An afternoon of gorgeous singing and song, in the Gospel and World Music traditions

The workshop, led by Melbourne-based Annemarie Sharry (South Of The River Choir) and Tracey Miller (Victorian College of the Arts and The Dusty Millers), will include basic vocal technique, fun warm games and rounds, soundscapes, improvisation and 3-4 part harmony World Music repertoire for mixed voices of all ages and abilities!


  • Annemarie Sharry is offering a singing workshop in Castlemaine, which should be terrific.
  • Some of us have seen the dynamic, groovy choir, South Of The River, at Daylesford Singers’ Festival.
  • At this stage Saturday August 17 (probably 2.00 – 4.00 or 4.30) is the most likely date – to be confirmed, when we see how many people would like to come along.
  • The cost wd be $20/$15.

Could you please let me know as soon as possible (pref straight away) if you are interested.

Thanks, Judy


Algunas Bestias

Terry found a recording of the original performance of Canto General, with Theodorakis conducting. From this I’ve extracted the 3 movements of Algunas Bestias (formerly known as Eric). The first movement we’ve performed, the second ‘slow movement’ we’re learning, and the third we haven’t got to yet. Here are the three, as audio tracks …

Algunas Bestias 1st mvt – Iguana
Algunas Bestias 2nd mvt – slow – Caimanes
Algunas Bestias 3rd mvt

Canto General Slow Movement

SATB & T Practice Tracks

Here are two audio tracks that may help get a handle on the Tunes of Eric (sometimes known as the Canto General)

  • the first is for SATB minus the solo, ie. the choir only
  • the second is the Tenor track, minus SAB and solo
  • on both tracks you’ll notice the lead-in clicks where the soloist fits
  • we may be able to get the other parts rendered this way if there is interest, please let me know
  • there is a discrepancy in the lengths of the two tracks (Tenor is a few seconds longer), changes have been made to the arrangement that aren’t yet reflected in the tracks, I’ll sort this before long

Full choir: SATB minus solo

Tenor: minus SAB & solo