Choirs, Choristers & the Coming of Christmas

(Credit: Saviour of the Nations Lutheran Church)

The Camberwell Chorale, one of the oldest community choirs in Australia and has been making music in Melbourne (and beyond), ever since it was founded in 1944. This remarkable achievement is founded on the dedication of its numerous choristers past and present, and the creative contributions of the many talented repetiteurs, soloists, and orchestral players who have collaborated in its performances (often for negligible financial reward). Above all, the choir’s continuing vitality and success can be credited to the talent and energy of the two remarkable men who have guided the choir’s fortunes since its inception. The founding director of the Chorale – originally named the Camberwell Philharmonic Society – was Dr Herman Schildberger, who came to Australia in the late 1930s as a refugee from Germany, where he had already established a successful musical career prior to the rise of Nazism. In Melbourne, he quickly became active in a wide range of positions including Musical Director for the Temple Beth Israel, Director of the National Theatre Opera School, Conductor of the State Service Orchestra, occasional conductor of the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, and director of several other choirs. Under Dr Schildberger’s leadership, the Chorale performed many classical and contemporary choral works (some performed for the first time in Australia), in various Melbourne venues including St Paul’s Cathedral, the Melbourne Town Hall, and the Great Hall of the National Gallery of Victoria. ( Below is a photo of the interior of St Paul's, Melbourne.

Since 1974, the Camberwell Chorale has been led by Douglas Heywood, who has built on the traditions established during the first 30 years of the choir’s history. A choir member, soloist and deputy conductor during Dr Schildberger’s era, Doug brought his own infectious enthusiasm and special commitment to music education to the position. At the time of his appointment, Doug was also Director of Music at Norwood High School, and later became a Lecturer in Music Education at the University of Melbourne. He has also been active in a range of other positions while in charge at Camberwell, including directorship at various times of the Caulfield City Choir, the Victorian State Singers, the Melbourne Welsh Male Voice Choir, and the annual Carols by Candlelight choir at the Myer Music Bowl. In 1994, he was awarded an OAM for his contributions to music in Australia. Soon after becoming musical director of the choir – known officially as the Camberwell Chorale since 1977 – Doug Heywood established the Camerata Orchestra, which has performed regularly with the choir ever since, presenting major choral works in their original orchestral form, along with many notable soloists.(

(Credit: Grace Baptist Church, Evans)

(Credit: West Gallery Music Association)

In researching this topic I found a wonderful site which I highly recommend you visit. This is a direct link to their Art Gallery. The West Gallery Music Association is an informal group of singers, instrumentalists and scholars. We share an interest in the sacred music, psalmody and hymnody, and the secular music and dance of the men and women who performed from the west galleries of parish churches, in chapels, and around the towns and villages of England during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Although our interests mainly centre on this period and form of music in the United Kingdom, we are also interested in many aspects of the history and popular culture of the English-speaking world which have influenced or been influenced by our musical and singing traditions. Abroad, we have active members in Australia and the United States.(


The Hero Image today is Village Choristers by John Massey Wright (1777-1866).

Advent 19 December

Our Advent image is another spectacular view of outer space from the Hubble Telescope.