History of the Canberra Youth Singers
The choir was founded by Judith Clingan in 1967, and inspired by her enormous creative energy and commitment, the choir grew rapidly. Over the years, the structure of the choir inevitably changed to meet the needs of the time. Beginning with two choral groups, it eventually increased to eleven groups in four locations. Some of the musical directors at that time included Mary Tatchell, Helen Cornwall and Susan Staines. In 1992 the choir consisted of seven choral groups with ages ranging from 3 to 20 years. This gradually changed to the present structure of the choir.
In 1994, the Cantabile and Camerata choirs toured Adelaide, singing at various churches and schools. This was just one part of several years of preparation for the choir's tour of Scandinavia in 1995. The girls were at a very high standard, and under the direction of conductors Jon Beaumont, Olle Palmquist, Victoria Jakhelln, manager Maureen Foster, and accompanist Sally Whitwell, the tour was a huge success.
The choir has also formed part of the huge community choir in the Canberra Festival productions of "Dante's Inferno", "Songs of Fire" and "The Dreamkeeper". In 1996 they performed in "Holst's Planets" and as choral background in the ballet "A Midsummer Night's Dream".
1997 welcomed the choir's new conductors Johanna McBride, Rowan Martin and Kristen Clark as well as pianist Brian Cousins. Sadly, that year also brought the end of the choir's annual Sunday concert at the High Court, caused by the closing of the venue on weekends. 1998 was a year of new beginnings, the Choir’s Annual Sunday concert was moved to the National Gallery, the choir has performed at the young Australian of the Year ceremony and started the Canberra Youth Choral Festival. This year we are looking forward to many new experiences and making our second Canberra Youth Choral festival as good as it can be. This year also saw Kristen Clark demanding a holiday but promising she would be back, so we said welcome to Bekk Liang and our two training conductors Nikola Frencham and Sonia Anfiloff.
Many traditions have been kept within the choir such as it's yearly weekend camps and Pleasant Sunday Afternoon concert, building rapport and cohesiveness among choristers and music staff. The choir also continues it's association with Duntroon, performing at graduation services and their Nine Lessons and Carols service.
When Judith Clingan founded the choir it was called The Canberra Children's Choir but to acknowledge the fact that our older choristers were no longer considered children the name was changed in 1996. What hasn't changed is the aim of fostering and developing musical skills in children and young adults, and our striving for excellence in performance. The philosophy of the Choir is that every child has musical abilities which can be developed given the right environment and encouragement.