A Chorus of Women – Events
Peace is not merely an absence of war
Peace is the nurture of human life
Yes, peace is the nurture of life!
A Chorus of Women marked the centenary of the WWI Armistice with a sell-out, standing-ovation performance of The People’s Passion at the Australian Centre for Christianity and Culture. Our big choral drama moved singers and audience alike, sparking much reflection about the contribution music and great wise stories could make to Peace on Earth now.
The People’s Passion, written by Glenda Cloughley, tells the poetic history of a global web of daring women from warring and neutral nations who set a 100-year agenda for international law and human rights when they met with the goal of ending WWI and enabling permanent peace.
With Johanna McBride directing, 50 passionate Canberrans sang in the women’s and children’s choruses alongside Narrator Miriam Pickard and vocal soloists and instrumentalists who included some of the city’s finest musicians.
Although the performance was one of six concerts and numerous other events on the centenary of the WW1 Armistice, it proved a popular choice for Canberrans, perhaps looking for a new narrative to that provided by the usual war commemorations. The ACC&C Chapel was full to overflowing with an audience of some 250 seated in the main hall – spilling out into one of the outside alcoves – and the upstairs gallery.
Photo by John Mitchell, The Eastlaker
The performance started with the ringing of the large bell outside the Chapel to represent the peace bells sounding on 11 November 1918, and ended with the audience joining in singing a citizens commitment to peace and, finally, the same bell sounding hope for peace in the future.
Children's chorus (photo by Lynnette Audsley)
Storytellers Meg Rigby, Judith Clingan and Glenda Cloughley with Jenny Sawer as the Poet Nurse Mary Borden (photo by Lynnette Audsley)
The performance was attended by the Belgian Ambassador, His Excellency Mr Marc Mullie, the Deputy Head of Mission the Austrian Embassy, Dr Johannes Aigner, and ACC&C Director, Rt Revd Professor Stephen Pickard. Audience members were very engaged and moved — rising for an instant and lengthy standing ovation at the end.
This visionary story of the peaceful world we want for our children is Glenda's reworking of the highly successful 2015 community oratorio A Passion for Peace, which we performed during our five-day Festival for Peace at the end of April 2015 to mark the centenary of the 1915 International Congress of Women. See ‘Meet the women who dared to change the world’ for further historical information.
See the 'What's New' page for details of our 2019 performances.
Some of Canberra's leading musicians joined A Chorus of Women to perform The People’s Passion. Internationally renowned soprano Louise Page OAM sang the role of Jane Addams, Nobel Peace Laureate and President of the 1915 and 1919 International Congresses of Women, in one of the final Canberra performances of her retirement year.
Louise Page sings Nobel Peace Laureate Jane Addams, President of the 1915 International Congress of Women (photo by Lynnette Audsley)
Other cast members included mezzo-soprano AJ America as Dr Aletta Jacobs, The Netherlands’ first woman doctor who initiated the Congress; soprano Jenny Sawer as the great grandmother and poet nurse Mary Borden; mezzo-soprano Julia Wee as Australian pacifist Vida Goldstein; contralto Martje Sevenster as Julia Grace Wales, a young academic from the University of Wisconsin and author of a plan to end the war through mediation by neutral countries; Judith Clingan AM, Meg Rigby and Glenda Cloughley as storytellers.
The cast also included a children’s choir prepared by national treasure Judith Clingan AM, and a small ensemble of well-known Canberra instrumentalists, including Max McBride on double bass, Tim Hollo on viola, Gillian Pereira on cello, Fiona Dickson on flute and Lucus Allerton on the piano.
Instrumentalists (photo by Lynnette Audsley)
Miriam narrating (photo by Lynnette Audsley)
A Chorus of Women thanks Lynnette Audsley for generously donating photography services (see a gallery of photos from the rehearsal and performance - coming soon). We are also grateful to Bernard Parker for his ever-generous support for Chorus — on this occasion for audio recording (listen to some excerpts of the performance - coming soon).
Media Coverage, Reviews and Reflections of The People’s Passion
Eminent Australian cellist and composer David Pereira reviewed the 2018 performance and Canberra musician Alison Craswell sent a reflection.
Listen to Rachael Kohn’s interview with Glenda Cloughley and Johanna McBride on Radio National’s program The Spirit of Things.
Listen to Sophie Singh’s extended interview with Janet Salisbury, Johanna McBride and Glenda Cloughley on 2XX (two half-hour broadcasts)
Read Steve Evans’ preview in The Canberra Times
Here are some comments from audience members:
‘I never knew about the WW1 women’s peace movement, and I think it is so important for people to know because we grow so despondent in today’s culture about the way to actively work for peace.’
‘The People’s Passion was a brilliant piece of music drama!’
‘I have always believed that art is the path to higher understanding of our humanity, and the key link to humans reaching further to improve and develop culture. Which is why I would come again. Thank you so much for your work.’
‘The People's Passion performance was tremendous. It combined the amazing history of the 1915 Women's Conference with a stunning choral performance by the Chorus of Women, and the children's choir. I'd certainly attend again.’
‘Last night was really superb, and I must admit the tears flowed. I believe art is the bridge to higher spiritual life – so thank you for providing opportunities for that bridge!’ (from the mother of a boy in the Children’s Chorus)
‘The historical conversation always comes back to the desire for peace – if this was always the first step then maybe the wars wouldn’t proceed. I think it is important to have more discussion – why didn’t the [women’s] movement get more traction – would it be different today? Before any Government commits forces to arenas of battle there should be discussion with a Women’s Peace Movement.’
‘There is not enough talk/action about actually achieving peace as a primary outcome, without battle. We should encourage and foster greater knowledge of the history, actions and philosophy of the Women’s Peace Movement – perhaps a chance to highlight this is International Women’s Day events as a start to the conversation. Then there is the potential to talk to the upcoming generation whom I’m sure are not aware of this part of history.’
‘My guests found the performance very moving and many commented they had tears in their eyes particularly at the end.’
‘Congratulations on a fabulous performance. I loved hearing that beautiful music and the powerful words once again, and I just had to sing along (very quietly) to some of it!’ (From a singer in our 2015 Passion.)
‘I took my elderly mother (95 in January) who served in the WAAF in WW2 and whose father was in the Light Horse in the middle east in WW1. She found it hard to hear [has a hearing aid] … However, she got enough of it to be quite profoundly moved and thanked me again and again for taking her. I also found it musically and emotionally very moving. I will look out for your concert next year, and will bring mum, assuming she is still with us.’
‘I thought the whole event, the performance, the content, the ambience in the room, the music especially, and the poetry inherent in it all, was just wonderful. I came along to help commemorate a very important world event which, had its message been heeded, could have spared so much death and suffering. The message for our own era is unmistakable. I would certainly attend a similar event again. I had read previously about the WW1 women's peace movement. How typical of men (and not just of that era) to ignore the good sense of the women of the day.’
‘The Passion is rousing and moving and it makes me almost believe women’s voices can rise up and make a difference. Almost! What a grand vision.’
‘I wonder whether you have approached the Australian War Museum (or the National Museum?) to have a reference to the 1915 conference included in the relevant section of heir displays?’
‘I congratulate you all on a most professional performance - probably the best of all our efforts. I did appreciate how the women's stories came to the fore so loudly and clearly. Pity they were so ignored and over-run by the men, as they are to this very day. It was this fact that hit me the hardest.’
List of past events
Click below for Chorus presentations by year.
Read here about:
- The People's Passion
- Canberra World Peace Bell
- Wisdom Conversations
- Singing paper for Feminist Utopias, Past , Present and Future conference
- Mission Climate! - a fundraiser for the Climate Council
- Festival for Peace featuring A Passion for Peace
- Sing for Peace - Walk for Climate
- Break the Silence - rally for refugees
- Musical Offering concert at the High Court
- A Chorus of Women 10th Anniversary
- Canberra Centenary CD
- Anzac Eve Peace Vigils
- Ethos 50th anniversary celebrations, 15 December 2011
- The Gifts of the Furies
- Canberra Conversations
- 'Longing for Wisdom on our Changing Climate'
- 'On the Edge of Silence'
- Chorus and climate change
- The UNIFEM Spring Walk 2007
- International Women's Day 2007
- The CD of A Chorus of Women
MISSION CLIMATE! met our goal of bringing music and science into harmony, with ‘inspiring’, ‘informative’, ‘wonderful’ the most-used words in responses from presenters and audience. All the money raised has gone directly to help sustain the Climate Council’s provision of authoritative climate information.
Founded in 2013, when 20,000 citizens donated $1 million through crowd-funding within a week of the Federal Government abolishing the Climate Commission, the Climate Council still relies on public donations to produce reports, webinars and public forums. See www.climatecouncil.org.au.
Community pride in supporting the Council seemed to unite everyone who filled the Australian Centre for Christianity and Culture (ACC&C), where A Chorus of Women is in residence. Led by MCs Janet Salisbury from Chorus and ABC Radio’s Lish Fejer, we began by honouring Earth. We then set out through the anxiety of watching and waiting, listening to calls to action and inspiration from singers, scientists and people directly affected by climate change. We arrived together at possibilities for wisdom and regeneration that seem ripe for activation, given the way audience voices leapt to join the singing in The Reconciliation music from A Chorus of Women’s mythic climate change drama, The Gifts of the Furies, which finishes with a 21st century setting of the 2500-year-old Hymn to Gaia.
Climate Councillor Professor Will Steffen gave the first of several brief, moving reflections on the personal experience of living with knowledge about climate change.
The MISSION CLIMATE! program included music from Canberra choir The Cyrenes, Nitya Bernard Parker and friends, Kirsten Duncan, Maartje Sevenster, and a fine instrumental ensemble as well as selections from A Chorus of Women’s large repertoire of songs – all directed by Johanna McBride.
Violinist and conductor Rowan Harvey-Martin introduced her vision for The Blue Planet Orchestra in a moving tribute to her daughter and other young people who carry worries about climate change because their parents’ generation is not yet acting responsibly for the long-term future. A related message came from Abuera Uruaaba, a senior lawyer in the Pacific Republic of Kiribati, where climate-linked rises in sea level threaten the island home of future generations.
Singer and environmental consultant Dr Maartje Sevenster said she felt ‘uplifted by the shared understanding and experience’ of the evening. CSIRO senior research scientist Dr Nicky Grigg spoke of the delight of many a Chorus event since she brought her voice and clarinet to our climate change drama in the 2007 program of National Science Week.
The evening included a short video on the plight of the Great Barrier Reef, featuring Climate Councillor Professor Tim Flannery and Climate Council CEO Amanda McKenzie. Graeme Kelleher AO, the first Chairman and CEO of the Great Barrier Marine Park Authority, described MISSION CLIMATE! as ‘an inspiring event’. ‘I hope its message will spread quickly through our community,’ he said in relation to the need for action that requires governments to replace short-term priorities with wise, forceful action to stop climate change.
Professor Stephen Pickard, Executive Director of the ACC&C, gave a personal reflection as a member of the inter-faith group Australian Religious Response to Climate Change. Thanking the Chorus for the inspiring and moving evening, he said: ‘When music and the arts join with science and the sacred the whole is always more than the sum of the parts.’ Quoting the ancient writer of Ecclesiastes who observed that a threefold cord cannot easily be broken, he said Mission Climate was just such a threefold cord ‘and a great encouragement’.
Writing to Chorus after the event, Professor Steffen thanked us for the ‘wonderful event’ and reported this lasting impression: ‘I was struck by how we humans have a very long tradition of using singing as a way of expressing our feelings about the rest of the living world, and about the Earth itself,’ he said. ‘And although earlier societies and indigenous cultures around the world could not have had the modern scientific understanding of the Earth System, their songs had not only the word "Earth" in them, but also showed a really deep understanding of the Earth as a single, complex system and that we humans are embedded in it. Our scientific understanding has come really late! And the songs composed by the Chorus do a wonderful job of flow effortlessly from these earlier pieces of music, and remind us of the very long relationship we've had with the rest of the Earth System around us.’
Click here to read a selection of the many comments we received after the event.
Click here to see the report of our even on the Climate Council website.
Click here to see photos taken at the final rehearsal and on the night of the fundraiser.
Click here to download a program.
Festival for Peace featuring A Passion for Peace
Our major project for 2015 brought a radically fresh, life-enhancing perspective to First World War commemorations. At the end of April, A Chorus of Women presented a 5-day Festival for Peace featuring music, public forums, conversations, a 1-day workshop hosted by the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom on the theme Women’s Power to Stop War, storytelling for children, schools events, displays and more.
The festival was inspired by over 1200 women from 12 warring and neutral nations who established a framework for permanent peace and great advances in international law and institutions when they met in The Hague for the International Congress of Women, which was the only international peace conference of the First World War.
The centrepiece of the festival was premiere performances of A Passion for Peace by the Canberra composer-librettist and Jungian analyst Dr Glenda Cloughley. The Passion is a choral drama that enlivens the classical tradition of oratorio to create a vibrant form of community participation in the great issues of our time. The oratorio surrounds the history of this remarkable congress with present day stories of the grief and trauma of war, which is still reverberating down the generations from Gallipoli to the present day, and our responsibility to future generations. The voices of soloists sound from among a Citizens’ Chorus to reflect that the first homes of civic and international harmony are families and communities.
The 1200 women who gathered in The Hague knew this and wrote it into their resolutions that gave a method of continuous mediation to end the First World War together with the principles of permanent peace. These resolutions heralded the great advances in human rights and international law since 1915, including the criminalisation of women’s violation in war, and the establishment of the League of Nations (later the UN) and the International Court of Justice.
Exactly 100 years after the International Congress of Women, we presented the premiere season of A Passion for Peace in Albert Hall with a large chorus of Canberra women, a children’s chorus, a men’s ensemble, some of Canberra’s best known soloists (including Louise Page, Angela Giblin, Christina Wilson, Jenny Sawer, Margaret Sim and Judy Clingan) and some of Canberra’s finest instrumentalists, under the musical direction of Johanna McBride. The production was supported by a grant from artsACT grant.
Purchase a copy of the DVD for $25. Postage is $5 or you can arrange pick up:
Northside - Meg Rigby ((0406 375 482)
Southside - Sarah Stitt (0432 867 017)
Bank details for electronic transfer are on our Contacts page.
View our FESTIVAL PROGRAM.
Read a report of the festival by Marilyn Chalkley and Glenda Cloughley.
Read a transcript of a radio interview with the Netherlands Ambassador, who opened the Thursday night performance of A Passion for Peace.
On 21 September 2014, the International Day for Peace, A Chorus of Women joined a global citizens' call for action on climate change which saw more than 600 000 people in the streets around the world. Locally, we joined a 'festival of community action', working together with a coalition of climate groups including the Australian Youth Climate Coalition.
We started our event at the top of Dairy Farmers Hill with a 'Call to Peace' and peace meditation lead by Dru Yoga. Then we lead a singing walk of around 70 people down to the Village Centre, where we did a flash mob style action to sing songs for peace and care for the Earth. See a report by Sarah Stitt and photos at this page.
On Palm Sunday, 13 April 2014, at 1pm, A Chorus of Women sang at this rally attended by around 3000 people which brought together a broad range of citizens' voices to speak out for a humane treatment of asylum seekers and refugees. Speakers included former Catholic Bishop Pat Power and Mustafa Jawadi, a young Afghani asylum seeker. The rally was organised by the Refugee Action Committee and supported by churches, unions, Labor for Refugees, the Greens and others. We presented our song 'Lest We Forget' with a focus on the treatment of asylum seekers, and two new songs written for this occasion, 'The Deep Red Heart of Our Country' by Honey Nelson and 'A Home Away from Home' by Johanna McBride. Click here to see pictures, lyrics and hear the recordings.
As part of the Canberra Centenary Musical Offering program, A Chorus of Women presented this concert at the Australian High Court. Some of Canberra's finest singers and instrumentalists joined us in the beautiful space of the High Court foyer. We called our concert 'Seasons of Renewal - Lawsongs in the High Court'. Click here to read the foreword and list of participants. This was the program.
Our mission reflects a deep commitment to express, through music, our shared longing for a just and harmonious future. Our program on 1 December included a selection of our original songs that give voice to citizen concerns and longings for peace, and care for each other and our environment.
You can watch an excerpts from the concert, 'The Hymn to Gaia' below. The lyrics are a modern translation by Jill Hayman of the Homeric Hymn to the Earth - c 500 BC
For our anniversary concert 'Open the Doors of the Chambers' we were joined in the Foyer of Parliament House by several Government Ministers and inspiring Arab women leaders. The concert opened with the Lament we sang ten years ago for the people of Iraq. Programs with lyrics of our songs will be available at the information desk in the foyer.
Click here to hear a recording of the song in the Australian War Memorial.
Click here to read a Canberra Times article about the event by Ian Warden.
Click on the image to enlarge
|In our 10th anniversary year and the Canberra Centenary year we also launched a CD with classical, jazz-rock and community versions of the song 'I Am Ethos' as a centenary gift to our hometown. We hope it will get you singing and maybe creating your own version. Click to hear sound bites of all three versions and download sheet music of the a cappella and the community versions. Contact us to order a CD.|
The Anzac Eve Peace Vigils have become a Canberra tradition. We have participated in this event every year since its inception in 2011 and will join again 2018. In this event we seek to remember not only the soldiers who lost their lives, but all victims of war and violence. We bring our lament and longings to the commemorations and try and find ways to peace.
In 2014 as well as participating in the Vigil we hosted a conversation with the title 'Remembering war - seeking peace' on 15 April, 6pm at Manning Clark House (for more information see below). Click on the image to download the 2014 flyer:
On 24 April 2013, A Chorus of Women gathered musicians and poets for the third Vigil. As in previous years the Vigil event began with a ceremony at sunset on the top of Mt Ainslie. Ivan Roberts, Minister of City Uniting Church wrote a beautiful peace about the 2013 ceremony. Click here to read it. Click here to view a photo gallery of of the 2013 Vigil.
This was followed by a lantern-lit procession down the bush track past the Aboriginal War Memorial Grove.
After the procession we gathered in Remembrance Park at the foot of the mountain to eat and sing. All present joined us in song, growing the citizens' chorus which is helping to re-imagine our commemoration of Australia's war history. Our focus is on remembering the dead together with the environmental destruction and traumatic impacts of war, which touch nearly all Australian families -- including Aboriginal people, refugees and migrants.
In addition to songs from our repertoire which included a new song written for the occasion, we had contributions from Canberra musicians Jenny Sawer and her band Freyja's Rain, Winiata Puru, Andrew Purdam, Nitya Bernard Parker, Daniel McFeeley and Alinta Barlow. Poets for Peace led by John Collard contributed poems from their latest collection.
After that we walked to the front of the Australian War Memorial where we sang Honey Nelson's Anzac Eve Hymn, a song which honours the war dead and expresses our longing for a peaceful future for humanity. Then we walked down the centre of Anzac Parade to the Vigil site outside the Anzac Park West building. There we shared stories, songs and conversation for building a peaceful future. Click here to download a flyer. Please contact us if you interested in buying an Anzac Eve Songbook.
Click here to read Annie Didcott's account of the inaugural Anzac Eve Peace Vigil in 2011 t written for the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF).Click here for a video of the first Anzac Eve Peace Vigil in 2011.
Civic Square, Canberra 5.30 - 7.15pm Thursday 15 December 2011
This event included a ceremony, stories and songs to renew the meaning of Ethos as the spirit of our community. Click here to view an invitation.
This spirit touched the Legislative Assembly with ACT Chief Minister Katy Gallagher among the MLAs from all three parties joining to co-sponsor the celebration.
Created at a time when Canberra was more plan than metropolis, the future spirit that master sculptor Tom Bass dreamed into the form of Ethos is our city's first and best loved artwork. Along with words he heard her speak during his 90th year in 2005, she continues to inspire our citizens' chorus. We often include her in our community events for peace and caring for the Earth.
If you attended one of our performances of The Gifts of the Furies -- Glenda's mythic story-song about relations between people and Earth -- you will have heard the 'I am Ethos' song and seen Ethos come to life as an embodiment of community wisdom. On 15 December, Ethos was again sung by Judith Clingan, our gloriously voiced musician-composer who has taught thousands of Canberrans to love singing.
Tom Bass regarded Ethos as the most significant of all his public sculptures. In his autobiography, he wrote: "I saw my task as being to create an emblem that would express the real possibilities of a place like Canberra. I began with a saucer-like base ... In that bowl you can see the Burley Griffin plan and the topographical features of Canberra. The figure rises up out of this. She wears a garment and its fabric is the people of Canberra, the ever-changing community... She is winged, which expresses the spirit of the place."
Click here to read Ethos's substantial citation in the ACT Heritage Register, including more notes on her symbolism, and quotes from newspapers of 1959 - 61 at. For more information about Ethos read Glenda Cloughley's paper Looking at Ethos.
Glenda Cloughley’s big story song about climate change is perhaps the first Australian artwork to recognise the mythic scale of the climate change crisis. In beautiful new poetry and music it portrays the predicament of everyone including the artist whose soul is possessed by the fate of the age. Like the myth of the Eumenides the Greek poet Aeschylus dramatized in The Oresteian Trilogy, the new work moves from the dark core of our present situation on the warming Earth towards the possibility of harmony between people and nature.
To hear the big voice of our Citizens' Chorus in the Finale of the work, click here.
On 30 October 2011 at 10am presented The Gifts of the Furies at City Uniting Church, Northbourne Avenue, Canberra as an act of worship to a congregation of 200. This was part of a series of events at the church in October under the title 'Caring for Creation'. Click here for more information.
This performance followed our participation in last year's climate change forum at City Uniting Church. Other presenters were Bishop George Browning, former Anglican bishop of Canberra and Goulburn and Dr. John Williams, NSW Commissioner of Natural Resources and member of the Wentworth Group of Concerned Scientists. Click here for a printable flyer.
The 2010 performances were presented by A Chorus of Women in partnership with the Museum of Australian Democracy at Old Parliament House on 11, 18 and 25 September. The project was supported by a grant from ArtsACT. All three performances were booked out two weeks before the premiere.
Click here for more background on the story and the structure of the work.
Click here for a two-page printable flier.
We sang and played this ancient and new storysong in Kings Hall, with a procession into the House of Representatives, for the Trial - the first courtroom drama in Western theatre history. Here Lord Reason, the god of civilisation, confronted the Furies of Earth, the divinities of Nature. As former Prime Minister, Bob Hawke announced in the last performance - in the story the votes are tied. But our audiences voted 2:1 in favour of Mother Nature.
The performances ended back in Kings Hall, with a reconciliation between the forces of Nature and urban civilisation - led by Ethos, the spirit of community. The audience joined the Citizens' Chorus in commenting on our predicament and singing the feeling of citizens back into the theatre, in the Museum of Australian Democracy. Audience responses were enthusiastic. Former Prime Minister, Bob Hawke had this to say:
... I want to say to you Glenda and all those associated with you how profoundly I appreciated and enjoyed the production. The basically important thing for me Glenda is this: I share your view that the challenge of our environment is not second, third or fourth. It is the number one issue. And that you have had the imagination and the vision to present this issue as a challenge in such an imaginative way –– we are all indebted to you. Thank you very much.
A post performances forum was faciliated by Chorus member Dr. Janet Salisbury and attended by members of the cast and audiences, including Prof. Val Brown from the Fenner School, ANU, Maxine Cooper, the ACT Commissioner for Sustainability and the Environment and Dr. John Williams from the Wentworth Group of Concerned Scientists.
A Chorus of Women welcomes your financial support
Our production costs for The Gifts of the Furies have exceeded the ACT Government funding for the work and we would be grateful for any additional financial support. Donations can be made by cheque to ‘A Chorus of Women’ (mail to: A Chorus of Women, c/- 44 Dumaresq St, Dickson, ACT 2602) or by electronic funds transfer (Account name: A Chorus of Women BSB: 062908 Account number: 10436154).
CD OF THE MARCH 2009 PERFORMANCES
To order a 2 CD set of 'The Gifts of the Furies', contact us.
What can we do but wait in the dark
and watch while the weather roars in?
A Chorus of Canberra Citizens sang an answer to this question about the changing climate in two premiere performances of The Gifts of the Furies in the Great Hall of the Australian National Universityon 29 and 30 March 2009.
The March performances of The Gifts of the Furies were presented by A Chorus of Women with Wayfarers Australia and other choristers under the musical direction of Johanna McBride and Judith Clingan AM. After both performances the audience was invited to a conversation with the composer, performers and Chorus. Artist Bronwyn Goss writes:
The two premiere performances of The Gifts of the Furies on the Sunday and Monday nights, in which A Chorus of Women were joined by Wayfarers Canberra, were almost sold out. A Chorus of Women has risen in Canberra, as a phenomenon of our times and its place - a city state at the centre of Australian democracy. ‘Our times’ constitute an increasingly politically savvy and educated population impatient with spin and hubris who are longing for wisdom from decision-makers. And A Chorus of Women has become known for their synthesis of this emotionally intelligent citizens’ voice that speaks through original music and theatre into the concerns of our age. Wayfarers, led by Canberra’s musical genius and inspirational creative spirit, Judith Clingan AM, added sweet young voices and rich male tones to the warm Chorus sound.
Bronwyn Goss goes on to write about her experience as a member of the audience:
There is something about singing that opens the heart and this story-song has activated an emotional telos that runs from a sense of doom towards its longing for wisdom. And the audience can hardly wait to sing their promise with the chorus. You wouldn’t believe how good this felt – to sing my citizen’s voice into this archetypal healing track. ... 'The Gifts of the Furies' is Glenda Cloughley’s own wise and compassionate gift of cultural therapy against the dilemmas of our time. It now needs to do its work amongst us all.
To read Bronwyn Goss' full report, click here.
We are actively seeking other opportunities to present the The Gifts of the Furies in whole or part, including in association with academic and scientific meetings. Please contact us or Glenda on 6239 6483 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
A Chorus of Women have started a series of citizen conversations on topics of importance for our future. The aim is to see how community engagement and wise decision making can be helped by a more open dialogue among citizens, scientists, artists, business people and policy makers.These ‘Canberra Conversations’ include artistic expression and facilitated discussion to create an environment for active engagement by the people with important issues that will shape the future of the city and country. The aim is to explore different perspectives on issues and try to find the common ground that will inform wise actions.
If you would like to hear more about this initiative or to help out in any way, please contact us.
A ‘Canberra Conversation’ presented by A Chorus of Women
Tuesday 15 April 2014, 6.00–9.00 pm
Manning Clark House, 11 Tasmania Circle, Forrest, ACT
A light supper will be provided
Participants at A Chorus of Women’s Centenary Canberra Conversation, ‘Our Canberra’, in July 2013, suggested that Canberra should seek ways to change from a city of war memorials to a city of peace memorials. A Chorus of Women is actively seeking ways to address this idea both through development of a ‘singing peace memorial’— a community oratorio called A Passion for Peace — which we will perform in April 2015 (click here for more information) and through our other conversations and singing activities.
At this pre-Anzac Day conversation we explored the following questions:
- How can we best respect the memory of loss and trauma suffered by Aboriginal people during Australian settlement?
- How can we best respect the memory of all those who have been killed or traumatised by war?
- How could the Anzac story help Australia to contribute to a just and sustainable international peace?
This conversation was a preliminary event for the Canberra Peace Convergence (21–25 April 2014) and the 4th annual Anzac Eve Lantern Parade and Peace Vigil (24 April 2014). For more information see below and visit the IPAN Website.
CONTACTS: For further information contact Janet Salisbury (Canberra Conversations facilitator): email@example.com,
mob 0416 167 280; or Sarah Stitt: firstname.lastname@example.org, mob 0432 867 017
‘Canberra Conversations’ is the registered name of a community initiative of A Chorus of Women
was held on 28 July, from 1.15 - 4.30 at the Pavilion of the National Arboretum. Click here to read a report.
The Centenary Canberra Conversation is a Centenary of Canberra project, proudly supported by the ACT Government.
In the intimate space of the newly opened Margaret Whitlam Pavilion with sweeping views of Civic, the Parliamentary triangle and beyond we hosted the Centenary Canberra Conversation (go to our events page for more information on previous Canberra Conversations).
Building on these previous gatherings we endeavoured to broaden the theme from environmental sustainability to explore how the diverse threads of community, business, academic, artistic, public service and political life could interact more holistically in creating the future of the city. Click here for a printable flyer. Click here to see photos of the event.
FROM PROMISE TO ACTION: How will we turn the tide on Canberra's carbon emissions?
In association with the ANU Climate Change Institute
sponsored by MLAs Mary Porter AM and Caroline Le Couteur
with assistance from an ACT Government Environment Grant
ACT Legislative Assembly, Civic
Monday 1 August 2011, 6pm for 6.30-9.30pm
Read the flyer or more information click here. If you would like to read a report of this event, click here.
Canberra’s population is expected to increase by about 80,000 in the next 20 years. During the Canberra 2030: Time to Talk forums in 2010, and at our previous Canberra Conversation, people expressed support for ‘well designed’ urban infill (rather than increasing urban sprawl) to accommodate this increased population. Meanwhile, 2010 also saw community discussion about the removal of some large, well loved trees from streets and parks around Canberra, and an investigation into the management of Canberra’s ‘urban forest’ overall.
This conversation explored the following questions about the opportunities and challenges of creating a denser and more sustainable city:
- What do we mean by ‘well designed’? What approaches to density offer the best sustainability outcomes – socially, culturally, economically and environmentally?
- How important are urban trees for Canberra? What contribution do they make to sustainability?
- How can we best contribute to ACT processes and regulatory frameworks for implementing ‘good design’?
CANBERRA - CELEBRATING 2010 AND IMAGINING 2030: What could be possible when Canberra citizens, business and government work together to co-create a sustainable city?
In association with the ANU Climate Change Institute
ACT Legislative Assembly, Civic
Wednesday 1 December 2010, 6-9 pm
At this end of year Canberra Conversation we celebrated recent achievements and looked to what might be possible for 2030. We celebrated 2010 as the year that the ACT set a 40% emissions target for 2020 and started a bold community dialogue about the future of Canberra — Canberra 2030: Time to Talk.
To hear the beginning of our chosen theme song for our conversation on 1 December, click here (words and music by Glenda Cloughley).
This Canberra Conversation explored what a ‘sustainable’ future for Canberra might look like, focusing on development of the built environment in Canberra. For more information click here. For a summary of the event click here.
Finding wisdom on climate change across the political divide
A Canberra Conversation hosted by A Chorus of Women and the ANU Climate Change Institute
with assistance from an ACT Government Environment Grant
ACT Legislative Assembly, Civic
Thursday 4 March 2010, 6-9 pm
At this Canberra Conversation we considered the recent debate in Australia about emissions trading and the outcomes of the Copenhagen summit, and facilitated a community dialogue around the following questions:
While focusing on climate change, the aim of this conversation was to explore how dialogue can provide the basis for community consideration of difficult and potentially divisive issues, providing a more creative way of developing public policy. To view the flyer click here. For a summary of the event click here.
Transport for the Canberra community: thinking together
about wise moves
Presented by A Chorus of Women in collaboration with the ANU Climate Change Institute
with assistance from an ACT Government Environment Grant
Theo Notaras Multicultural Centre, London Circuit
Monday 26 October 2009, 6-9pm
Our fourth Canberra Conversation sought to unravel the complexities of this topic and stimulate innovative ways forward. Professor Will Steffen (Executive Director, ANU Climate Change Institute) brought a climate change and sustainability perspective to the conversation, particularly in relation to integrated approaches to transport.To view the flyer click here. For a summary of the event click here. For a response to this Canberra Conversation by the ACT Chief Minister click here.
Our third Canberra Conversation was held as part of the National Science Week 2009. What can the creative arts contribute to public discourse on global environmental change? And why is it particularly important to bring scientists and artists together in working collaborations, rather than have them work in isolation from one another? These questions and others were addressed in this special Science Week Canberra Conversation. Prominent local scientists and artists were invited to contribute and A Chorus of Women provided live artistic contributions, including original music written and directed by Chorus members Glenda Cloughley, Judith Clingan AM and Johanna McBride. The event was facilitated by Dr Janet Salisbury. For further information click here. For a summary of the event click here.
For further information click here.
Our second Canberra Conversation revolved around the current political debate about the emissions trading scheme and other ways in which Australia can find the cuts in greenhouse gases that are required to avert dangerous climate change. How can we reconcile environmental needs with political/economic 'imperatives'? How can we have an open dialogue about this most urgent issue that might lead towards creative solutions?
Our first Canberra Conversation was run in collaboration with the ANU Climate Change Institute and we welcomed Professor Will Steffen, Executive Director of the institute as our co-host for the event. The three-hour conversation combined information exchange with small and whole group discussions, and original songs voicing the social and ethical challenges that these subjects present for our community. Through these elements we hoped to create a non-adversarial environment where we could inform ourselves and other participants on the topic of stationary energy production and use in Canberra and, more importantly, listen carefully to the diversity of views represented in the room. By welcoming diverse opinions and focusing on listening to one another, we sought to imagine shared approaches to tackle the complex issues surrounding energy production and use.
Senior climate scientists said they were moved by our 2008 National Science Week presentation that began with our feeling that the world is crying out for action on climate change and hearing too little response from our leaders.
The presentation included excerpts from The Gifts of the Furies, Glenda Cloughley's radical retelling of The Oresteian Trilogy by Aeschylus. Through beautiful original music this Western lawsong moves from the tragedy of climate change to reconciliation between city-based societies and earth. See the What's New page for more details. Click here to listen to an excerpt of the performance.
The Chorus was joined by Janette Lindesay, Associate Professor of Climatology in the Fenner School of Environment and Society, ANU.
Dr Janette Lindesay
The presentation in the National Convention Centre led into a lively dialogue with audience members facilitated by Chorus member Janet Salisbury.
Audience and Chorus join together in singing Ubuntu at the end of the evening
On the Edge of Silence, CSIRO Discovery Theatre (photo by Nigel McRae)
Through two special presentations for National Science Week in August 2007, A Chorus of Women voiced some emotional and ethical aspects of the climate change crisis. These performances followed the presentation in April of an earlier version of On the Edge of Silence at the Two Fires Festival in Braidwood, which celebrates and continues the lifework of Judith Wright in arts and activism.
This work focussed on the burden environmental scientists hold as they wait for the rest of society to act on knowledge about the dangers of climate change. To read responses from some of the nationally prominent scientists in our audience click here.
In preparing the script, we drew guidance from current climate science and the writings of Australian poet and conservationist Judith Wright. We combined material from these and philosophical sources with our own music, dance, poetry and personal stories.
Each performance was followed by a lively discussion with the audience, facilitated by Chorus member Dr Janet Salisbury, a scientist and science communicator.
We are grateful for support for the performances from the Australian Government through the ACT National Science Week Co-ordinating Committee.
As climate change has become a passionate concern of Chorus our composers have written many new songs that we have performed at major public events.
A Chorus of Women brought several walking songs to the Canberra Walk against Warming in November 2007. The songs have had several community airings since then. You can download pdf files of the sheet music below.
The Weather Makers, named after Australian of the Year Tim Flannery's best-selling book, is the first song by scientist Dr. Janet Salisbury. The lyrics of Our Footprints were written around Sue Hoffmann's dining table by several Chorus women. Sue Hoffmann, Zahira-Madeleine Bullock and Johanna McBride each contributed a round.
|The Weather Makers|
|Rounds for the Planet|
New music by Glenda Cloughley, Judy Clingan and Johanna McBride was sung for the first time at the For Love of the World event to an appreciative audience of about 250 people at the Australian Centre for Christianity and Culture in Canberra in December. Other participants –– all with similar messages about climate change to ours –– were poet–cartoonist Michael Leunig, Bishop George Browning, scientist Dr Mike Rapauch, farmer Alexa Barr, Graham Tupper from the Australian Conservation Foundation, three children and Rev Linda Chapman of the Open Sanctuary@Tilba who initiated the event. Chorus was accompanied by the accomplished violinist Rowan Harvey-Martin and Eleanor Waterford on recorder.
We presented the same music in the ACT Legislative Assembly at the launch of the 'Atmosphere of Hope' art exhibition. This Wildart response to global overheating by South Coast artists was opened by Dr Deb Foskey MLA in May 2007.
Lyrics for the new music –– Dear Earth, Planet We Share and Songs to the Earth –– are in the Songs/Lyrics link on this website. We welcome the use of our music by others, so if you would like sheet music, please contact us.
More than 150 Canberrans sang for peace in a citizen's chorus in the centre of the city on International Day of Peace, 21 September 2007.
Harmony was the theme and outcome of this happy event, initiated by A Chorus of Women to raise money for several UNIFEM Peace Scholars from Afghanistan to study in Australia.
Seven other choral groups joined us:
Out of the Shower and On With the Show
Wayfarers, with singers from Womensing and The Carers' Choir
Canberra Gay And Lesbian Qwire
Canberra Youth Choir
We sang for each other and together, and brought joyous songs to Friday night shoppers in the Canberra Centre, which provided generous support for the event.
The Spring Sing! concluded with community singing and brief, moving speeches from Stella Wilkie, Canberra Quakers; Sue Conde, Vice-President, UNIFEM Australia; and Ellen Hansen, UNHCR who read the International Peace Day message from UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon.
If you would like to download the sheet music or listen to sound files please click below.
|Call to Peace|
|A Recipe for Peace|
|Sing as We Travel|
Chorus sang three rousing songs for peace to 900 guests at the 2008 UNIFEM IDW lunch.
At the 2007UNIFEM lunch Chorus performed 'Love Has a Voice', the new song dedicated to the young Afghan parliamentarian Malalai Joya by Glenda Cloughley. Malalai and many of the 850 guests were visibly moved at our tribute to the brave work being carried out towards human rights in Afghanistan. 'Love Has a Voice' was also our fourth anniversary song and included 'Lament', with which our Chorus began in March 2003. The lyrics can be found on our Songs page. Click here to hear a recording.
Chorus also presented a program of five original songs at the 2007 ACT International Women's Day Awards in the Legislative Assembly.
'Giving Voice' is a compilation of 15 songs reflecting the concerns and creativity of A Chorus of Women. The songs and the accompanying booklet form a story of the activities of the Chorus over nearly four years.
The CD was launched by ACT Senator Kate Lundy at the ACT Legislative Assembly on Monday 11 December 2006. Chorus sang a selection of songs from the CD and Kate Lundy gave a very moving speech about the role A Chorus of Women had played in voicing the concerns of citizens, including politicians.
If you want to order a copy of 'Giving Voice' click here to download an order form.
Chorus presentations by year
21 September - International Day of Peace
We contributed to a ceremony at the Peace Bell, with another singing of Meg Rigby's new 'Peace Bell Song'. We also sang 'A Recipe for Peace' to congratulate our sisters from The International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF) who were awarded the Chief Minister's Rotary Peace Prize.
20 September - ICAN Rally at the Canberra International Peace Bell
A Chorus of Women sang 'The Lament' at a ceremony around the Peace Bell, commemorating the victims of nuclear war and as a warning against any future dangers from the possible use of nuclear weapons. This event started off a rally to Parliament House where activists and politicians, including Tim Hollo, Robert Tickner and Anthony Albanese called on our governemnt to sign the treaty for the prohinition of nuclear weapons.
19 September - ICAN Nobel Peace Prize Welcome Dinner
We contributed peace songs, including a selection from The People's Passion to the Spring Banquet for the riders, organised by Beyond Uranium Canberra, at the ANU Food Coop. At this happy occasion the ICAN bike riders who brought the Nobel Peace Prize from Melbourne were welcomed in Canberra. This prize was awarded to ICAN for their role in negotiating a UN treaty for the prohibition of nuclear weapons. Read more about this initiative.
5 August - Hiroshima Day Ceremony at the Peace Bell
We participated in a moving ceremony to commemorate the victims of the atom bombs of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Meg's new 'Peace Bell' song with special lyrics for the occasion was our contribution to the event. You can read about the Rotary Peace Bell and our 'Peace Bell' song on our 'What's New' page.
1 June - Jam for Refugees
On1st June 2018, A Chorus of Women expressed their support for a kind and humane response to those who seek asylum in Australia, by performing in the annual fundraising event, Jam For Refugees, organised by the Refugee Action Committee Canberra at All Saints Anglican Church in Ainslie. Together with the Cyrenes, Chorus sang 'A Home Away From Home', 'A Recipe for Peace' and 'Ubuntu', receiving a warm response from both audience and event organisers.
6 May - Ubuntu Africa Choir in Canberra
A Chorus of Women and the Cyrenes women's choir welcomed the Ubuntu Africa Choir with our own Ubuntu song!
You can find the meaning of Ubuntu in our 2005 song by Johanna McBride. The Chorus and the Cyrenes are inspired by this ancient African philosophy that impelled the end of apartheid.
The concert was a fundraiser to fund the completion of a Ugandan high school. See www.kwaya.org for more information about the choir's 2018 tour.
24 April - Anzac Eve Peace Vigil
This event has become a Canberra tradition. Starting at the top of Mt Ainslie with community singing and ceremony, we walked down towards the War Memorial in a lantern-lit procession re-imagining the Anzac narrative away from its exclusive focus on past overseas wars, and towards a peaceful and inclusive future.
Watch a video on our facebook page.
20 April - Our Ethos in Stories and Song
The City of Canberra fared well when the Spirits of Earth showed up in Civic Square recently for an encounter with Ethos and the citizens. Wearing Greek tragic masks, the stern earth spirits also warned of drought, fire and filthy skies if Federal climate policy is not radically transformed. Ethos (1961), Canberra's first public art commission, sang at the centre of the drama in the voice her sculptor Tom Bass heard 13 years ago in a dream of guidance for the community. Our music was from Glenda Cloughley's The Gifts of the Furies, our mythic scale drama about relations between people and Earth, and Glenda's setting of the Ethos dream. The well-attended occasion was one of our contributions to the 2018 Canberra and Region Heritage Festival. Here is the event flyer.
23 February - Launch of the Canberra World Peace Bell
The Canberra World Peace Bell was launched in Nara Peace Park. A Chorus of Women were invited to sing for this event. Our Meg Rigby wrote her 'Peace Bell Song' for this special occasion. Read more about the Peace Bell project here.
At our end of year concert at at the Chapel, Australian Centre for Christianity and Culture, we shared, in story and song, inspiring stories of women around the world working for peace. Sue Wareham of MAPW told us of the nobel peace prize awarded to ICAN. We also heard excerpts from Judith Clingan's latest work, Harmonia Mundi, music and stories around A Passion for Peace and the Women's March movement.
We presented a singing paper, Resounding Harmony: The Utopian Impulse, by Glenda Cloughley and A Chorus of Women with musical direction by Johanna McBride, at a 1-day conference hosted by the ANU Gender Institute and ANU School of History in the Great Hall of University House.
With live original music and performance video clips we showed that emergent utopias are always alive in the ‘generative substratum’ of culture, where harmonious families and communities continuously renew the cycles of life.
The presentation focused on the global story of utopian impulses that drew 1300 women from warring and neutral countries together in the only international peace conference of the First World War. The music included ‘law chorales’ which sing the guiding precepts of that 1915 International Congress of Women. These inspired our centennial community oratorio A Passion for Peace and manifest globally again in the Women’s Marches of January 2017.
23 July - screening of 'Guarding the Galilee'
To support the Stop Adani campaign, we hosted a film screening of the 30 minute documentary 'Guarding the Galilee' at the Australian Centre for Christianity and Culture on Sunday 23 July, 5-6.30pm. We also sang some of our songs for harmony with Nature and have informal conversation after the film.
Donations were collected for the Defence of Country fund of the Wangan and Jagalingou Traditional Owners
Presented by Queensland-born actor Michael Caton, the film is about the struggle to stop the biggest coal mine in Australian history, Adani’s Carmichael project.
The award-winning documentary team capture the raw beauty of Central Queensland where Adani’s mine threatens essential water resources, and follow the water to the Coral Sea where the Great Barrier Reef is in peril from coal port dredging, increased coal ship traffic and burning of coal for electricity, the biggest contributor to climate change.
You can watch the trailer here:
Click on the link to view and download an invitation to the event.
19 July - #EvacuateNow - Canberra Vigil - Call for Singers
For 4 years, successive Australian governments have forced people seeking safety to suffer in offshore detention.
We invited Canberra singers, men and women, to help us form a citizen's chorus and sing our song 'A Home Away from Home' which includes the above words in the final verse. We were very happy to have a citizens chorus of around 25 singers, including some of Canberra's finest musicians.
This was to support a nationwide action calling for asylum seekers in Manus and Nauru to be released from those camps immediately and brought to safety after four years of suffering in limbo and with no clear solutions in sight.
Read the lyrics and listen to a recording of the whole song which is a short history of Australia's immigration. Most of us are boat people!
This event was held at the Chapel of the Australian Centre for Christianity and Culture on 25 June 2017, 4.30pm, to mark Refugee Week 2017.
We showed the film 'Freedom Stories', which tells the very moving stories of several asylum seekers who came to Australia by boat and ended up in detention camps. All of them are now Australian citizens.
We welcomed our audience by singing our song 'A Home Away from Home'. The film was followed by light refreshments and conversations with the audience. All proceeds will be donated to the local organisation 'Canberra Refugee Support' who help with refugee settlement in Canberra.
Click on the image to download a flyer.
6 May - Peace Works book launch
On 6 May, at the Australian Archives, we presented a group of peace songs, including Johanna McBride's 'When People Start to Sing', Glenda Cloughley's 'Spirit Songs' and Honey Nelson's 'Anzac Hymn' for the launch of the book Peace Works! Moving Beyond 1915 Remembrance' which was the result of a community writing project. Glenda also gave a presentation about the Peace Festival and the premiere performances of A Passion for Peace in 2015.
The book includes contributions from Chorus members Annie Didcott and Glenda Cloughley. Eminent historian Joan Beaumont launched the book. Find more information about this community project at their website.
24 Apirl - Anzac Eve Peace Vigil
We continued our annual event of commemoration and lament for all victims of war and violence, starting on top of Mount Ainslie, and walking with our lanterns into the darkness of Anzac Eve. See here for more information about this event.
22 April - March for Science
A Chorus of Women joined over 1000 Canberrans on the lawns in Federation Mall - against the magnificent backdrop of Parliament House. The Canberra march was one of 11 marches in Australia and over 600 marches worldwide (in the US, Canada, Mexico, and right across South America, Europe, Africa, the Middle East, Asia and the Pacific) to support and celebrate science and scientists, who have become increasingly frustrated when science data, the results of their painstaking research, and scientific consensus, are ignored and marginalised by government leaders and policy makers, and resourcing for science institutions is reduced or withdrawn. These issues have become particularly serious under the current US administration - but are also plain to see to a greater or lesser all over the world.
Janet Salisbury helped to organise the Canberra march and was one of the MCs for the event. The four excellent speakers, each told us in their own way, why science is important, how it needs to be properly resourced and accessible to all, while the results need to be openly communicated, discussed, and used to inform policies. Janet led sung chants from Chorus of 'All we are saying .... Science for all' '....act on the facts', '... give science a voice' and '... given truth a chance'. A 'marchers pledge' was displayed for signing. The opening words 'We are a passionate, peaceful people ...' inspired our other song-chant based on the song 'Singing for our Lives' by Holly Near. Here are some photos of the event.
10 March - Singing for MARSS
We were invited to contribute some of our songs to the Migrant and Refugee Settlement Services International Women's Day celebrations. We sang 'A Recipe for Peace' and many present joined us in singing 'A Home Away from Home'.
26 November - Singing Regeneration!
On Sunday, 26 November we held our end of year concert which coincided with the closing of the 'Seasons of Birth' art exhibition at the Australian Centre for Christianity and Culture. The event combined music and reflections on the laws of regeneration, regenerating humanity and regenerating the Earth. Click here to view the flyer for this event.
1 September - Mission Climate!
We held a big fundraiser for the Climate Council at the Australian Centre for Christianity and Culture. Many scientists and artists participated as well as the Cyrenes Women's Choir. Read the full report under highlights.
24 April - Anzac Eve Peace Vigil
On Sunday 24 April 2016, we are continuing the tradition of gathering on the eve of Anzac Day to lament and remember not only the soldiers but the victims of all wars and violence. Please join us at any point, on top of Mount Ainslie, in Remembrance Park or at the Forecourt of the Australian War Memorial. See the flyer and Anzacpeacevigil.org for more information. See here for more information about previous Anzac Eve Peace Vigils.
We joined the group 'Grandmothers against Detention of Refugee Children' at a 9am Rally at the lawns in front of Australian Parliament House.
They invited us to address the crowd of hundreds of grandmothers and supporters from many parts of Australia and sing our 'A Home Away from Home'. Click on the image to see a video of our singing recorded by Greens MP Adam Bandt.
Speakers addressing the crowd included Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young, Labour MP Melissa Clarke, Independent Andrew Wilkie and Dr. Anne Mijch, a paediatrician from Monash University. All of them spoke from the heart and with great clarity about the current situation and how we cannot allow it to continue.
The Rally was the culmination of freedom rides, the Grandmothers against the Detention of Refugee Children had organised with it's Victorian, NSW, Tasmanian and ACT branches. See their Facebook page. Read a report of the day by Suzanne McCourt.
12 December - Christmas Concert
To conclude a big year, we presented a Christmas concert at the Australian Centre for Christianity and Culture on the theme 'Peace on Earth - Peace with the Earth'.
We were joined in concert by some of our city’s great singers and instrumentalists.
In the first half we sang the longing for peace on Earth, in Christmas 1914 and always in selections from our big new work, A Passion for Peace by Glenda Cloughley.
The second half recalled favourite music from 12 years of songwriting for peace with the Earth by Chorus women Johanna McBride, Judith Clingan AM, Janet Salisbury, Meg Rigby and Glenda Cloughley.We sang these songs for care of the Earth, at the time when the United Nations conference in Paris conclude.
Click on the image to download a flyer.
Click here to read more news and reports about the inaugural Peace Festival and our performances earlier this year of A Passion for Peace and the Festival for Peace at Albert Hall.
29 November - People's Climate March
We joined with thousands of fellow Canberrans and people across our region on the lawns at Parliament House. We contributed some of our songs including 'Dear Earth', 'Our Footprints' and 'We Are the Weathermakers' to this big event.
The Canberra People’s Climate March was part of an international community weekend of action on the eve of historic UN climate negotiations in Paris. We showed that national decision makers are out of step with ordinary Australians who are already taking action on climate change: it’s time for them to follow our lead. We asked: from here on in, we’re all in - are you?
Read about the event on facebook.
7 October - Book Launch 'We Are Better Than This'
Jon Stanhope, former ACT Chief Minister, launched this book at the Australian Centre for Christianity and Culture. We contributed our songs 'A Home Away From Home' and 'Lest We Forget' with special lyrics for the occasion. Click here for a flyer.
6 August - Hiroshima Day 70th Anniversary
Our friends from the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF) invited us to join in commemorating the 70th anniversary of the bombing of Hiroshima. We gathered around the statue of Ethos in Civic Square to remember the horrific suffering inflicted by war and particularly by nuclear weapons. Sue Wareham from the Medical Association for the Prevention of War (MAPW) gave an address about a nuclear weapons ban treaty. We also sang up the spirit of the community, embodied by the statue of Ethos. Downlad a flyer here. Here you can read an article about the event by Ian Warden.
The inaugural Festival for Peace included the folloiwng highlights:
28, 30 April, 2 May - Premiere performances of A Passion for Peace
as part of the Festival for Peace, Albert Hall. Click here for more information.
29 April - Finding the Ways to Peace forum
as part of the Festival for Peace, Albert Hall
30 April - Women's Day, Women's Ways workshop
as part of the Festival for Peace, Albert Hall
A concert of music about peace-making in the wake of repetitive, unconscionable warfare; and on behalf of refugees, Indigenous peoples, animals wild and domestic, and our own Earth. We appeal for spiritual assistance for people to take the great step upward to a higher ethos for our world.
Musician-composers Judith Clingan AM, and Honey Nelson presented a program of new music, sung by a Festival Ensemble of 10 fine singers, and instrumentalists.
Musical direction Judith Clingan
2 May - Peace on Earth–Peace with the Earth forum
as part of the Festival for Peace, Albert Hall
This special event has become a Canberra tradition over the last five years. A Chorus of Women took part in the Peace Vigil on the Eve of centenary Anzac Day, on 24 April 2015. As in previous years it started on top of Mount Ainslie, followed by a lantern parade to the foot of the mountain, and a gathering in the forecourt of the War Memorial. Click on the image for more detail.
29 March - Concert at Belconnen Arts Centre
At the invitation of Belconnen Arts Centre we gave a 30 minute preview performance of excerpts of A Passion for Peace. We were joined by the children from Arawang Primary School, as well as by our musician friends including Louise Page, Angela Giblin, Christina Wilson, Jenny Sawer, Margaret Sim, Alan Hicks and David Pereira. Click on the image to see a photo gallery.
24 March - Launch of the Festival for Peace
ACT Minister of the Arts Joy Birch launched our inaugural Festival for Peace at the Legislative Assembly. Glenda Cloughley, composer of A Passion for Peace and our friend Elizabeth Cameron-Dalman also addressed the audience to speak about the importance of the Arts in publlic discourse.
27 February - Launch of the Centenary Exhibition of WILPF
Our sisters at the Canberra branch of the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom invited us to sing at the opening of their centenary exhibition 'Women's Power to Stop War', which was launched by Professor Marilyn Lake from Melbourne University.
6 December 2014 - recording of 'We Women'
Many of the singers who had taken part in the work-in-progress performance of A Passion for Peace came together at the Belconnen Arts Centre to record 'We Women', a centenary fanfare Glenda Cloughley had written and which we presented as a gift to WILPF (the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom). The Belconnen Arts Centre generously made available the beautiful foyer space free of charge, in exchange for a public concert which we held on 29 March 2015 (see above). The video was screened at the centenary Congress of WILPF in The Hague on 28 April 2015.
11 November 2014 - work-in-progress performance of A Passion for Peace
On Remembrance Day 2014 we presented our first performance of music from A Passion for Peace at the Australian Centre for Christianity and Culture.
With a chorus of more than 30 singers and some wonderful Canberra musicians including singers Louse Page, Margaret Sim, Angela Giblin, Jenny Sawer and cellist David Pereira, we sang to a capacity audience.
Audience and singers commented on the beauty of the poetry, the expressive power of the music and the passion of the singing.
4 November 2014 - The war to end all wars: our responsibility to those who died
Chorus participated in this public forum on 4 November 2014, 7.30 pm at the Australian Centre for Christianity and Culture, which has been jointly organised by the Medical Association for the Prevention of War, Honest History, WILPF, A Chorus of Women and UNAA (ACT). See the flyer for details.
21 September 2014 - Sing for Peace, Walk for Climate
On 21 September 2014, the International Day for Peace, A Chorus of Women joined a global citizens' call for action on climate change. We started with a 'Call to Peace' in the National Arboretum, followed by a singing walk to the Village Centre, where we did a flash mob action. See here for further detail.
13 August 2014 - 'For the sake of humanity'
31 July 2014 - 1915-2015: Resolutions for a Sustainable Peace — then and now
We gathered about 50 people to raise awareness of the 1915 International Congress of Women in The Hague, and of the farsighted resolutions the 1200 women unanimously passed. Many of these resolutions have since been incorporated in international institutions and law. At our event we discussed what we need to move forward to make all the resolutions a reality. As usual, we contributed our music, including a première performance of 'Resolution One' by Glenda Cloughley which is part of A Passion for Peace, our new major work:
We women, in International Congress assembled,
Protest against the madness and horror of war,
Involving as it does a reckless sacrifice of human life
And the destruction of so much that humanity
Has labored through centuries to build up.
Click here to download the report of this event.
14 July 2014 - VOICE
This event was presented by Women in Action at Smith's Alternative Bookshop, to celebrate the singing, poetry and drama performances of Canberra's women. Among the contributors were Alison Proctor of the Canberra band 'The Cashews' with her sister Suze, Jackie Sutton of UN Women and Hazel Hall with the School of Music Poets. Click here for a report by Dannielle Abbou-takka about this inspiring evening and A Chorus of Women's contribution.
27 May 2014 - Book launch - The human capacity for change
Chorus sang at the book launch of 'The human capacity for transformational change—harnessing the collective mind' by great chorus friends Valerie Brown AO and John Harris. The Hon. Barry Jones AO launched the book to a full house at the Great Hall of University House. The book explores ways to harness different ways of thinking across usual disciplinary and social divides to develop a richer understanding of the world. Chorus makes an appearance on page 179 of the book in a case study about Canberra Conversations. As was appropriate for 'harnessing the collective mind', Chorus sang 'We are the people — so many different voices' and 'Ubuntu'.
10 May 2014 - Acknowledgement of Country at the Canberra International Music Festival
We were again invited to sing the Acknowledgement of Country, this year for the opening of the 20th Anniversary Gala concert of the music festival. With this song with words by local poet Hazel Hall and music by Glenda Cloughley we want to help deepen the meaning and significance of our respect for the first inhabitants of this country. We were accompanied by the Wallfisch Band, an internationally acclaimed baroque ensemble.
30 April 2014 - Launch of the National Energy Efficiency Network
A Chorus of Women sang at the Canberra launch of the National Energy Efficiency Network (see NEEN home page http://neen.org.au/). A comment from the audience: "Their singing was wonderful!! ... You lifted the roof of the Great Hall at Uni House & every heart of those sitting in it"
24 April 2014 - Anzac Eve Peace Vigil
We again took part in this event organised by Graeme Dunstan, which has become a Canberra tradition. See above for more detail.
15 April 2014 -'Remembering War - Seeking Peace', A Canberra Conversation
At this conversation at Manning Clark House we explored questions about how we can best respect the memory of those killed or traumatised by war , including Aboriginal people during Australian settlement. Click here to read more and a report of the event.
13 April 2014 - Break the Silence - Rally for Refugees
We brought a number of heartfelt songs, two of them written especially for this big event, where more than 3000 Canberra citizens gathered to express their dismay with the lack of empathy towards asylum seekers evident in the current political climate. See above for more detail.
30 March 2014 - Weereewa Festival
We sang at Gorman House before a performance of Mirramu Dance Company entitled 'Walking on Water and Other Miracles'. One of the highlights was accompanying our friend Andrew Purdam in a beautiful arrangement of Fred Watson's 'Under Australian Skies' he had written for A Chorus of Women.
6 March 2014 - AEU International Women's Day
The ACT branch of the Australian Education Union invited us to contribute songs to their International Women's Day event which had the theme Inspiring Change. Robyn Martin, the manager of Beryl Women's Refuge and Jane Thomson, adviser to the Human Rights Commission gave addresses. Our songs included a version of Lest We Forget which acknowledges the web of connections women weave in our communities. The event concluded with singing Ubuntu where we invited everyone to join us.
3 Feburary 2014 - Opening Ceremony of the ACT Law Society
We were invited to sing for the opening ceremony in the Great Hall of the ANU and were pleased to sing 'I Am Ethos', 'We Are the People' and other songs in front of a beautiful image of Ethos who forms a central part of the Law Society's logo.
17 – 19 December 2013 – ‘So Good a Thing’ Festival by Judith Clingan AM
We joined hundreds of other enthusiastic singers and musicians who gathered from far and wide at the Albert Hall to celebrate the musical enrichment of our lives through music making with Judy over the previous fifty year period in Canberra. On 17 December we presented a concert of songs from our repertoire. You can watch Judy Clingan's 'Tree of Life' and Glenda Cloughley's 'A Recipe for Peace' on YouTube. On 19 December a Chorus ensemble presented excerpts from The Gifts of the Furies by Glenda Cloughley. Click here to read Judy’s account of her involvement with A Chorus of Women.
10 December 2013 - Musical Offering thank you drinks
Glenda Cloughley and Johanna Mcbride receive certificates from Don Aitkin at a party held on 10 December 2013 for participants in the Musical Offering program which organised free concerts every day of Canberra's Centenary year of 2013. A Chorus of Women participated on a number of occasions, ranging from full Chorus representation to small ensemble concerts.
1 December 2013 – Seasons of Renewal: Lawsongs in the High Court
Chorus presented this concert to sing up the laws of harmony, life and Earth with some of our wonderful musician friends in the beautiful space of the High Court foyer, as part of the Canberra Centenary Musical Offering series. See above for more details about the concert.
1 – 3 November 2013 – chOir-tly LOUD Festival of Song, Wollongong
Chorus joined many other choirs and singing groups from our region for a festival of song to ‘celebrate the phenomenon of creating and sharing choral music in the community’ in Wollongong, NSW. Chorus sang Acknowledgment of Country at the opening of the Gala concert at the Wollongong Town Hall, and gave performances at a restaurant and on the beach foreshore. Johanna McBride and Chorus also led massed singing of Ubuntu at the opening event of the festival, in the City Mall and at the final gathering of choirs at the beach foreshore.
19 September 2013 – Words for Peace Awards Ceremony, WILPF
In the lead up to the International Day of Peace on 21 September 2013 the ACT Branch of the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom’s held a competition for young people, initiated by our Annie Didcott. It was called Words for Peace. At the competition awards ceremony at Gorman House, Chorus contributed some peace songs and gave vocal support to young Katy Larkin who sang the prize winning song 'Harmony' she had written for the competition.
6 September 2013 – National Palliative Care Conference
We sang to delegates of the National Palliative Care Conference in the Royal Theatre, National Convention Centre. At the end of our presentation in this moving closing ceremony we invited everyone to join us in singing Ubuntu.
16 August 2013 – DANscienCE Performance at CSIRO Discovery Centre
Chorus provided musical support to DANscienCE, a festival which brought together Australian dance artists and scientists, by singing She Spins by Meg Rigby.
15 August 2013 – Service of Lament for Asylum Seekers
Chorus provided the music and led the singing at this service, held at the Australian Centre for Christianity and Culture. Together with those who gathered we gave expression to our shared sorrow at the failure to find a humane response to the plight of asylum seekers. Click here to read more.
28 July 2013 – Canberra Centenary Conversation: Our Canberra
For this Canberra Conversation, which was part of Canberra’s Centenary Program, we met at the Margaret Whitlam Pavillion at the National Arboretum. Viewing Canberra in its landscape from this new vantage point we pondered who we are and creatively explored a re-imagining of our ‘ideal city’. Click here to read more.
10 May 2013 – Canberra International Music Festival
Chorus led a massed choir singing of Acknowledgement of Country (words by Hazel Hall, music by Glenda Cloughley) at the Opening Concert of the Canberra International Music Festival.
24 April 2013 - Anzac Eve Peace Vigil
Chorus joined this annual event, gathering on top of Mount Ainslie at sunset of Anzac eve for a ceremony, a procession down the Mount Ainslie walking track with lanterns, singing at Remembrance Park and a lantern walk down Anzac Parade. Click here for a flyer of the event.For more information about Anzac Eve Peace Vigils click here.
24 March 2013 – The Four Elements Festival, Mirramu Creative Arts Centre
We sang at the Festival Finale Family Concert, Gathering Storm, of this Centenary of Canberra event celebrating excellence in regional arts, at Mirramu Creative Arts Centre beside Lake George.
19 March 2013 – Citizens’ Candlelight Vigil for truth and justice: 10 years on from the invasion of Iraq
We participated in a moving candle light gathering at Commonwealth Place Ampitheatre to a gathering of Canberra citizens. Ms Hanaa Edwar, Secretary General of the Iraqi Al-Amal Association, a humanitarian association in Iraq, spoke at the event, saying "Iraqis' only hope is to once again live a normal life. Their lives have been completely changed by this war." For more information click here.
19 March 2013 - ‘Open the Doors of the Chambers’: Chorus 10th Anniversary Concert at Parliament House
We returned to the foyer of the Australian Parliament House, where Chorus began on 18 March 2003, to give a lunchtime concert of songs selected from our repertoire which has developed over the last 10 years. An English visitor in the foyer was reported to say that '[this] would never happen in British Parliament'. See highlights above for more information.
16 March 2013 - Chorus 10th Anniversary Party
We gathered with friends and supporters to celebrate our 10th anniversary at the Bogong Theatre, Gorman House.
13 March 2013 – Medical Association for the Prevention of War Dinner: Why did we go to war in Iraq? The need for an enquiry
Chorus contributed a number of songs to this event at Vivaldi Restaurant, ANU Arts Centre. We sang our first song, the 'Lament', positioned among the audience, and invited everyone to join us in our song 'When People start to sing, thing are changing'.
4 January 2013 – Canberra Centenary Musical Offering at the National Library
A Chorus ensemble concert in the foyer of the National Library of Australia was the first of two 2013 Chorus contributions to ‘The Musical Offering – a gift from the Canberra musical community to mark the city’s centenary’. The Canberra Times reported this event.
7 December 2012 - Eco Elves Night Market
The Canberra Environment Centre held this Christmas market, featuring ethical and eco-friendly Christmas presents and food. We sang songs for the occasion and sold home produce to help raise funds for Annie Didcott's 'Words for Peace' initiative (click here for a flyer).
18 November 2012 - Recipe for Change Lunch
Chorus member Glenda Cloughley hosted a lunch for A Chorus of Women and friends as part of the 1 Million Women 'Recipe for Change' campaign. We shared food, songs, and ideas about saving energy, cutting waste and living more sustainably.
Phoebe Howe from 'Canberra Loves 40 Percent' and CSIRO scientist Dr Nicky Grigg spoke about political and personal aspects of change towards sustainable living.
The women present included politicians, journalists, acitivists, young students and an Aboriginal elder. Chorus member Dr Janet Salisbury facilitated a lively conversation with many heartfelt and thoughtful exchanges about the challenges of avoiding dangerous climate change.
9 November 2012 - Empire
at ANU Arts Centre
A Chorus of Women sang the Lament at the beginning and When People Start to Sing at the end of a performance of the play Empire by the Kinetic Energy Theatre Company from Sydney. The play is nspired by the writings of Noam Chomsky and Arundhati Roy.
8 July 2012 - Poets for Peace
Some of our leading Canberra Region poets presented their works for peace and reconciliation in a troubled world. Contribtutors included John Collard, Hazel Hall, Sandra Renew and Fiona McIlroy.
A Chorus of Women was invited to present songs of lament and longing to this event at Manning Clarke House, Tasmania Circuit, Forrest.
24 April 2012 - Anzac Eve Peace Vigil
A Chorus of Women gathered musicians and poets for the second of Canberra's beautiful lantern-lit Anzac Eve Peace Vigils. Click here to read more.
29 March 2012 - 100 % Reneweable Energy Rally at ANU
A Chorus of Women brought songs about the environment to a rally for solar energy and other renewable energy sources in the ANU union court. The event was organised by the Climate Action Coalition. Most of the songs were designed for audience participation.
10 March 2012 - Wayfarers Choral Prom - Live to Sing Sing to Live
A Chorus of Women participated in this inspiring community music making event, which was a fundraiser for Judith Clingan's Wayfarer International Tour (for details see wayfarersaustralia.org). Other participating groups were SCUNA, Canberra Choral Society, Llewellyn Choir, Ecopella and the host choir, Wayfarers. We sang our songs and told our story to the receptive audience. There was much sharing of musicians and choristers among choral groups and combined music making. The evening ended in all present joining to sing our song Ubuntu.
15 December 2011 - 50th anniversary celebration of the Ethos sculpture
This event included songs, stories and ceremony to renew the meaning of Ethos as the spirit of our community. Click here to read more.
30 October 2011 - The Gifts of the Furies in church
We presented a special version of Glend Cloughley's story song as an act of worship at City Uniting Church in Canberra to around 200 people. Click here to read more.
23 August 2011 - Dialogue gathering at the ANU Centre for Dialogue
Chorus, led by Janet Salisbury gave an informal demonstration of our way of holding conversations, with open dialogue and musical contributions.
1 August 2011 - Canberra Conversation 9: FROM PROMISE TO ACTION: How will we turn the tide on Canberra's carbon emissions?
This Canberra Conversation asked questions about what needs to happen to achieve the ACTs legislated target of reducing greenhouse gasses by 40% by 2030. Click here to read more.
5 June 2011 - Climate Change Bridge Walk
We gathered a spontaneous Citizens' Chorus for this big rallye against climate change, attended by thousands of Canberrans. Following addresses by speakers including John Hewson the crowd joined with us in singing our song 'We are the generation that needs to take a stand. We are the weathermakers, our future's in our hands."
31 May 2011 - Canberra Conversation 8: FILLING IN CANBERRA: Can a denser city still be ‘a home among the gum trees’?
This Canberra Conversation focussed on the challenges of accommodating the increase of Canberra's population expected by 2030, the merits of 'well designed' urban infill versus urban sprawl. Developer Nectar Efkarpidis and Maxine Cooper, Commissioner for Sustainability and the Environment gave presentations. Click here to read more.
24 April 2011 - Inaugural Anzac Eve Peace Vigil
Around 150 people gathered on top of Mount Ainslie at sunset of Anzac eve for a ceremony, followed by a procession of lanterns down Mount Ainslie. This was followed by singing at the foot of Mount Ainslie and a lantern walk down Anzac Parade. A particularly moving aspect of the Peace Vigil was the connection with members of the local Aboriginal community who participated in the event in the spirit of reconciliation. Click here for a flyer of the event. Click here to read Annie Didcott's account of last year's event written for WILPF.
8 March 2011 - Bridge Walk for the 100th Anniversary of International Women's Day
A Chorus of Women was part of this happy occasion, contributing songs and leading some spirited community singing.
1 December 2010 - Canberra Conversation 7: CANBERRA - CELEBRATING 2010 AND IMAGINING 2030: What could be possible when Canberra citizens, business and government work together to co-create a sustainable city?
We celebrated 2010 as the year that the ACT set a 40% emissions target for 2020 and started a bold community dialogue about the future of Canberra — Canberra 2030: Time to Talk. Click here to read more.
4 November 2010 - Conference of the ACT Council of Social Services
This conference at CIT Reid focussed on the theme 'defining diversity'. Our songs focussed on different voices and stories in the community and the search for harmony.
11, 18 and 25 September 2010 - performances of "The Gifts of the Furies"
in partnership with the Museum of Australian Democracy we staged three fully booked performances with a cast of 80 in Kings Hall and the House of Representatives in Old Parliament House. Click here to read more.
4 September 2010 - Climate Change Forum at Canberra City Uniting Church
In the lead up to our 2010 season of The Gifts of the Furies we gathered a Citizens' Chorus to present excerpts of the work for this forum with guest speakers John Williams and Bishop George Browning.
27 May 2010 - Canberra Conversation 6: Canberra's future: Thinking together about sustainability, development and growth
This Canberra Conversation explored what a ‘sustainable’ future for Canberra might look like, focusing on development of the built environment in Canberra. Click here to read more.
6 May 2010 - ACT Launch of 1,000 000 Women Campaign
The campaign was launched by the founder Natalie Isaacs and compered by Alex Sloane from ABC Radio 666 Canberra. We offered songs on climate change and led all present in some community singing. Click here for more information about the 1,000 000 Women Campaign.
28 April 2010 - 95th Birthday of WILPF
Chorus contributed a number of songs to this anniversary of the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom. It also featured a lecture by Professor Marilyn Lake entitled "Rediscovering Australia's Peace History".
4 March 2010 - Canberra Conversation 5: Finding wisdom on climate change across the political divide
This Conversation deailt with the debate in Australia about emissions trading and the outcomes of the Copenhagen summit. Click here to read more.
9 February 2010 - Australian Science Communicators National Conference
Chorus sang excerpts of The Gifts of the Furies preceding Will Steffen's plenary talk at the start of the 'Hot Air Symposium' and gave a workshop entitled 'The Art and Science of Dialogue'.
11 December 2009 – Launch of 'The Gifts of the Furies' premiere performances CD setin March 2009
Historian and religious commentator Dr Paul Collins launched the double CD set of the March 2009 performances of “The Gifts of the Furies” at University House. Chorus sang excerpts from the work at the launch.
4 December 2009 – Release of the ACT Planning and Land Authority Sustainable Future Workshop Discussion Paper
Chorus was invited to sing at the launch of the publication by Minister Andrew Barr at Black Mountain Tower. Chorus also sang at one of the workshops, which were the basis for this publication (on 1 December 2008).
22 November 2009 - RIVER: just add water
Chorus member Dr Nicky Grigg chaired a public forum at The Street Theatre, with invited speakers Dr Richard Greene, Dr Peter Fletcher and Dr Michael Raupach. She also sang a song written by chorus member Glenda Cloughley, with the lyrics ' How to tell my girl what the climate science says?', accompanied by A Chorus of Women and cellist David Pereira (click here for complete lyrics). The forum preceded the dance performance "River" by the Mirramu Dance Company.
26 October 2009 – Canberra Conversation 4: Transport for the Canberra community: thinking together about wise moves
This conversation sought to unravel the complexities of this topic and stimulate innovative ways forward. Click here to read more.
24 October 2009 – Judith Clingan Concert for 350.org International Day for Climate Action
We combined with Judy's Wayfarers at the Canberra Museum and Gallery to sing a program of songs about care for the earth. The concert was followed by a screening of Judy's music theatre work Terra Beata - Terra Infirma (Blessed Earth, Ailing Earth) which she had written 20 years ago.
23 August 2009 – Canberra Conversation 3: Science and the creative arts: a potent collaboration for change?
The third Canberra Conversation was hosted by Chorus as part of National Science Week and held at the CSIRO Discovery Centre. Prominent local scientists and artists were invited to contribute. Click here to read more.
11 June 2009 – Violent Ends: The Arts of Environmental Anxiety
Chorus contributed to an event at the National Museum convened by Carolyn Strange from the Research School of Humnanities, Australian National University which sought to explore the feelings of dread related to the threats of global warming, as well as ways to hope. Click here for more information about the event. Click here for Chorus' operning contribution. Click here for the closing performance, 'Reconciliation'.
26 May 2009 – Canberra Conversation 2: Emissions Trading - our way forward to greenhouse gas reductions?
This was the second in the series of ‘Canberra Conversations’, hosted by Chorus in collaboration with the ANU Climate Change Institute. It revolved around the current political debate about the emissions trading scheme and other ways in which Australia can find the cuts in greenhouse gases that are required to avert dangerous climate change. Click here to read more.
29 & 30 March 2009 – Premiere Performances of ‘The Gifts of the Furies’
The premiere performances of The Gifts of the Furies were presented by A Chorus of Women with Wayfarers Australia and other choristers under the musical direction of Johanna McBride and Judith Clingan AM. After both performances the audience was invited to a conversation with the composer, performers and Chorus. Click here to read more.
28 March 2009 – Two Fires Festival of Arts and Activism, Braidwood
Glenda gave a paper and chorus sang excerpts from ‘The Gifts of the Furies’.
5 March 2009 –International Women’s Day Lunch
Chorus was invited again to sing at UNIFEM’s International Women’s Day Lunch in Canberra. Guest speaker was Fozilitun Nessa.
26 February 2009 – Canberra Conversation 1: Canberra’s energy future: thinking together about ways forward
The first of a series of public dialogue events initiated by Chorus on topics of importance for our future, which seek to explore diverse perspectives on issues and try to find common ground that can inform wise actions. This conversation was held in collaboration with the ANU Climate Change Institute and explored the topic of stationary energy production and use in Canberra. Click here to see a review of the conversation by one of the participants. For more information on Canberra Conversations, the thinking behind the series and how they are conducted (including the contribution made by artistic input contributed by Chorus), click here.
4 December 2008 - Woden SEE-Change workshop 'I'm Dreaming of a Green Christmas'
In the lead up to Christmas Chorus contributed a bracket of songs, including some well known Christmas songs with new lyrics to this workshop focussing on reducing consumption. The audience joined in enthusiastically.
1 December 2008 - ACT Planning Commission culture and knowledge workshop
Chorus was invited to sing at the conclusion of a presentation by Dr Kate Rigby entitled Culture and Environment: Historical perspectives and Canberra’s future. We sang 'Lament for Gaia' and 'Dreaming' from the Songs to the Earth by Glenda Cloughley, as a contribution to the workshop's focus on 'Sustainable Future'.
14 October 2008 - Inaugural 1325 Anniversary Lecture
Felicity Hill presented this lecture for the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom at the ACT Legislative Assembly. We contributed several songs for peace.
12 October 2008 - Get Up Climate Torch Relay in Canberra
Chorus sang at the presentation ceremony on the lawns of the Australian Parliament House. This was the culmination of a national Get Up campaign to raise awareness of climate change.
28 August 2008 - National Library 40th birthday event honouring Tom Bass
One of the most delightful occasions in our history was to sing 'I Am Ethos' to 92-year-old sculptor Tom Bass. This was a surprise gift from 15 Chorus women of Glenda Cloughley's musical setting of Tom Bass' poem as an anthem for Canberra.
22 August 2008 - Longing for Wisdom on our Changing Climate
Our contribution to National Science Week drew on a wisdom story from the European tradition as a response to current political and ethical dilemmas surrounding climate change. The Chorus was joined by Dr. Janette Lindesay, Associate Professor of Climatology in the Fenner School of Environment and Society, ANU.
20 June 2008 - Climate Change and the Crisis of Reason
At this symposium to honour the life and work of Dr. Val Plumwood Chorus joined Glenda Cloughley in presenting excerpts from 'The Gifts of the Furies' and a case for consulting ancient European teachings about right relations between culture and nature.
23 April 2008 - WILPF Anniversary - 93 years. What have we learned?
A Chorus of Women sang the Lament we began with and other songs to accompany papers by WILPF International Vice President Felicity Hill, 'Women Building a World without War', Australian War Memorial historian Janette Condon, 'Changing Attitudes of Soldiers to War' and Glenda Cloughley, 'Mothering Peace'. Click here to read Glenda's paper.
6 March 2008 - International Women's Day Lunch
Chorus sang three rousing songs for peace to 900 guests at the 2008 UNIFEM IWD lunch.
10 February 2008 - SEE Change picnic
Chorus songs about climate change added music to this community event. Its purpose was to celebrate the steps SEE-Changes groups are making to ignite meaningful action in Canberra suburbs on issues such as climate change
8 February 2008 - The Gifts of the Furies
This was a work-in-progress performance of Glenda Cloughley's new epic story song about the crisis of climate change for Canberra Jung Society. The work is based in part on the Oresteian Trilogy of the ancient Greek poet Aeschylus.
11 November 2007 - Walk Against Warming
We met a number of times to think what we could contribute to this big event. We wrote some lyrics around the kitchen table, went home and wrote a number of original songs, among them 'The Weathermakers', inspired by Tim Flannery, and 'Our Footprints'. On the day we joined thousands of concerned Canberra citizens.
21 September 2007 - Spring Sing!
A Chorus of Women put out an invitation to Canberra's singing community to form a citizens' chorus and join a singing walk through Civic for the International Day of Peace. The event was supported by UNIFEM. Over 150 Canberra singers took part. For more details click here.
18 and 19 August 2007 - On the Edge of Silence
Two presentations of our performance work about emotional and ethical dimensions of the climate change crisis were given in Canberra as part of the National Science Festival.
25 May 2007 - Atmosphere of Hope Art Exhibition
20 Chorus women welcomed a large group of artists from the South Coast of New South Wales to Canberra. We sang six original songs by Chorus women about living in harmony with the earth, in keeping with the moving themes of the paintings and sculptural works shown in the ACT Legislative Assembly.
1 April 2007 - Two Fires Festival Braidwood
We presented the original version of 'On the Edge of Silence' as a 'poetic response to the crisis of climate change' in St. Bede's Church in Braidwood. The Two Fires Festival is held biennially and celebrates and continues the lifework of Judith Wright in arts and activism.
9 March 2007 - Canberra IWD UNIFEM Lunch with Malalai Joya MP
We sang 'Love Has a Voice', composed especially for this occasion to honour Malalai Joya, the young Afghan parlamentarian who was UNIFEM's guest of honour at Rydges Lakeside Hotel. See Songs page for lyrics. Click here to hear a recording of the song.
8 March 2007 - ACT IWD Awards
A Chorus of Women were invited to present the program of songs we called 'Celebrating Women' at the ACT Legislative Assembly for Canberra's annual awards to honour women's achievements in the city.
1 March 2007 - WILPF ACT Festival of Peace Booklet Launch
A Chorus of Women contributed songs to this Women's International League for Peace and Freedom event at the ACT Legislative Assembly.
24 February 2007 - Garden Party for Emily's List, ACT
A Chorus of Women were invited to sing at a garden party for the ACT members of Emily's List. We presented three songs collectively titled 'Songs for Politicians' to encourage our women representatives in both the ACT and Australian parliaments to listen carefully to the voices and the longings of the people they represent.
11 December 2006 - Launch of 'Giving Voice', the first CD of A Chorus of Women
Giving Voice is a compilation of 15 songs reflecting the concerns and creativity of A Chorus of Women. The CD was launched by ACT Senator Kate Lundy at the ACT Legislative Assembly. To order a copy of Giving Voice click here to download an order form. For more details see the Highlights section above.
2 December 2006 – New Songs for Love of the World
Chorus sang three new songs composed by members in the month before For Love of the World, an interfaith call to action on climate change attended by 250 people at the Australian Centre for Christianity and Culture. Other presenters were poet-cartoonist Michael Leunig, Bishop George Browning, local farmer Alexa Barr, three children, scientist Dr Mike Rapauch and Graham Tupper from the Australian Conservation Foundation.
11 November 2006 – Songs for Remembrance and Renewal
Chorus presented a half-hour concert, including new lyrics to some of our songs, for Remembrance Day. The concert in St Paul’s Anglican Church Manuka, Canberra, took place during the church community’s fete.
24 October 2006 – 30 years on – How Safe Are We?
At the launch of exhibitions marking 30 years of Reclaim the Night and addressing issues of domestic violence and sexual violence towards women and children, Chorus sang songs and poetry prepared especially for the occasion. The exhibitions were jointly organised by Canberra Rape Crisis Centre and the YWCA Of Canberra.
15 October 2006 – SIEV X Memorial event
With 250 community groups from around Australia, Chorus members painted a large memorial pole and participated in a moving pole-raising ceremony commemorating the 353 lives lost when a refugee boat sank while seeking safety in Australian waters in October 2001.
24 September 2006 – Sydney Peace Festival – Peace Concert
Chorus members travelled to Sydney to sing in a rally for peace at the University of Sydney, organised by Ministry for Peace – Australia.
21 September 2006 – Peace in our Time? – a musical peace happening
In this concert organised by Judith Clingan to mark International Day of Peace, Chorus presented seven songs in a rich program featuring numerous Canberra music groups.
17 September 2006 – Merry Muse Folk Club
Chorus sang a bracket of songs for peace at Canberra’s folk club.
4 and 19 August 2006 – Sharing Grief – Breaking Bread
To express our grief and solidarity at the height of the conflict between Israel and Hezbollah, Chorus led two symbolic acts of sharing and reconciliation. We gathered with others in the pedestrian mall, walked to the statue of Ethos in Civic Square and shared bread, singing our new song for the occasion, A Recipe for Peace.
3 July 2006 – Neshan - 2006 International Exhibition of the Badge
Chorus sang at the opening of this exhibition organised by Ardeshir Gholipour, an Iranian artist and journalist living in Canberra on a temporary protection visa.
30 June 2006 – Phoenix Rising, Forrest Fire Station Museum, Canberra
Vera Sapov, a Chorus member, co-ordinated this exhibition of work by Canberra artists about the 2003 Canberra firestorm. Chorus spoke and sang excerpts from Websong and Glenda Cloughley opened the exhibition.
2 June 2006 – Democracy and the People’s Chorus
In this lecture-performance for Canberra Jung Society, Chorus presented songs and stories and led a conversation with the audience.
8 March 2006 – Polychromatica Art Exhibition Opening
Chorus sang at this opening of works by local women artists at the M16 Gallery.
13 November 2005 – Picnic at Peace Park
Chorus members and friends gathered to celebrate peace with flowers, song and shared food at the little-known Peace Park in Canberra’s parliamentary triangle.
30 October 2005 – ArtSound Radio project
Local community radio ArtSound produced a program exploring women’s participation in Canberra choirs. The Chorus songs and a conversation with 20 Chorus women recorded in October 2005 went to air on 20 May 2006.
19 October 2005 – SIEV X Memorial Event
Chorus sang at this moving meeting in Pilgrim House, Canberra, which marked the fourth anniversary of the sinking of the SIEV X refugee boat on its way to Australia, when 353 people drowned.
17 and 22 October 2005 – WILPF 90th Anniversary celebrations, Civic Square
Chorus participated in the opening ceremony of the week-long Festival of Peace which marked the 90th anniversary of the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom. The Festival was sponsored by women MLAs of all parties in the Legislative Assembly. We also gave a major 40-minute presentation of songs and stories; corresponded with Tom Bass, the 90-year-old sculptor of Canberra’s beloved Ethos sculpture, which resulted in him sending a peace poem to Canberra citizens in the voice of Ethos; and we joined with a group from Sydney Chorus of Women who sang on the final day of the festival.
24 & 25 September 2005 – Websong at the Bloom Festival
Chorus performed Websong as part of the Bloom Festival, a music festival organised by the brand new Music ACT Association to coincide with Floriade 2005.
13 August 2005 – 60th Anniversary of the United Nations – Conference
A Chorus of Women was invited to open a conference at the Australian National University to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the UN Charter. The conference was organised by the United Nations Association of Australia. Chorus contributed a presentation entitled "We The Peoples".
15 May 2005 Australian Democrats National Conference
Chorus presented a performance piece incorporating music and narrative, with content developed specifically to address issues being faced by the Democrats. Reports on the Conference can be seen on the Australian Democrats website.
20 March 2005, Two Fires Festival of Arts and Activism, Braidwood
Chorus presented "Building a Chorus" – a blend of songs, story and drama – at this 4-day festival inspired by Australian poet and activist Judith Wright.
21 February 2005, 20th anniversary of the transfer of education of Registered Nurses in Australia to higher education.
Chorus sang at a dinner hosted by the Council of Deans of Nursing and Midwifery at Parliament House to celebrate this anniverary.
22–23 January 2005, 60th birthday celebrations for Judith Clingan
Chorus participated with many other musicians, artists and other friends of Chorus member Judith Clingan in celebrations marking her 60th birthday.
10 December 2004, International Human Rights Day Symposium, Brisbane
Five Chorus members sang and presented a modified version of Glenda Cloughley's Temenos lecture (2004) at a symposium hosted by Griffith University's Centre for Public Culture and Ideas. The theme of the day was "Human Rights and the Creative Arts".
1 December 2004, Women's International League for Peace & Freedom (WILPF) website launch
Chorus sang at the launch at Parliament House of a website developed by WILPF Australia about UN Security Council Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security. This Resolution highlights the impact of war and conflict on women and girls, and the importance of women's involvement in peace building.
1 November 2004, Remembrance Ceremony
Chorus sang at the annual Drug Law Reform ceremony in Canberra for people who have died through illicit drugs.
30 October – 21 November 2004, Barbara Blackman Temenos Foundation events
Chorus presented Websong at the Art Gallery of New South Wales, National Gallery of Australia and National Gallery of Victoria following Chorus member Glenda Cloughley's 2004 Temenos Lecture, Lament and Renewal in Temenos Oz, respectively on 30 October, 6 November and 20 November. The Chorus Temenos lecture-performance 'A Chorus of Women: Archaeomythic Memory and Present Desire' presented at the Sydney Theosophical Society, Great Hall of University House, ANU (presented jointly with the Humanities Research Centre, ANU) and National Gallery of Victoria, respectively on 30 October, 9 November and 21 November. Cilck here for a
7 October 2004, Singing for the bereaved in our community
Chorus sang at the funeral of Kim Reilly, a close relative of a Chorus member.
7 and 8 August 2004, Websong presentation, Canberra Oneira Festival
Websong was presented twice in the James O. Fairfax Theatre, National Gallery of Australia, during the Oneira Festival of the Arts preceding the 2004 Greek Olympic Games.
11 August 2004, Protect Our Democracy Rally
Following the High Court decision confirming the legal indefinite detention of asylum seekers, Chorus sang at this rally to encourage the Australian Government to adopt more humane legislation.
13 June 2004, Websong performance, Sofia
The travelling chorus presented Websong at the Boris Christoff Music Centre, Sofia.
2–12 June 2004, Artists-in-residence, International Archaeomythology Symposium
Eleven members of Chorus presented most of the Chorus repertoire and Websong during an international symposium in Sofia and Rila, Bulgaria organised by the Institute of Archaeomythology, New Bulgarian University and National Museum of History, Sofia.
23 May 2004, Sisu Soirée preview presentation of Websong
Eleven travellers presented Websong at the Canberra home of Barbara Blackman to assist with fundraising for Bulgaria.
2 May 2004, A Chorus of Women In Concert, Canberra Museum and Gallery
This concert raised funds for creative development of our performance and ceremony work Websong and for travel to take up Chorus's appointment as artists-in-residence at an international symposium in Bulgaria organised by the Institute of Archaeomythology, New Bulgarian University and National Museum of History, Sofia, 2nd–13 June.
8 May 2004, Singing with midwives in celebration of International Midwives Day
Twelve members of Chorus joined members of the ACT Branch of the Australian College of Midwives to learn and sing ‘Sweet is the Milk' at The Birth Centre, Canberra Hospital.
April 29 2004, Singing for Mariam
Chorus sang at the ACT Legislative Assembly in support of Mariam Rawi's work with RAWA in Afghanistan.
22 April 2004, Launch of the poster for the Oniera Festival
Chorus sang at the Greek Embassy to launch the poster for Oniera - Evolution of Dreams, a celebration of the arts in Canberra in the lead-up to the Athens Olympics.
5 March 2004, Safe As...
At the Kurrajong Hotel, Canberra. Chorus performed 'Man of Cloth' and other songs to a group who were reflecting on improper conduct within the Church in hope that attitudinal change and appropriate action could be initiated.
February 2004, The Foyer Concerts, National Multicultural Festival
Chorus gave concerts in the foyers of Australian Parliament House, the Australian War Memorial and the ACT Legislative Assembly. At Parliament House, in response to a letter from the Joint House Department forbidding Chorus to sing ‘Children of Iraq' and ‘Your Cry Our Cry' ‘or any other songs relating to personal or political freedoms', Chorus complied with the ban and used purple scarves to gag words of songs relating to ‘personal or political freedoms' This action received national media coverage. The Department head and Speaker of the House, Neil Andrew, said a mistake had been made and that such a restriction would not be made in future.
2 December 2003, ‘Peace on Earth!’ concert for Parliamentarians for Peace
A special concert was arranged to support and encourage Parliamentarians for Peace in our first return to the Main Foyer of Parliament House.
25 November 2003, ‘Late Night Live’ interview, Radio National
Phillip Adams interviewed Glenda Cloughley and Judith Clingan about the action on 18 March and subsequent Chorus activities. We sang ‘Lament’ and ‘Call to Peace’. The interview and songs went to air again during the summer holiday period.
23 November 2003, International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, Amnesty International Australia.
Members of Chorus presented a selection of songs for this event.
15 November 2003, ‘Music from Far and Near’, Austcare
Songs from our repertoire helped raise funds for the work of Austcare in a benefit night hosted by Fred Smith at Tilley’s Devine Cafe Gallery, Lyneham.
5 November 2003, ‘On the Rim ... Looking In’ Pottery Exhibition Opening
Several Chorus songs and spoken text contributed to this opening of pottery by the RIMS Ceramics Group at Watson Arts Centre.
27 October 2003, Remembrance Ceremony
Chorus sang four songs at this annual ceremony for people who have died through illicit drugs in Weston Park, Yarralumla.
12 October 2003, Ceremony of Memory and National Museum Concert
A 45-minute concert accompanied by String Suite (string quartet) and Tegan Peemoeller (harp) was followed by the Ceremony of Memory to acknowledge trauma in the community from the January firestorm, Bali bombings and conflicts in Iraq and elsewhere.
20 September 2003, Fund-raising concert for refugee advocacy
Chorus contributed several songs to a well attended house concert.
18 September 2003, CSIRO Presentation ‘Finding a Voice’
Chorus presented a cultural ‘collage’ to a group of interstate scientists and administrative staff visiting Canberra. Conversation, reflection and thoughtful feedback followed.
August 2003, Women in Black Conference, Italy
Three Canberra Women in Black - Judith Bailey, Margaret Bearlin and Norma Hayman, all Chorus members - sang Lament at this international gathering. Words, music, story and CDs of Lament were distributed there and at the World YWCA Gathering in Brisbane so that Lament is now being sung in many languages on all continents around the world.
30 July 2003, Midwinter Choral festival, The Street Theatre, Canberra
A big night out with Chorus presenting 40 minutes of music and comment. Our guest artist was 14-year-old Robin Dalton.
26 July 2003, Goulburn Peace Feast. ‘Forks’n All’
A Chorus of Women performed seven songs during this multi-arts community event, organised by Lieder Theatre Company in and around St Saviour’s Cathedral.
25 July 2003, Exhibition opening, ACT Legislative Assembly
Chorus joined Women in Black to sing at the opening of Rose Osborne’s photographic exhibition documenting the events on 30 May.
16 and 17 July 2003, Psychology residential, University of Western Sydney
Chorus presented songs and activities as exemplars of ‘cultural therapy’ to Masters students enrolled in Cultural Madness and Therapy.
20 and 22 June 2003, National Day of Action for Refugees, Action for Refugees Rally
A Chorus of Women sang Lament on both occasions in Canberra.
6 June 2003, Release of an Oath, Riverside Theatre Centre, Parramatta
A Chorus of Women sang Lament in Elizabeth Cameron Dalman’s classic dance work of the 1970s by students from the UWS School of Contemporary Theatre Arts.
3 June 2003, Canberra Grammar School
Twelve members of Chorus sang Lament and spoke to 120 Year 11 boys. Glenda Cloughley gave a brief talk.
2 June 2003, Women on the Line, Helen Lobato interview on 3CR
Glenda Cloughley’s interview about A Chorus of Women was networked to 30 regional radio stations around Australia and generated numerous responses from listeners.
May 2003, ABC Radio's 24 Hours magazine
Andrew Ford, writing on whether Australia should have a 'national composer' said Judith Clingan had composed a 'refreshing' work in Lament that 'turned beauty into political protest' and 'brought music to the heart of Australia's public life'.
30 May 2003, Women in Black/Rose Osborne Public Art Project
A Chorus of Women sang Lament at the shrouding in black of public art works in Civic, including Tom Bass's Ethos at the entrance to the ACT Legislative Assembly.
25 May 2003, Sorry Day involvement
A Chorus of Women sang Lament and the new Sorry Song, written for the occasion.
18 May 2003, Dance Week performance, Mirramu Dance Company
The Canberra Times said Chorus 'added depth and colour' to the dance and provided 'poignant and touching reminders of peoples without peace'.
14 May 2003, Lament Perspective, Radio National
The producer said this Perspective piece by Glenda Cloughley generated more responses than any other she had produced. Click here to view the transcript (160 kb).
April – July 2003, Wayfarers Choir European Tour with Judith Clingan
Music for Lament and Wishes for Leaders was often sought when Wayfarers Australia performed them. Both are being sung by European choirs. Audiences often reported strong emotional responses to Lament.
April 2003, Australian Women Speak Conference
Judith Clingan workshopped Lament with delegates to a session on creativity. Many were obviously moved.
20 April 2003, National Folk Festival performances, Canberra
Chorus sang to an audience of 2000 in the Peace Concert, and in the Ecumenical Peace Service.
13 April 2003, Australian War Memorial Concert, Canberra
At a concert in the Hall of Remembrance Chorus sang Lament, Wishes for Leaders and traditional peace songs.
29 March 2003, Rachum Labyrinth Opening, Murrumbateman
Chorus sang Lament at the opening of the Rachum Labyrinth at the home of Chorus member Alison Meretini.
24–28 March 2003, Formative Meetings
At well attended meetings we discovered the basis of a sustainable, collaborative, creatively energetic Chorus of Women, and embarked on weekly rehearsals, and philosophy and conversation meetings.
23 March 2003, Peace Rally, The Domain, Sydney and NSW Art Gallery
Eleven women left Canberra at 7am in a mini-bus, taught Lament to numerous Sydney women over mobile telephones and sang to 50,000 people at the Domain. When the group was introduced as 'the women who had filled Parliament House with lament' thousands stood and cheered.
22 March 2003, The Music Show, Radio National
Judith Clingan was interviewed by Andrew Ford.
21 March 2003, Children of the Gulf War exhibition opening, Canberra
Chorus sang at the opening of '˜The Children of the Gulf War', an exhibition by anti-nuclear photographer Takashi Morizumi in the A.C.T. Legislative Assembly.
18 March 2003, Australian Parliament House
150 women sang Lament in the Grand Foyer of Parliament House and gained national media coverage. Millions of Australians heard national media broadcasts of this action and invitations began to arrive for Lament to be sung on other occasions. Conversations began about the possibility of interested women continuing to meet.
Copyright © 2015 A Chorus of Women, ABN 91 720 527 876
All rights reserved