Choral Weekend

The Armidale Music Foundation's Annual Choral and Orchestral Weekend provides opportunities for musicians from NSW and further afield to rehearse and perform another large scale masterpiece, under the guideance of one of Australia’s foremost choral tutors.

Commencing in 1998 with Orff’s Carmina Brurana, highlights of the weekend have included Verdi’s Requiem (1999), Poulenc’s Gloria (2006), and A Sea Symphony by Ralph Vaughan Williams (2000). More recently, participants have enjoyed Gounod’s St Cecilia Mass (2016) and Dvorák’s Mass in D Major (2017), which marked the AMF Choral and Orchestral Weekend’s 20th anniversary.


Brahms began writing his Song of Destiny in 1868. Following his successful Ein Deutsches Requiem, Brahms found some of Friedrich Höderlin's poetry in a friend's library and read Hyperions Schicksalslied. Brahms began to sketch the Schicksaslied while taking walks along the beach near his friend's home. After struggling with the ending, he set the secular cantata aside, not to be finished until three years later.

Inspired by classical antiquity, the poem compares the lives of the 'blessed ones' in Elysium with the trouble of mortals on Earth who were caught up in a struggle against Fate and Destiny. The orchestration carefully follows the text by capturing the happiness of the Elysian spirits at the beginning with expressively scored woodwind chords. The plight of suffering humans on Earth are reflected in the wild outcries from the chorus and intertwining vocal and instrumental parts provide an expression of restlessness. The ending, however, was challenging for Brahms. Höderlin ends his people on a note of bleak resignation, which Brahms did not like. After much deliberation, Brahms finally completed the work in 1871, when he ended the masterpiece with an Epilogue that quotes music from the first verse and thus providing a message that hope and consolation for the living maybe found here on earth. 


FRIDAY 8TH MARCH 2 - 4 PM Optional preliminary rehearsal
6:30 PM Registration
7:00 - 9:30 PM Rehearsal
SATURDAY 9TH MARCH 9 AM - 5 PM Rehearsal; Orchestra from 2 PM
6:30 PM Barbeque
SUNDAY 10TH MARCH  9 AM - 1 PM Rehearsal; Orchestra from 11 AM
2:30 PM Concert

Musical Director 

PAUL HOLLEY is a choral conductor, educator, and motivator. His personal warmth and passion for choral music have inspired many singers to discover and develop their skills and achieve personal fulfilment as choral musicians.

Presently, Paul is the  Associate Director of Voices of Birralee and conducts two ensembles within this organisation, the Birralee Blokes and Resonance of Birralee. Both of these ensembles have toured nationally and internationally, representing Australia at festivals and competitions, performed with the Queensland Symphony Orchestra, made numerous recordings and supported community events. He is also the principal conductor of the national youth choir, Gondwana Chorale. In addition to these roles, Paul is a choral director and teacher at Brisbane Girls Grammar School.

As a choral educator, Paul is dedicated to excellence in choral education and regularly features as guest conductor/ clinician at festivals, conferences and music competitions throughout Australia. He also contributed a chapter to the book, Male Voices: Stories of Boys Learning Through Making Music (S.D. Harrison, Ed, 2009, ACER).


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