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.

HIAWATHA’S WEDDING FEAST is the first part of Samuel Colerdige-Taylor’s Scenes from The Song of Hiawatha by Heny Wadwsworth Longfellow (op. 30), a trilogy of cantatas written between 1898 and 1900. Inspired by Longfellow’s poem, The Song of Hiawatha, he set the words to music. The work was immediately published and gained so much interest that before the first note was performed, Coleridge-Taylor was commissioned to write a sequel, The Death of Minnehaha. The premiere in London’s Royal College of Music in 1898 was a sell-out, with many people being refused admission. The international success of the work was immediate, with Sir Hubert Parry claiming the event as “one of the most remarkable events in modern English musical history.” The popularity of this work saw the Royal Albert Hall devoting a fortnight to semi-stagings every year between 1924 and 1939. Once a widely performed work from South Africa to New Zealand, The Song of Hiawatha has sadly become obscure over time.

The piece is in nine sections, eight for orchestra and chorus and one for solo tenor and orchestra. Alongside its melodic qualities, ideological factors could have contributed to its success paying tribute to indigenous North Americans. MusicWeb International describes the piece as “a constant delight, melodious and extremely well crafted. The orchestration is colourful and in this recording the balance with the chorus is just about perfect.”


FRIDAY 9TH MARCH 2 - 4 PM Optional preliminary rehearsal
6:30 PM Registration
7:00 - 9:30 PM Rehearsal
SATURDAY 10TH MARCH 9 AM - 5 PM Rehearsal; Orchestra from 2 PM
6:30 PM Barbeque
SUNDAY 11TH 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). Front page: Hiawatha’s Marriage (1868) by Edmonia Lewis (1844-1907). 29x13x11 inches. Permanent collection of Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts. Foundation
Armidale Music