The Choir Today
The Manly Warringah Choir is comprised of a diverse group of people. Some members have been in choirs all their adult lives, have powerful voices and can read music at sight. Others have taken up singing later in life, and are still developing musical and vocal skills. Yet others sing by ear, memorising music and text by heart.
Whatever our individual ability and experience, the one thing we all share is a love of choral music, and of performing it for local audiences.
Choir membership in 2017 numbers around 100, with between 70 and 90 members taking part in each concert.
The Choir’s Conductor for over ten years, Dr Carlos Alvarado, is an experienced and accomplished musician, having been trained at The Tchaikovsky Conservertory in Moscow and Berlin. His particular expertise is in melding the singing of such a variety of voices and abilities to make memorable performances.
Audience members and critics have commented that the quality of singing belies the Choir’s amateur, non-auditioned status.
Our Concertmaster is Catrina Hughes, succeeding Alexandra Loukianova, with whom she has played in a number of prestigious ensembles over many years.
Our Concertmaster from 2003 to 2016 was Alexandra Loukianova. She had trained in Moscow and had played with many of the world’s prestigious orchestras in addition to leading the acclaimed Australian Violin Ensemble. Sadly she passed away in December 2016.
Our Rehearsal Accompanist is Angela Ferguson, who also plays bassoon in the orchestra. The Choir depends hugely on her pianistic and musical abilities to make the most of time at rehearsals. Angela has been our accompanist for over 20 years, at the start of which time her Father was a member of the Choir.
The Choir is accompanied by an Orchestra formed of local professional musicians, many of whom play in other orchestras such as the Sydney Symphony, the Australian Opera and Ballet, the Ku-ring-gai Philharmonic and the Willoughby Symphony.
Vocal soloists are typically young professionals at the start of their careers who are in the final years of study at the Sydney Conservatorium. Many have gone on to further prestigious training and performance roles locally and overseas. It is very gratifying for Choir members to have performed with rising stars such as Emma Moore, Briony Dwyer, Anna Yunn, Michael Honeyman, Pascal Herington, and Alexander Knight.
The Choir is managed by a Committee formed currently of ten members.
President: Roger Pratt Vice President: Judy Williams Secretary: Naomi Roseth
Treasurers: Margaret Stanley Librarian: Pamela Lewis
Committee Members: Gina Cottee, Kerry Foster, Richard Griffiths, Anne Scollen, Marienne Short.
A Brief History
The Choir’s beginnings are bound up with the Warringah Symphony Society, which was established in 1975 with the purpose of bringing classical music to the Warringah Shire. It was initially formed as an amateur orchestra, and later the Warringah Symphony Choir was established to complement it. When the orchestra disbanded in the 1980s the choir continued performing, funding its own orchestra.
In 1998, the Committee changed the name to the Manly-Warringah Choir and it was incorporated that year.
May Mackenzie, one of the founding members of the Choir in 1975, has sung in every season and remains a member in 2017.
Since the appointment of Carlos Alvarado in 2003, the Choir has gone from strength to strength, in terms of numbers and ability. We are now able to perform the more challenging pieces in the choral repertoire, in the knowledge that the quality of performance will be suitably high.