Rainbow Kids Chorus
The Rainbow Kids Chorus was established in Sydney recently to celebrate cultural diversity through music. Under the direction of founder and artistic director Beryl Segers and musical director Rick Bowers, the choir is building a vibrant choral repertoire and aims to fill a void in performing cultural music from the African continent.
The choir started with seven members, but has grown to 17 and recently debuted at a celebration of South Africa's Freedom Day in Sydney. The choir currently consists of 14 girls and three boys who sing a range of Australian and South African folk, gospel and contemporary songs. Through this repertoire the choir will introduce audiences to a distinctive African choral sound.
Beryl says that 90% of the current choir members are of South African heritage, but all were born in Australia. “None of them were familiar with any of the South African music. They learned it from scratch and had lots of challenges getting their tongues around unfamiliar words and pronunciations!”
Rainbow Kids Chorus is Beryl's long-held dream to celebrate her cultural heritage through music. “My dream is to develop an active choir that will keep children in touch with the music from their heritage. Songs usually tell a story and in teaching the children the lyrics we can teach them about their background. I find that children at a certain age are very conscious and proud of their roots. The ultimate dream would be to record a CD and continue growing the choir to include African and Australian children.”
Beryl says that they plan to make the choir different to other local choirs by adding an African feel to the arrangements. “We are working towards getting the rights to publicly perform a range of music from the African continent, particularly South Africa.”
Beryl, who is originally from Cape Town and moved to Australia in 1987, has worked on a number of high profile events including the medal ceremonies for the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games, the athlete's welcoming ceremonies for the Sydney 2000 Paralympic Games, the 2002 Sydney Gay Games Cultural Festival and the Melbourne 2005 Deaf Olympics Cultural Festival.
She has her own company that produces South African comedy and music events and last year set up Beryl Segers Presents and produced her first piece of musical theatre.
Rick commenced his passionate musical journey as a nine year old boy learning the piano in Cape Town. He commenced organ studies when he was 14 and subsequently studied through the Cape Town Conservatorium of Music. He moved to Australia in 1979 and has worked with various choirs, orchestras, other groups and bands for more than 25 years.
Beryl and Rick would love as many kids as possible to become part of the choir. “We don't hold singing auditions as such and do not want to exclude children so we welcome anyone who loves to sing and would like to learn to sing,” says Beryl. “Rick is a singing and piano teacher and has an amazing ability to work with children. He is extremely passionate about music and also does all the arrangements. We are very fortunate to have someone like Rick sharing his talent, passion and commitment.”
The choir is open to children between the ages of seven and 16. The singers should be old enough to read and have the ability to memorise songs.
For more information see http://www.rainbowkidschorus.com.au/.