The Sibyls Sing

by Maren Rawlings

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This year I am going to relive one of the most sublime experiences of Western Civilization. I shall take part as a second soprano in Verdi’s Requiem for four soloists, double choir and orchestra in the Melbourne Town Hall. It was first performed in Milan in 1874. Beginning with a plea for the eternal rest of the departed, it moves in Roman Catholic style with exuberant terror to the possible Judgement (“Dies irae, dies illa, Solvet saeclum in favilla, Teste David cum Sybilla*” Not only do our Sibyls sing, occasionally they sing about our namesake, TheSibyls. Ed.).

The cry goes out to “gentle Jesus” as past sins are remembered and prayers are offered until the great Sanctus or worship of the Trinity rings out. Then we are reminded of the Lamb of God, Light Eternal and the work ends with the incredible “Libera Me” (Deliver me).

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The best thing about this intention (apart from making “divine” music) is that I shall join about 180 other singers most of whom cannot read music. We have the wonders of the car disc player and the smart phone to thank for a whole new pool of choristers. Your part is provided on CD or you can download it from the internet and you now have a legitimate self-improvement excuse to wear those ear-buds on every possible occasion for private practice. Full throated in the car or on your walk is recommended. Give the birds and galahs a serve of their own.

Our only requirement to be in the choir is that you can SING IN TUNE and that you pay unswerving and COMPLETE ATTENTION to our Director-Conductor (Jane Elton Brown OAM). Actually, hubby does front of house and he needs help, so we shall accept non-singing members if you just want to listen while the spouse has all the fun.

You can find us at Star Chorale: A tradition of excellence in choral music if you would like further information about rehearsals or if you would like to come to the concert on 26th July at 2 pm.

*”Day of anger, day of terror, All shall crumble into ashes, As the Sibyl and David bore witness”

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Maren RawlingsMaren Rawlings is a fabulously diverse educator and music devotee. She has taught at city and country schools including a 22-year stint at MLC, Melbourne. She has lectured in psychology at RMIT University and Melbourne Uni, written Psychology textbooks and, in 2011, graduated PhD in “Humour at Work” at Swinburne University where she currently tutors.

Maren is President of the Star Chorale, a community choir and this year they sing Verdi’s Requiem with the Zelman Orchestra.

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Photo Source: Star Choral Website

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