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The MCAA Committee met on Thursday, 16th June 2022 via Zoom conference to distil data returned from member choirs regarding likely numbers attending a festival in Sydney in October 2022, current health regulations applying in NSW for indoor musical performances, and to consider information about possible venues other than the Sydney Town Hall.

The survey of choirs suggested that 180 – 200 choristers would perform on 30th October in Sydney – under the circumstances a most satisfactory response. Health regulations in NSW have eased considerably for musical performances in that all prior restrictions and limitations have been lifted. However, the Sydney Town Hall remains the only viable venue, all others investigated proving either to be unavailable, too expensive, or unsuitable for accommodating 200 choristers and a brass band on stage.

The committee has remained conscious of its main responsibilities to manage the MCAA’s funds and to stage a triennial festival of song. The committee acknowledged that it is almost five years since the MCAA staged a festival and that if a festival was not to be staged in 2022 the viability and continuation of the MCAA could be in serious jeopardy.

Therefore, notwithstanding numerous financial, health and organisational risks, the committee agreed to commit funds to staging the MCAA Festival at the Sydney Town Hall on Sunday 30th October 2022, i.e. choristers should commit to the weekend of 29 – 30th October for rehearsals on Saturday afternoon 29th October (venue still to be confirmed) and final rehearsal, seating logistics and performance on Sunday 30th October.

The committee expects that such a plan, after more than two years of deferred schedules, will allow the MCAA to maintain continuity, attract attention and provide a platform upon which the next festival may be staged in 2024 in Adelaide – a rejuvenating change of venue for most of us from the usual east coast “four cornered” arrangement.

Many finer details need to be concluded and to this end the Sydney Organising Committee will spring back to life and pick up where it had left off. All such details will, of course, be communicated to members as plans evolve. The fundamental decision to stage the festival will now allow choristers to plan for the weekend, especially where transport and accommodation are concerned.

BUT (yes, the inevitable BUT) – the committee must appeal to all members to promote the festival to your list of contacts, at this stage on a “Save the Date” basis. Flyers will be produced soon and distributed to allow for electronic dissemination. Please encourage partners, family, friends and other contacts to attend the festival (prices to be advised). Our festival will be just one of the efforts currently engaging the Arts fraternity in resuming something like a pre-Covid environment.

The committee understands that, for obvious reasons this year, the festival will comprise mostly NSW and ACT choristers. However, the committee has been heartened by news that small groups of choristers from other interstate member choirs plan on participating as well. All previously engaged accompanying artists, Musical Director Paul Jarman, and the Willoughby Band are similarly booked for the 30th October.

I encourage all choristers to commit to the MCAA Festival, refresh the Red Book repertoire, book your accommodation, communicate with all your contacts to attend a great concert, thereby helping to provide a wonderful opportunity to perform and to sustain the MCAA as an organisation.

Neil Fleming


18th June 2022.