Inner West Independent

Energised Espresso Chorus brews new talent

A no-audition policy means anything but low standards for the Leichhardt Espresso Chorus, which says it is as robust and vigorous as its namesake beverage.
Choir director Lliane Clarke is preparing the open-to-anyone group for a whimsical, comedic concert in Leichhardt this month.
“While we are [community-based] and we are audition-free, we quest for absolute excellence in delivery,” Ms Clarke said.
The 16-year-old choir’s dedication for perfection belies its members’ loyalty to the group and to each other.
“The arts are a very important place . . . for people to go to to express themselves and develop confidence and resilience in a part of their life, particularly if they’re not getting that in another part of their life,” Ms Clarke said.
“[Singing gives you] an amazing feeling of elation and joy. At the end of the day, we’re just doing it because it makes us feel good.”
The chorus of more than 80 singers performs in a range of musical styles and prides itself on its work with Australian composers like ARIA award-winning Sally Whitwell.
Choristers also sing what Ms Clarke calls “the meat and two vegetable repertoire” – Mozart, Beethoven and Handel.
The chorus is set to perform at the Forum Cultural Centre in June, staging a humour-based show called “S is for Seuss, Silly Sayings and Sublime Songs.” Although they often sing with a symphony orchestra, this time they will be performing with French horns, piano and percussion.
“It’s basically a concert to make everybody smile and we thought after the budget everybody probably needs to have that in their lives,” Ms Clarke said.
She said she hopes both adults and children can enjoy the performance.
“We’ve commissioned a series of pieces from Sally Whitwell and Anastasia Pahos and we’re also doing a very funny piece about being stuck in the toilet by Australian composer Daniel Brinsmead.”
The name “Espresso Chorus” is not only a reflection of the choir’s enthusiasm, but also underlines the group’s community roots, she said.
“It’s a Leichhardt brand I guess. We have a smaller chamber choir called Ristretto and [a ristretto] is basically half an espresso, and then we have a children’s choir called Espresso Kids.”
The Leichhardt Espresso Chorus is scheduled to perform at the Forum Cultural Centre on June 14 and 15.

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