The Oriana Artistic Team

Since its inception in 2005, Oriana and their associated Youth Choir have been led by a group of talented and dedicated conductors and accompanists. Together, they have shared the vision of creating and developing choirs capable of presenting fine choral music to the very highest standard of performance excellence.


Founding Director of Oriana, Daniel Calder, was an inspiring conductor with high expectations of commitment from choristers at all times. His passion for choral music brought many acclaimed, professional classical works to the Sunshine Coast. When he departed after ten years, his legacy was a highly-acclaimed choir that had won a host of awards, not only here at home but also overseas.

Today, our current artistic team, led by Fay Baker, imparts to us a wealth of musical knowledge and education, drives performance excellence and continues to provide life-changing musical experiences to Oriana members. Our valued Artistic Team is adding to the heritage that has been handed down to them, and are creating an enduring legacy for future generations.

A few years ago Oriana adopted a new operational model in the management of Music Direction for the choir. Seasonal Music Directors are appointed for each of the three major performance seasons in the calendar year.

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Fay Baker OAM

Artistic Director

Fay studied piano and cello at the Royal Academy of Music in London, obtaining the qualifications of LRAM and ARCM.
She and her family moved to Australia in 1978 and, after an initial career as a string teacher in Brisbane, joined the Queensland Conservatorium of Music and the University of Queensland as a vocal and choral accompanist. She accompanied the University Chamber Singers, the Conservatorium Singers, the Conservatorium Chorus and the Brisbane Chorale for several years. Fay was Senior Repetiteur for Opera Queensland for seven years before moving up to the Sunshine Coast.
Fay was the official accompanist and assistant conductor of the Sunshine Coast Choral Society for about 5 years. She retired briefly from choral accompanying before joining the award-winning Sunshine Coast Oriana Choir, firstly as a singer and then as the official accompanist and assistant conductor. She was also the founding accompanist of the University of the Sunshine Coast Singers. She retired from this position recently.
In December, 2016, Fay was honoured to be the first person awarded Life Membership of the Sunshine Coast Oriana Choir. She was also awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia for her services to choral music in the 2020 Queen's Birthday Honours.


Kim Kirkman

Season Two

After originally training as a violist (B Mus), Kim moved to voice (Post Grad Dip) and became musical director and member of The Ten Tenors. Having a very varied career, he has conducted many choirs, orchestras and mixed ensembles in Australia and overseas; as well as working as a script-writer, administrator, adjudicator, performer, composer and teacher.

Kim has been the music director of the Bach Society of Queensland, the Blackstone Ipswich Cambrian Choir and the Mackay Choral Society.

As well as being the former Musical Director for Hot Ginger Chorus, Kim also conducts five other choirs on the Sunshine Coast, including community choirs, an a cappella chamber choir and successfully conducted Oriana's

season of  - "A Babe is Born"

Kim also worked with Oriana last year as Rehearsal Conductor for our first season of Gjeilo's Sunrise Mass and the Mozart Requiem.

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Graham Abbott

A Weekend With...

Sydney-born Graham Abbott is a graduate of the Sydney Conservatorium and in 1985 was awarded the ABC / Willem van Otterloo Conducting Scholarship. During this tenure he studied with Myer Fredman at the Sydney Conservatorium where he also taught. In 1986 Graham was appointed Conductor-in-Residence at the Elder Conservatorium of Music at the University of Adelaide. He was Musical Director of Adelaide Chorus (now Adelaide Philharmonia Chorus) from 1986 to 1992 and made his professional orchestral debut with the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra in 1987.


In 2021 Graham returned to the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra, Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra, conducted The Barber of Seville for State Opera South Australia and Messiah for Melbourne Symphony. Graham also lead tours for Hayllar Music Tours, including to the Bendigo Chamber Music and Adelaide Festivals an created a series of Podcasts for the Melbourne Recital Centre.


In a career spanning more than thirty years, Graham has been a frequent guest conductor with all the major Australian orchestras. He has also conducted the Hunter Orchestra, the State Orchestra of Victoria (now Orchestra Victoria), the Adelaide Chamber Orchestra, the Queensland Philharmonic, the Canberra Symphony Orchestra, the Australian Classical Players and many new music and early music ensembles. An experienced conductor of opera, Graham’s repertoire includes Fidelio, Aida, Lélisir dámore, Julius Caesar, Orlando, The Marriage of Figaro, Don Giovanni, La traviata, Il trovatore, Don Pasquale, Un ballo in maschera, and Pelléas et Mélisande.  He was also Assistant Conductor for the Australian premiere season of John Adams' Nixon in China at the 1992 Adelaide Festival and in 2001-2002 was Music Advisor to Chamber Made Opera in Melbourne.


In addition to orchestral concerts around Australia, highlights in recent years include conducting Don Giovanni for State Opera of South Australia), Israel in Egypt (Sydney Philharmonia Choirs), Handel’s Water Music (Tasmanian Symphony) and Coronation Anthems (Adelaide Philharmonia Chorus), the annual series of Unwrap the Music performances for Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra, semi-staged performances of Bach’s St. Matthew Passion for Opera Queensland, Rachmaninov Vespers with Sydney Philharmonia Choirs, Dvořák’s Stabat Mater with the Prague Chamber Orchestra, Bach’s St Matthew Passion for the Perth Festival, the world premiere of Legrenzi’s Matins for Christmas Day with the Choir of St Peter’s Cathedral, Adelaide, Beethoven’s Eroica  Symphony with Melbourne Chamber Orchestra and Camerata (Brisbane) as well as narrating Prokofiev's Peter and the Wolf for the Geelong Chamber Music series.


While his repertoire in orchestral, choral and operatic fields spans almost all periods and styles, Graham Abbott is most respected as a conductor of, and enthusiast for, the music of Handel. He has conducted Messiah more than seventy times, with all the major Australian orchestras as well as in the UK and in New Zealand. He has given first Australian performances of major Handel works such as Athalia, Ariodante, Agrippina and La resurrezione, as well as conducting the Australian premiere of Handel’s complete Carmelite Music for the Adelaide Chamber Singers.

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Emily Cox AM


One of Australia’s most experienced and versatile choral conductors, Emily Cox is Music Director of Brisbane Chorale, and founding Music Director of Canticum Chamber Choir. Through her choirs and work with other ensembles, she has explored a broad repertoire, spanning the large-scale choral symphonic repertoire to the smaller-scale virtuoso chamber choir repertoire. She has also worked for many years as a church musician and educator at the tertiary level. She was recognised in the 2020 Australia Day Honours as Member of the Order of Australia (AM) ‘for significant services to the performing arts through choral music’.

Career highlights of recent years include her role as Music Director in Canticum Chamber Choir’s semi-staged original production of Bach’s Christmas Oratorio with Stage Director Anatoly Frusin, her role as Chorus Master for the Queensland Conservatorium production of Mahler’s Symphony No 8, her leadership of Canticum in two seasons of Brisbane Baroque, including her role as Music Director of the acclaimed staged production ‘Women of the Pietà’, as well as conducting a Queensland Symphony Orchestra performance of Handel’s Messiah with Brisbane Chorale.

American born, Emily is a graduate of Dartmouth College (U.S.A.) and of the Queensland Conservatorium of Music. She has enjoyed further training in Europe, working closely and developing her craft with numerous renowned conductors. Known for her innovative programming, Emily’s work as a conductor, chorus master, and educator places her in demand by professional arts companies and festivals, as does her reputation as a creative musical collaborator.

Seasonal Directors for 2022
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Annie Wilson


Annie Wilson has been singing longer than she has been speaking. Growing up in a house with a father who sang in the opera company laid the foundation for her love for singing.

Beyond childhood, Annie’s singing experience is almost completely through choral singing. With only a handful of private singing lessons in her life, most of her technique has been taught by inspiring choral conductors. 


Beyond her personal experience being in a choir, Annie has also studied Choral Conducting at various levels. Her most rewarding experience was completing her Master of Music with a course conducting within the Gondwana National Choral School - a two week intensive choral program for young adults and children based in Sydney. 


If Annie isn’t singing in a choir, she is singing in her classroom. Currently teaching Music from Prep to Year 6, Annie’s teaching experience stretches from 6 months old to 18 year olds - with singing being at the forefront of her method for every age! She's also been the music director for several musicals within her school community and has conducted school choirs of all ages.


Annie has been a member of the Oriana Choir since 2010 and is very honoured to be the current conductor of the Sunshine Coast Youth Choir, and hopes to inspire these young singers to follow their love of singing throughout their life. 

Sarah Laws


Following her graduation with a Bachelor of Music Education in 2001, Sarah worked as a music teacher at various primary and secondary schools across the Sunshine Coast until 2013. During this time she also conducted the Sunshine Coast Australian Youth Choir from 2004 to 2010 and again from 2013 to 2015. Sarah currently teaches singing, piano and violin at her own private studio.


She has been a very proud member of the soprano section of the Sunshine Coast Oriana Choir since 2014 and took up the role of accompanist with the Sunshine Coast Oriana Youth Choir in 2016, beginning a new partnership with David White as choral director.

Sarah is a most accomplished singer, having been awarded her AMusA in Singing from the Australian Music Examintations Board (AMEB) in 2014. She has also been a very successful competitor at the Queensland Eisteddfod where was the Champion Mezzo-Soprano in 2012, 2015 and 2016.

Sunshine Coast Youth Choir Artistic Team