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.

Oriana has recently 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.

Oriana Artistic Director
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Fay Baker OAM

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.

Seasonal Music Directors for 2021
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Kim Kirkman

Season One 

Rehearsal Conductor
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Andrew Wailes

Season One

Andrew enjoys a busy teaching and performing schedule both in Australia (and prior to the Covid-19 pandemic, overseas) as one of Australia’s busiest conductors and choral directors. Currently Artistic Director & Chief Conductor of the Royal Melbourne Philharmonic Choir and Orchestra, Melbourne University Choral Society and Box Hill Chorale, he also served for over 20 years as Artistic Director of The Australian Children’s Choir from 1999 -2020, directing many high profile performances and recordings, as well as leading the choir on 8 international tours.  

Inaugural winner of the Australasian International Choral Conducting Competition in 1999, Andrew has appeared as conductor in countries such as China, New Zealand, USA, Canada, England, Germany, Austria, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Poland, Italy, France and Russia. He has appeared with major choirs and orchestras from the USA; Sweden; UK; Finland; South Africa; Ireland; Canada and NZ as guest conductor - with groups such as the Stuttgart Radio Orchestra, Camerata Academica Freiburg, and Orchester der Universität Stuttgart (Germany), Guangzhou Philharmonic (China), Christchurch Sinfonia (NZ) Yale Glee Club and Harvard-Radcliffe Collegium Musicum (USA), Candomino Choir (Finland), and local ensembles such as Orchestra Victoria, VCA Symphony, Melbourne Youth Orchestra, the Impossible Orchestra, Choir of Trinity College and Stonnington Symphony. He has been the recipient of several awards and nominations including being nominated for prestigious Green Room Awards for best Opera Conductor and in 2019 was the recipient of a Deakin Community Award.  

Andrew has previously taught or conducted ensembles at the University of Melbourne Faculty of Music, Monash University, Melba Conservatorium, and VCA and lectured in music history at SEA Institute. For ten years he lectured in conducting and directed choral studies at the ACU in Melbourne. Andrew has prepared choirs for many leading conductors including the late Sir Charles Mackerras, Valery Gergiev, Diego Masson, Marcus Stenz, Diego Matheuz, Ludwig Wicki, Douglas Boyd, Christopher Bell and David Hill, and for groups such as the Kirov Opera, Prague Chamber Orchestra, Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, The Australian Ballet, Orchestra Victoria, Australian Youth Orchestra, Lyric Opera of Melbourne, and Perth International Festival.

In 2019/20 he led concert tours of China with the RMP Orchestra, and appeared with Melbourne University Choral Society and various European ensembles in Germany, Austria and Italy (including performances at major venues including St Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican, Basilica di San Petronio Bologna, Salzburg Cathedral, Munich’s Frauenkirche, and Neustift Abbey). In 2019 he also served as a guest Adjudicator at the World Orchestra Festival in Sydney, in Hong Kong, and at the North Queensland Eisteddfod in Cairns. Other highlights included live broadcasts of Dvorak’s Stabat Mater and Beethoven’s Mass in C from the Melbourne Recital Centre, the Melbourne premiere of Ola Gjeilo’s Sunrise Mass, the Australian premiere of Kristian Hernes‘ Canticle of the Sun, an Italian Opera Gala with the Melbourne Opera Orchestra and soloists, Handel’s Messiah, Faure’s Requiem, Mozart’s Requiem and Mass in C minor, Rutter’s Gloria, Haydn’s Creation and the world premiere of the bold new oratorio Dixit Dominus by Stefan Cassomenos.

Andrew has conducted an impressive list of major orchestral and symphonic choral works, and has directed choirs for many major televised events, including the opening of Federation Square in Melbourne and Stadium Australia in Sydney, the closing ceremony of the 2006 Melbourne Commonwealth Games, and the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo to name a few.  He has conducted on chart- topping albums by artists including John Farnham, Olivia Newton John, Mark Vincent, Silvie Paladino, Judith Durham and Missy Higgins. An experienced Adjudicator, Andrew has served in that capacity at various competitions around Australia, as well as in China, New Zealand, and the USA.  Andrew founded the RMP Aria Competition in Melbourne in 2007, and regularly appears at major civic, sporting, cultural and military events in Melbourne at venues ranging from the Melbourne Town Hall, to Hamer Hall, St Paul’s Cathedral, the MCG and the Shrine of Remembrance.

Following the pandemic which has seen halls and theatres closed around the world for much of 2020, Andrew is thrilled to have resumed activities with his various ensembles in Melbourne, and particularly to have been invited back to appear as guest seasonal Music Director with Oriana Choir and the Sinfonia of St Andrew’s for these performances of Mozart Requiem and Ola Gjelo’s Sunrise Mass following on from his season of Mendelssohn’s Elijah with Oriana and the Brisbane Symphony Orchestra in 2019.

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Elisabeth Wallis Gaedtke

Season Two

Elisabeth Wallis Gaedtke is a choral conductor, performer and educator.  She is a graduate of the Queensland Conservatorium of Music where she studied classical voice.  Her love for the stage blossomed when she performed in her first professional opera at age 16 as the First Spirit in Mozart’s The Magic Flute.

 

As a performer, her professional experience embraces opera, concerts, musical theatre, contemporary and jazz.  As a concert soprano soloist Elisabeth has performed Mendelssohn’s Elijah, Vivaldi’s Gloria, Mozart’s Mass in C and Vesperae solennes de confessore, Bach’s Coffee Cantata and Handel’s Messiah.  Her favourite roles on the Musical theatre stage have included Lily in The Secret Garden, Cosette in Les Miserables, Anna in The King and I and Yum Yum in The Mikado.  Elisabeth’s performance highlight with Oriana was touring Europe where she performed as a soloist and chorister in St. Madeleine, Paris, St. Martin in the Fields, London and also in Westminster Palace, for the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations.

 

As a conductor, Elisabeth has conducted the Oriana choir in preparation for concerts including Karl Jenkins’ “The Armed Man: A Mass for Peace” in Brisbane City Hall, “Fascinating Rhythm” and various guest performances on stage and on air.  Elisabeth was the founding conductor of the Sunshine Coast Oriana Youth Choir from 2009 to 2014.  She is regularly invited as the guest choral conductor for primary and secondary school music camps and workshops on the Sunshine Coast.  Elisabeth is also the vocal coach at BYTE (Buderim Youth Theatre of Excellence) where she and her husband have been the musical directors since 2004.  Elisabeth has co-musically directed over 40 musicals and productions of both professional and amateur standards.

Elisabeth is a secondary classroom music teacher with 17 years’ experience.  Anyone who knows Elisabeth, has witnessed her passion for teaching and inspiring all generations of singers and musicians as her love for music continues to shine with exuberance.

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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.

 

2020 was to see Graham engaged with the Bendigo Chamber Music Festival, Adelaide Symphony Orchestra, State Opera South Australia (Barber of Seville), Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra (Unwrap the Music series), Hobart Festival of Voices (Rossini Mass), and continuing his work leading choral workshops at ANAM.

 

In 2021 Graham will return to the Melbourne and Adelaide Symphony Orchestras, Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra, the Oriana Choir and conduct The Barber of Seville for State Opera South Australia. Graham will also lead six tours for Hayllar Music Tours, including to the Bendigo Chamber Music and Adelaide Festivals and the George Enescu Festival in Bucharest.

 

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 

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Paul Holley

SeasonThree

Paul Holley is a choral conductor and educator. His personal warmth and passion for choral music have inspired many singers to discover and develop their skills and achieve personal fulfilment as choral musicians. With over 25 years of teaching experience in secondary schools and many years of working with adult community choirs, Paul knows how to connect with singers of all ages and enjoys collaborating with them in the music making process. 

 

Paul is a graduate of the Queensland Conservatorium of Music where he studied choral conducting with Dr John Nickson.

 

Presently Paul is the Artistic Director of Voices of Birralee and conducts two of their signature ensembles, the Birralee Blokes and Resonance of Birralee and a training choir, the Birralee Singers. The Blokes have been bringing young men together to sing since 2003. In addition to enjoying their music making and inspiring audiences they have been successful in the ABC Choir of the Year Competition in 2006 winning the overall and People's Choice awards and were also Choir of the World at Kathaumiwx in 2012.

 

Resonance of Birralee, a choir for young adults has toured nationally and internationally most recently to perform at Anzac Centenary Commemorations in France and Belgium. They have also enjoyed making several recordings and perform regularly with the Queensland Symphony Orchestra and Queensland Pops Orchestra.

 

Paul is also the co-conductor of the national youth choir Gondwana Chorale that in January 2019 toured the UK and the Baltics, and have previously toured the UK, USA and NZ.

 

As a choral educator, Paul is dedicated to excellence in choral education and regularly features as guest conductor/clinician at festivals, conferences and music competitions at home and abroad. He also contributed a chapter to the book Male Voices: Stories of boys learning through making music (S D Harrison, Ed, 2009, ACER).

 

In January 2016, Paul was awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia for his services to choral music.

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 last season of 2020 - "A Babe is Born"

Sunshine Coast Youth Choir Artistic Team

Annie Wilson

Conductor

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

Accompanist

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.