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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.

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Kim Kirkman

Season One

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 in 2021 as Rehearsal Conductor for our first season of Gjeilo's Sunrise Mass and the Mozart Requiem and assisted again in 2022 with our season of Haydn's The Creation.

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Paul Holley OAM


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.

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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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Andrew Wailes


Andrew Wailes has gained a reputation as one of Australia's leading conductors specialising in large-scale symphonic choral repertoire and enjoys a busy performing and teaching schedule both in his hometown of Melbourne and around Australia. He completed a Bachelor of Arts degree and Certificates in Applied Music (in Orchestral and Choral Conducting) at Monash University, and following studies in Political Science and Law, concentrated on his musical career, studying orchestral conducting with Maestro Robert Rosen, and choral conducting with leading international specialists including Simon Halsey, and John Rutter (UK), Jo-Michael Sheibe, and Professor Rod Eichenberger (USA), Stefan Parkman (Denmark) as well as some of Australia's leading pedagogues. 

Andrew assumed the role of Music Director and Chief Conductor of the Royal Melbourne Philharmonic Choir and Orchestra at the end of 1998, making him the youngest person ever to hold that position in almost 150 years. In 2009 he was awarded Life Membership of the RMP, being only the third conductor ever to be granted that honour in the RMP’s history, and in 2015 became the RMP’s first Artistic Director. With the RMP choir and orchestra he has directed hundreds of high-profile performances, including 7 international orchestra tours of China, numerous recordings, many world premieres, and overseen collaborations with leading artists such as Andrea Bocelli, Michael Bublé, Josh Groban, Temper Trap, and Australian artists such as Delta Goodrem, John Farnham, Olivia Newton John, Mark Vincent, Silvie Paladino, Judith Durham, Tim Mincham, Greta Bradman, Dami Im, and Anthony Callea.


Andrew’s other posts currently include those of Principal Conductor and Music Director of both Melbourne University Choral Society, and the Box Hill Chorale.  He is a former Principal Guest Conductor of The Australian Classical Players Orchestra, and for ten years he directed the Australian Catholic University Choir in Melbourne. For over 20 years he was also Artistic Director and Conductor of The Australian Children's Choir, leading the ACC in hundreds of high-profile performances, and recordings, as well as frequent International and Interstate Tours. In 2022 he accepted an invitation to form and direct a new professional Melbourne-based Children’s Chorus for Opera Australia. 

For several year Andrew has undertaken engagements as Seasonal Music Director of the Oriana Choir on the Sunshine Coast in Queensland, having conducted them in works such as Mendelssohn’s Elijah, Mozart’s Requiem, and Ola Gjeilo’s Sunrise Mass. He is pleased to return in 2023 to direct performances of Handel’s Messiah.

Andrew has taught or conducted ensembles at the University of Melbourne's Faculty of Music, the School of Music at Monash University, the Melba Conservatorium of Music, and the Victorian College of the Arts. For ten years he was a lecturer in the School of Arts and Sciences and directed choral studies and taught conducting at the Australian Catholic University, Melbourne, and has also lectured at the SAE Institute in performance practices.

In 1999 Andrew was the winner of the prestigious Australasian International Choral Conducting Competition in Brisbane and appeared with the acclaimed Candomino Chamber Choir from Helsinki. He has also appeared with major choirs from the USA, Sweden, England, Finland, South Africa, Ireland, Canada and New Zealand as guest conductor. Andrew made his international conducting debut with the Christchurch Sinfonia (New Zealand) in 2001 and since then has been guest conductor of ensembles such as the Stuttgart Radio Orchestra, Camerata Academica Freiburg and Orchester der Universität Stuttgart (Germany), Guangzhou Philharmonic (China), Yale Glee Club (USA), Harvard-Radcliffe Collegium Musicum (USA), London Festival Orchestra, Bach Choir of London, London Festival Orchestra (UK) and Australian ensembles such as Orchestra Victoria, Sinfonia of St Andrews, Brisbane Symphony Orchestra, VCA Symphony Orchestra, The Impossible Orchestra, ANAM Orchestra, Melbourne Youth Orchestra, Melbourne Sinfonia, Stonnington Symphony and Monash University Orchestra.

Andrew has conducted an impressive list of major works, across a wide range of repertoire styles,  including highly praised performances of many large -scale oratorios such as Handel’s Messiah (all versions), Elgar’s The Dream of Gerontius, Mendelssohn’s Elijah; Haydn’s The Creation, and many of the great works of the choral /orchestral repertoire, from J.S. Bach’s St Matthew and St John Passions and Beethoven’s Choral Fantasia and Mass in C, to Orff’s Carmina Burana; Verdi’s Messa da Requiem, Rachmaninov’s Vespers and The Bells; to Brahms Ein Deutsches Requiem Mozart’s Requiem, Dvorak’s Stabat Mater and Requiem, Vaughan William’ A Sea Symphony and Dona Nobis Pacem, Elgar’s The Music Makers and Sea Pictures, Stravinsky’s Symphony of Psalms, Fasnshawe’s African Sanctus, Jenkins’ The Armed Man, Bruckner’s Te Deum, and Prokofiev’s Alexander Nevsky.

Andrew has conducted opera seasons for Chamber Made Opera, Past Echoes and Lyric Opera of Melbourne (receiving two Green Room Award nominations for best opera conductor including Britten’s The Rape of Lucretia). He also assisted Maestro Valery Gergiev as the backstage conductor and extra chorus director for the Kirov Opera's acclaimed performances of Prokofiev’s The Fiery Angel for the Melbourne Festival. He has directed choirs for many major televised events, including eight AFL Grand Finals, the opening of Federation Square in Melbourne and Stadium Australia in Sydney, the opening ceremony of the 2009 Parliament of the World’s Religions, the closing ceremony of the 2006 Melbourne Commonwealth Games and the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo. In 2022 Andrew prepared the orchestra and chorus for Italian tenor Andrea Bocelli’s East Coast tour of Australia, for which he was both Orchestra Manager, Chorus Master and Assistant Conductor. 

Andrew is also an experienced adjudicator, having adjudicated at various eisteddfodau and competitions around the country, and in Shanghai, Auckland, New York, Washington D.C. and Beijing. In 2023 he will sit of the Australian panel of the Hans Gabor Belvedere Singing Competition and will chair the judging panel of the RMP Aria which he founded.

Seasonal Directors for 2023
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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
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