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Haydn Sunrise concert review by Erle Levey

Congratulations must go to the entire Sunshine Coast Oriana Choir on a superb concert at Lake Kawana on Sunday for such a stunning performance of the Sunrise Mass.

Music director Sandra Milliken said audience reactions spoke volumes for the performance.

"Emotions varied from being emotionally teary in response to the beauty and changing moods of the music, gasping with the awesome power of the singing - especially at the finish of Credo (The City) - and finally to the standing ovation of sheer excitement at the enjoyment of such a wonderful program of beautiful music.

"What a fantastic finale to all the hard work over the past few months and the culmination of so many aspects all coming together so well to create moments we’ll always remember.

"Congratulations also to the Youth Choir on their performance.

"I know that once again, we had members who were thrilled to be performing together in the Gloria finale as a family. Well done!"

Audience members were particularly moved by the Johann Michael Haydn Salve Regina in the first half. It brought tears. Yet nothing could have prepared the crowd for the sublime Sunrise Mass, an exquisite composition by Norwegian composer Ola Gjeilo that was featured in the second half of the program.

Sandra Milliken was elated with the performance of the mass.

"You took it on and owned it," she told choir members later.

“And such a difficult repertoire. It was definitely a stunning performance."

Other comments received from the audience included that Oriana has risen to a new level. "The men in particular received mention," Sandra said. "The level of musical shaping in the performance was incredible.

“There was a beautiful balance between the men and women … and the performance was described as awe inspiring and uplifting."

Queensland Session Orchestra, led by the extraordinarily talented Daniel Lopez, produced world class music for the choir’s Sunrise Mass.

Their part in Sandra’s own composition Ave Maria was an exquisite accompaniment, and the final Haydn Gloria with strings, piano – played masterfully throughout the first half of the program by Fay Baker – and the two Oriana choirs, was a moving finish to a top-class concert here on the Sunshine Coast.

Sunday's concert saw the launch of Oriana's first studio album, Cathedral Dreaming, which is filled with beautiful, ethereal, evocative and inspirational music. Erle Levey, honorary member of Sunshine Coast Oriana Choir, delivered a passionate recollection of the choir’s performances throughout cathedrals in Europe in 2016. The choir then presented the first ever copy of the Cathedral Dreaming CD to philanthropist Jocelyn Walker, who has shown incredible support to Oriana over many years, and more recently through sponsorship of recording costs associated with the album.

Cathedral Dreaming invites listeners on a journey to the mysterious and magnificent cathedrals, castles and marble halls of Europe to be whisked away by a heavenly selection of glorious classical, modern and sacred music. The album features songs in both English and Latin and, along with pieces accompanied by organ, piano and strings, highlights the choir's extraordinary a cappella work. The recording celebrates an extraordinary 12 years of the choir's history that has seen numerous state championship titles, two international tours and many successful concerts both on the Sunshine Coast and in the broader south-east Queensland area.

The Cathedral Dreaming CD can be purchased from Buderim Old Post Office, online from the choir’s website or by request at

Oriana Choir performing the Sunrise Mass

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