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It’s now just three weeks since the wonderful weekend of Mozart’s ‘Requiem’ and Gjeilo’s ‘Sunrise Mass’. But somehow it feels longer than that. That must mean that the ‘Oriana Vacation’ is over, and it’s time to get back to what we do so well. Oriana has never let the grass grow under its feet. Time to start preparing for our next venture. And for a brief while we’ll be rehearsing on two fronts – for Noosa Alive in July, and for ‘Dancing Queen’ in August.

The Mozart/Gjeilo concert was a joyous and uplifting experience. Our first major classical performance in two years – almost two years to the day since ‘Elijah’ – and two superb choral works together, constituted a real treat for choristers and audiences alike. Having performed both in the past, for many choir members it was a bit like re-visiting old friends. With the very able and much appreciated guidance of Kim Kirkman to prepare us, and the leadership of Andrew Wailes in the final stages and on the day, we’ve managed to add some great memories to Oriana’s story. To all the new members, for whom this concert series was their first outing as performing Orianians, may I say congratulations, and I hope you enjoyed singing these wonderful works every bit as much as I did.

And now for something completely different. And yet, completely Oriana. For we are nothing if not eclectic. To go from the ‘seriousness’ of Mozart and Gjeilo to the ‘light-heartedness’ of Abba and Queen is pretty much business-as-usual for Oriana.

Rehearsals for ‘Dancing Queen’, celebrating the music of these two twentieth century icons, begin on Thursday June the 10th. And this Thursday the 3rd, we had our first rehearsal for the Noosa Alive concert on July the 17th, as guests of Antoni Bonetti. We’ll be singing a couple of Beethoven pieces – one is a choral adaptation by Antoni of the second movement from Beethoven’s Seventh Symphony – and Abba’s ‘Dancing Queen’, which will very serendipitously serve as an audience appetiser for the ‘Dancing Queen’ concerts in August. As a very exciting and special bonus, for ‘Dancing Queen’, Oriana will be joined by the internationally acclaimed flautist and recording star, the one-and-only Jane Rutter, who will play an obligato to accompany and enhance our performance of this Abba classic.

‘Dancing Queen’ is sure to be a hugely popular and successful show. The music of Abba and Queen is universally loved across the generations. The past occasions when we have sung songs by Abba and Queen have been met with great enthusiasm. These concerts will feature a mix of their greatest hit songs and some perhaps lesser known but equally excellent pieces.

For this exciting venture, Oriana will be in the very capable hands of our own lovely and loved Elisabeth Wallis Gaedtke. She did a superb job in conducting the rehearsals for ‘The Armed Man’ in 2018, and there is absolutely no doubt that her approach to preparing us for ‘Dancing Queen’ will provide Orianians with a rich and enjoyable experience.

As ever, it’s onward and upward. Go the O’s!

Ian Rix

4 June, 2021.

Bookings for all three Dancing Queen concerts at Noosa and Kawana are now open at


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