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Have you ever wondered about the meaning behind the word ‘workshop’? It has an interesting etymology, much of which has evolved in quite recent times.

The word itself is, obviously, a portmanteau of the words, ‘work’ and ‘shop’, both of which have multiple meanings.

One of the many meanings of ‘work’, dating from the early 13th century, is ‘artistic labour, or its results’. ‘Shop’, in the sense of a schoolroom for the purpose of imparting vocational or artistic skills is far more recent, dating from 1914. (Incidentally, the term ‘talking shop’, as in "conversing in general society about matters pertaining to one's trade," first came into use in the early 19th century.) The combination of the two words, to arrive at ‘workshop’, is first recorded in the 1580s. Its original meaning was the practical, and obvious one of a building or location set aside for a specific type of constructive activity. The use of the word ‘workshop’ to refer to ‘a usually brief intensive educational program for a relatively small group of people that focuses especially on techniques and skills in a particular field’ (Meriam-Webster) dates from the 1930s.

A choral workshop fits the above definition perfectly. It is brief, intensive and educational. It is a relatively small group of people, and the focus is definitely on techniques and skills, in the particular field of beautiful music, its creation and performance. A choral workshop presented by someone of the calibre of Graham Abbott will most definitely fit the definition, and then some.

Graham’s extensive and intensive knowledge and experience, and his unique skill in imparting that knowledge, virtually guarantee that anyone who attends his workshops will have their curiosity and interest aroused; they will learn a lot; they will be inspired to learn more; they will meet like-minded people; and they will have more fun than they could have imagined.

The music covered will include choruses from Handel’s Messiah and Mendelssohn’s Elijah. If you know and love this music, then you know what a joyous time awaits you. If it’s new to you, then you are in for a treat!

Oriana Choir’s second weekend choral workshop with Graham Abbott is fast approaching. In fact, it’s only 3 weeks away as I write. Interest is high, and the number of registrations is growing daily.

If you’re deliberating on whether to come along, don’t wait too long to decide, or you might miss out.

A Weekend With Graham Abbott will take place at Stella Maris School Hall, Maroochydore on Saturday and Sunday, August 26th and 27th. To register, please visit


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