2016-07-15 “Singing for the Joy of It”

Another gathering of choirs on a Friday night at the Marrickville Golf Club at 3 Wharf Road. Soldarity and STUC combined to make up the numbers and we sang seven songs from our common repertoire. The other two choirs on the night were Aqualuna and Ecopella, who invited singers from the audience to join them for “Acknowledgement” and “Of Trees and Humankind”. Our song list was:

  • Way Old Friends Do
  • Mantaku
  • Four Strong Women
  • El Pueblo Unido
  • Refuge to a Refugee
  • Power in a Union
  • Nkosi Sikelele

2016-06-18 with Mums 4 Refugees

We combined with STUC to sing “Refuge to a Refugee” in Martin Place as part of an informal sunset concert arranged by Mums 4 Refugees. Afterwards some of us joined the last-night crowd walking around the “Vivid” light displays in town.

List of gigs 1987-2014

Here is a list of the choir’s 721 performances to the end of 2014.


19 January, Illawarra Folk Festival 09:30am and with combined union concert at noon
19 January IFF concert with union choir returned from Cuba at 4:30pm
8 February Cuba choir welcome home at Marrickville Golf Club
28 February Refugee Action Committee rally at Town Hall Square
16 March Sing in the March in March Belmore Park
20 March Video recording for Iranian New Year
13 April sing in rain on Palm Sunday march for Refugees
18 April blackboard spot at Tantric Turtle at National Folk Festival
4 May sing with STUC on stage at May Day rally in Hyde Park
14 June Oxfam fundraiser at Red Rattler with Chaika
20 June “Boundless Plains” concert with combined union choirs at Illawarra
8 July NAIDOC rally in Steel Park Marrickville supporting STUC
12 July video recording of M.J.Field entry for Sydney “Eurovision”
17 July Joyce Stephens memorial at Glebe Town Hall supporting STUC
19 July combined union choirs get together in Newcastle
24 August Blackheath Festival Ivanhoe Hotel
31 August sing on march at “March in August”
6 October Venezuela Information Day in Redfern supporting STUC
11 October Palms Australia Solidarity Awards in Strathfield
22 November concert at Loaded Dog Annandale
14 December sing at RAC Villawood Visit supported by STUC

Total for 2014 = 21 gigs


18 January, West Papua fundraiser, TAP Gallery Darlinghurst
15 February, Politics in the Pub, Refugees Nauru policy
17 February, Villawood Detention Centre
9 March, International Women’s Day Celebrations
16 March, Chavez commemoration at Addison Rd Great Hall
24 March, Villawood Detention Centre
5 May, May Day Rally
10 May, Politics in the Pub – Venezuela
18 May, Northern Beaches Festival
19 May, Villawood Detention Centre
8 June, Venezuela Book Launch, Addison Rd Arts Resistance
16 June, Refugee Week rally at Town Hall Square
27 June, Greens fundraiser at Emoh Ruo with Martin Pearson
30 June, Villawood Detention Centre
1 July, Hispasong workshop at St Lukes Church Hall in Enmore
27 July, Strathfield Square, Kwangjung Massacre commemoration
17 August, Gallery at Addison Rd Community Centre “Profits of Doom”
6 September, Marrickville Golf Club “Singing for the Joy of it”
8 September, Villawood Detention Centre
5 October, Newtown Markets
13 October, Villawood Detention Centre
17 October, Lawyers for Human Rights fundraiser
23 October, Oxfam seminar, UNSW

Total for 2013 = 23 gigs


19 February Northern Beaches Music Festival
8 March Railcorp International Women’s Day Celebrations
31st March Choir’s 25th Anniversary Concert and farewell to Miguel
6 April National Folk Festival
7 April National Folk Festival
7 April National Folk Festival Union Choirs Concert
8 April National Folk Festival
9 April National Folk Festival
5 June Book Launch Sydney University
21 June Transport Workers Rally
23 June Newtown Neighbourhood Centre So You Think You Can Sing an Anthem
19 July Villawood Detention Centre – Banksia compound
19 July Villawood Detention Centre- Hughes compound
19 July Villawood Detention Centre – Fowler compound
26 July Villawood Detention Centre – Baxter compound
25 August Songs for Social Justice Weekend
26 August Blackheath Choir Festival
9 September Villawood Detention Centre Fowler Compound
9 September Villawood Detention Centre Baxter Compound
16 Oct Welcome for Jose Ramos Horta at Deltone House Pyrmont
20 Oct Granny Smith Festival Eastwood
7 Dec Carers Xmas party Lawson St Eastwood
9 Dec Villawood

Total for 2012 = 23 gigs


1 March NTEU Industrial action at Macquarie Uni
4 March Northern Beaches festival
24 April Anzac Eve Peace Vigil, War Memorial, Canberra
21 May Sydney Trade Union Choir anniversary, Waterloo
28 May Loaded Dog Folk Club, Annandale
17 June NTEU celebration of bargaining win, Macquarie University
26 June Vigil commemorating second anniversary of Honduras coup, Ibero-American plaza, Chalmers Street
28 August Blackheath Choir Festival
8 September Sutherland Folk Club
9 September Malalai Joya public meeting, Marrickville Town Hall
29 September Philosophies of Travel Conference, Sydney University
8 October Auburn markets
15 October Granny Smith Festival, Eastwood Mall
20 November Glebe Festival
25 November Songs of Meaning and Power, Gaelic Club
1 Dec Villawood
2 December Fear+ Hope Conference, Sydney University Law Building

Total = 17 gigs


17 January Illawarra Folk Festival, Bulli
19 February Miguel’s 50th birthday Greens Benefit, Gaelic Club
7 March Chilean Earthquake benefit, Addison Road Community Centre
12 March Politics In The Pub – Afghanistan, Gaelic Club
20 March Busking at Eveleigh Markets
8 May Busking at Eveleigh Markets
14 May Politics In The Pub – Politics of Debt, Gaelic Club
23 May One Heart Foundation, Herb Greedy Hall, Marrickville
26 June Refugees Are Welcome rally at Sydney Town Hall Square
27 June Vigil commemorating first anniversary of Honduras coup, Ibero-American plaza, Chalmers Street
18 July Go Congo benefit concert, St Marks, The Mall, South Hurstville
7 August Kanuguba bus benefit, Stucco
28 August Blackheath Choral Festival
14 November Newtown Festival
21 November Cuban tour, Bald Faced Stag Hotel, Leichhardt
2 December Art Gallery Opening, Newtown

Total = 16 gigs


24 February Lex Wotton benefit film night, Film Fanatics, Petersham Bowling Club
28 February Busking in King Street Newtown
3 May May Day march and rally
10 April National Folk Festival street choir
13 April National Folk Festival street choir
15 May Politics In The Pub, Gaelic Club
23 May Combined Union Choirs honour Tom Bridges, Portugal Community Club
28 May Talking Heads Refugee night, Toxteth Hotel, Glebe
30 June Venezuela Solidarity night, Addison Rd Community Centre
11 September Politics In The Pub, Gaelic Club
27 September Marrickville Community Festival
14 October South African art exhibition, Bondi Pavillion
31 October Eveleigh Markets
1 November Jack Mundey celebration, Leichhardt Town Hall
30 November Older Women’s Network Conference, Camperdown
5 December NSW Folk Federation fundraiser, Gaelic Club
14 December North Sydney Community Centre

Total = 17 gigs


19 January Illawarra Folk Festival, Bulli (Adrian’s last gig)
20 January Illawarra Folk Festival, Bulli
15 February Margaret Brink’s funeral, Lane Cove crematorium
21 March National Folk Festival
21 March National Folk Festival
23 March National Folk Festival
24 March National Folk Festival
19 April Loaded Dog Folk Club, Annandale
16 May Sydney Asylum Seekers Centre, North Sydney Leagues Club
23 May Lou Poulos’s 50th birthday party
30 July Julian Fine’s funeral, Lane Cove crematorium
7 September Musicians & Singer Songwriters, Balmain
13 September Kangaroo Valley Folk Festival
14 September Kangaroo Valley Folk Festival
30 September Rights Reconciliation Respect Responsibility Conference, UTS
29 November World Aids Day, Stanton Library, North Sydney
11 December Summer Of Love Choir concert, North Sydney Community Centre
13 December Demo against Northern Territory intervention, Victoria Park

Total = 18 gigs


7 March Solidarity with WWII Comfort Women, Ashfield
31 March 20th Anniversary, Leichhardt Town Hall
4 April Booklaunch, Gleebooks
13 April Social Democracy, the Signs From Europe, Politics In The Pub
20 April What Has Howard Done To Our Institutions? Politics In The Pub
11 May Counting The Human Costs Of War, Politics In The Pub
17 June Maliana event, Balmain Town Hall
20 June Refugee Week, Newtown Neighbourhood Centre
23 June Trade Union Choirs, Redfern Community Hall
20 July Punishing Refugees, Politics In The Pub
24 August East Timor, Politics In The Pub
31 August Peña/Folk night – Bolivia fundraiser, Addison Road
7 September APEC demo Hyde Park North
16 September proposed ACWA gig???/??
18 September Basement with Sydney street choir
15 November East Timorese textile display, College Of Fine Arts, Paddington
23 November Politics In The Pub – War in Iraq
23 November Coming Unspun, Café Church space, Glebe
1 December World Aids Day, Stanton Library North Sydney

Total = 19 gigs


10 February Venezuela hope of Latin America , Politics In the Pub, Gaelic Club
20 February Peace vigil, Martin Place [only Mark and Miguel performed]
24 February Mental Health Disaster, Politics In the Pub, Gaelic Club [no Miguel]
8 March Peace vigil with Women In Black, Martin Place [no Miguel]
12 March Walk Against Want, Darling Harbour
31 March Iraq, Politics In the Pub, Gaelic Club
3 May National Community Care Conference, Cockle Bay
2 June Politics In the Pub, Gaelic Club
21 June ABC Radio, Petersham Bowling Club
8 July Paul Spencer’s Welcome Home, Café Church Space
10 September Kangaroo Valley Festival
11 September Iraqi Children’s Hospital benefit, Harp Hotel Tempe
23 September Pine Gap 4 Benefit, Gaelic Club
29 October Refugee Week, St Patrick’s Church, Wynyard
4 November Canberra Gay & Lesbian Qwire, Llewellyn Hall ANU
19 November Michael Fine’s Booklaunch, Glebebooks

Total = 16 gigs


18 February Politics In The Pub – Gaelic Club
11 March Greens Forum re Asbestos – UTS
13 March Walk Against Want – Victoria Park / Glebe Point Road
19 / 20 March Two Fires Festival – Braidwood
6 May Politics In The Pub [Miguel forgot to turn up!]
4 June 8 O’Clock Sharp – Glebe
3 July Musicians And Singer Songwriters – Balmain
15 August Tell Me The Truth About Peace – Seymour Centre
20 August Club A Cappella – Eastside Arts – Paddington
22 September Iraqi Trade Unionist – Tom Mann Theatre
8 October Memorial for H T Lee – Gaelic Club
11 October Newtown Neighbourhood Centre AGM
14 October Politics In The Pub, New ASIO powers – Gaelic Club
15 October Club A Cappella – Eastside Arts – Paddington
23 / 24 October Coastfest – Gosford
28 October Refugee Week, From Boat to Stage – Eastern Suburbs Leagues
19 November Mary Mackillop Institute, Timorese event – Strathfield
3 December Songs Across The Faultline – Glebe Town Hall

Total = 18 gigs


13 February Politics In The Pub – Women – Gaelic Club
20 February Politics In The Pub – Australia – Gaelic Club
6 March Mark and Fran’s Eleventy-first birthday – Roxbury hotel Glebe
12 March Politics In The Pub – Pilger – Gaelic Club
19 March Harmony Day – Westfield Plaza Hornsby
21 March Walk Against Want – Victoria Park and Glebe Point Road
21 April Kirsty Sword Gusmao event – Sydney Town Hall
28 April 10 Years of Freedom in South Africa – Parliament House
30 April Politics In The Pub – Playing the Fear Card – Gaelic Club
1 May Craig Johnston benefit – Gaelic Club
29 May Redfern Residents For Reconciliation – The Block, Redfern
12 May Margaret Brink’s memoirs launch – Gleebooks
20 June Villawood Detention Centre
18 September Jamberoo Festival, with combined choirs
25 September Not Happy John – Ryde Civic Centre
7 October Sydney Town Hall steps Election action against Howard
26 November Politics In The Pub, Aceh & West Papua – Gaelic Club
28 November Villawood Detention Centre
30 November Stuart Rees poetry book launch – Gleebooks
22 December Kiloh Centre – Randwick Hospital

Total = 20 gigs


16 February Combined choirs, Loudmouth Festival – Newcastle
23 February Walk Against Want – Victoria Park and Glebe Point Road
16 March No War Rally – Enmore Park
22 March Walking The Streets – Newtown
23 March Harmony Day Ranwick Council – Coogee Beach
29 March Peace Rally – Tumbalong Park
2 April Holroyd Council citizenship ceremony
9 April Refugee Form – Marrickville Town Hall
20 June Refugee Week – Parramatta Town Hall
22 June Refugee Rally – Belmore Park
5 July People’s Chorus 15th anniversary – Hamilton RSL
26 July Loaded Dog Folk Club
26 September Macquarie Legal Centre Trivia Quiz – Parramatta Leagues Club
27 September Auburn Street Fair
21 October RASSA Dinner Refugee Advocacy Service South Australia
28 November Welfare Rights Centre 20th anniversary
18 December Fairwear demo Pitt St Mall

Total = 17 gigs


6 February ? – 7 Victor Street Chatswood
1 March John Pilger – Sydney Town Hall
7 March Chilout [Children Out Of Detention] – Martin Place
16 March Holroyd Street Fair
19 March Citizenship Ceremony – Holroyd Council
20 March Harmony Day – Bondi Junction
24 March Walk Against Want
7 April Rally Against The Charcoal Plant – Sydney Domain
20 May East Timor Independence Day Nite Petersham Town Hall
1 June ‘I Have A Dream’ Martin Luther King Jnr – Wentworth Hotel
23 June National Day Of Action, World Refugee Week – Circular Quay
3 August South Sydney Sings – Paddington Town Hall
22 August Folk Week – Harp Hotel
1 September Villawood Detention Centre, with Sydney Trade Union Choir
4 September Recorded There Is Nothing Like A War – Actively Radical TV
8 September Celebration of Eva Killen’s life – Anna Logan’s home, Homebush
15 September Massed Choirs – Jamberoo Folk Festival
9 October Refugee Week – Waverley Library
18 October Politics In The Pub – Gaelic Club
25 October Sutherland Family Support Services anniversary – Tradies
26 October Scarecrow Festival
6 November Mary Robinson visit – Seymour Centre
10 November Friends Of The Refugees North West
28 November East Timor event – Leichhardt Town Hall
29 November East Timor event – Politics In The Pub
29 November East Timor event – Performance Space

Total = 26 gigs


13 January Rozelle Markets
26 January Citizenship Ceremony – Redfern Park
16 February Cocktail Party
15 February Citizenship Ceremony – Randwick Council
18 February Rozelle Markets
2 March Busking In Chinatown
4 March Just Republic Launch
10 March Trivia Quiz
14 March Case For Fair Trade – Tom Mann Theatre
20 March Citizenship Ceremony – Paddington Town Hall
21 March Harmony Day
25 March Walk Against Want
27 March Citizenship Ceremony – Holroyd Council
31 March Count Us In CD Launch – Newtown Neighbourhood Centre
6 April Welfare Rights Centre, Handbook launch – Australia Council
6 April John Coombs Farewell
7 April Rozelle Markets
7 April Marrickville Social History Group
10 April Socialist Electoral Coalition Launch – Trades Hall
11 April Peace Brigades International Harbourside Brasserie
15 April National Folk Festival, Count Us In Launch
3 May Book Launch – Leichhardt
5 May Mayday Salute DSP Granville
6 May Newtown Performing Arts High School – Lucho Silva Memorial
19 May Bon Voyage Party – Eastside Arts Paddington
20 May Redfern Residents For Reconciliation – Eveleigh St Redfern
22 May Citizenship Ceremony – Paddington Town Hall
26 May Marrickville Residents For Reconciliation
27 May Uniting Church Service – Pitt Street Sydney
12 June ABC Recording
7 July Lighthouse Baptist Church – Bow
8 July Gig for the Greens
8 July Left Choirs In London
10 July Workshop In Cambridge
11 July Ivy House – London
12 July William Morris house – Hammersmith
15 July Tolpuddle Martyrs Festival
16 July Jenny’s Place – Somerset
17 July Western Women’s Choir – Chard
18 July Cor Cochion – Friends Meeting House, Cardiff
19 July Our World Is Not For Sale – Sheffield
20 July Peace Concert – Victoria Hall, Saltaire
21 July Workshop In Manchester
22 July Sedbergh Workshop
22 July Sedbergh Concert
23 July Workshop Dent Memorial Hall
25 July Social Policy Conference – Belfast City Hall
26 July Lavelle’s Pub – Belmullet
26 July Tiny Pub In Roslare
27 July Pub In ?
28 July Street Fair In ?
6–8 August Sidmouth Festival – 5 Gigs
14 August Anna Logan’s retirement celebration – NCOSS
24 August The Future of Public Education – UTS Blackfriars campus
9 September Refugee Rally – Circular Quay
11 September Citizenship Ceremony – Paddington Town Hall
29 September Thank You Eastside Arts – Paddington
10 October Refugee Week – Waverley Council
20 October Sydney A Cappella Festival – The Rocks
23 October Marrickville Greens, Public Meeting On Refugees
27 October Scarecrow Festival
27 October Loaded Dog
11 November Fair Trade Not Free Trade – Darling Harbour
13 November Citizenship Ceremony – Paddington Town Hall
4 December Australian National Council Of Refugee Women – Ultimo TAFE

Total = 65 gigs


1 January Nariel Creek Folk Festival – Victoria
26 January Citizenship Ceremony, South Sydney Council – Redfern Park
4 March Music & Movies, Ashfield Municipal Council – Ashfield Park
9 March IWD Choir Night – Christ Church St Laurence
11 March IWD Breakfast Celebration – Ballroom, Darling Harbour
18 March Jamberoo Folk Festival
26 March Zimbabwe Information Centre benefit – Simpson St Bondi
31 March Balmain Public School benefit
4 April Citizenship Ceremony, South Sydney – Paddington Town Hall
7 April Roy Bailey Concert – 3 Weeds Rozelle
8 April Choral Sea Stall – Paddington Markets
6 May Green Left Weekly salute to May Day – Granville Town Hall
10 May Bennelong Citizens for Reconciliation, Anglican Hunters Hill
13 May St Albans Folk Festival
16 May Citizenship Ceremony, South Sydney – Paddington Town Hall
19 May Reconciliation night Politics In The Pub – Gaelic Club
20 May Reconciliation gig in Redfern
28 May Reconciliation Walk on Sydney Harbour Bridge
9 June Portuguese National Day – Club Marrickville
11 June Kiama Folk Festival
30 July Anti Sanctions Iraq – Granville Town Hall
9 August World Indigenous Day – Pier One, The Rocks
13 August Support for NTEU at UWS Open Day – Rydalmere
19 August Aboriginal Tent Embassy – Victoria Park
22 August Citizenship Ceremony – Paddington Town Hall
30 August 1st Anniversary Timor Independence – Leichhardt Town Hall
2 September Unionists against Corporate Tyranny – Resistance Centre
1 September Politics In The Pub, chile Post-Pinochet, Gaelic Club
4 September Mandela visit – Hilton Hotel
10 September Marrickville Festival
23 September Jez Lowe concert – Loaded Dog Folk Club, Annandale
28 September Streets Alive – Norton Street Leichhardt
3 October Barbara Curthoys Funeral – Lane Cove Crematorium
31 October Citizenship Ceremony – Paddington Town Hall
9 November Xanana Gusmao visit – Seymour Centre
12 November Humanist Society Conference – UTS
18 November 10th Anniversary Sydney A Cappella Assoc. Paddington Church
26 November Nanny Goat Hill Festival – Lilyfield
3 December International Disability Day – Enmore Park
5 December Farewell for Stuart Rees – Sydney University
12 December Citizenship Ceremony – Paddington Town Hall
15 December Reconciliation Gig at Tranby College
20 December Bougainville CD Launch – Gaelic Club

Total = 43 gigs


1 January Nariel Creek Folk Festival – Victoria
7 February Sea Festival – Bondi
13 February Campbelltown Mall
19 February Impromptu Performance – Glengarry Castle
6 March Fundraising Trivia Quiz – Graphic Arts Club
10 March International Women’s Day, St Stephen’s Church – Sydney
14 March FIET Conference – Sydney Town Hall
11 April 12th Birthday Barbeque
15 April Empire Hotel – Annandale.
17 April Yasmar Juvenile Detention Centre
17 April Loaded Dog [1 song]
24-25 April St Albans Folk Festival
1 May Bougainville Women – Gladesville Hospital
19 May Anti VSU Rally Town Hall Square
20 May Community Aid Abroad Benefit – Stanmore
23 May Bennelong Native Title and Reconciliation Group – Hunter’s Hill
10 June Portuguese National Day Festival – Portuguese Club, Sydenham
27 June John Pilger’s East Timor documentary – Globe Theatre Stanmore
9 July Live to DAT recorded concert – Old Darlington School
22 July UNSW Social Policy Conference – Waters’ Edge, Pier One
22 July Wake for John Lennox – Kitty O’Shea’s, Paddington
24 July Cabaret Politique, fundraiser for us – Tom Mann Theatre
14 August Sydney A Cappella Association Festival – Bondi Junction
mid August Dita Sari public meeting, Trades Hall, Goulburn St Haymarket
21 August Yasmar Juvenile Detention Centre
3 September Hospital visit for choir member – Rachel Foster Clinic
5 September BBQ, Sydney A Cappella Association Festival – Jubilee Park
9 September Amnesty Internationl vigil for East Timor – Martin Place
11 September East Timor Rally – Hyde Park
17 September Kavisha Mazella – Three Weeds, Rozelle
12 September March for Timorese Hunger Strikers – Hyde Park to York Street
18 September Scarecrow Festival – Macquarie Towns
18 September Anniversary of Korean Resource Centre – Ashfield Town Hall
21 September Amnesty International Rally for East Timor – First Fleet Park
28 September Citizenship Ceremony, South Sydney – Paddington Town Hall
15 October Live To DAT recorded concert – Old Darlington School
7 November Launch of English Tetum Dictionary – Gleebooks, Glebe
16 November Citizenship Ceremony, South Sydney – Paddington Town Hall
27 November Inauguration of Korean Tiler’s Branch – CFMEU, Campsie
3 December Jive Kayana – Harbourside Brasserie
4 December Filipino Xmas celebration – 66 Albion Street Surry Hills
12 December East Timor benefit – Annandale Hotel

Total = 42 gigs


1 January Woodford Festival – Queensland
22 January Mick Dodson’s Farewell from HREOC
22 March Jamberoo Folk Festival
? March International Women’s Day [women only]
1 April Education Funding Protest – Victoria Park
3 April Politics in the Pub – Glebe
3 April Sydney A Cappella Association – Balmain
11-13 April National Folk Festival
18 April Transport Conference – Granville
18 April MUA Picket – Darling Harbour
19 April MUA Picket – Port Botany
25 April St Albans Folk Festival
26 April MUA Picket – Darling Harbour
1 May Edna Ryan Memorial Function
3 May May Day March
3 May MUA Picket – Port Botany
10 May MUA Picket – Port Botany
15 May MUA Benefit Concert – Gaelic Club
16 May Reclaim The Streets – Belmore Park
16 May East Timor Cultural Festival – First Fleet Park
22 May Women In The Public Sector Conference
26 May Sorry Day – Marrickville
28 May East Timor Benefit – Landsdowne Hotel
10 June Women Of The Waterfront – Newtown
12 June Yasmar Juvenile Detention Centre
20 June Winter Magic Festival – Katoomba
3 July Adult Migrant Education Service Meeting – Teachers Federation
25 July Cuban Celebration – Villawood
6 August Quito, Song Company – Newtown Theatre
8 August Hiroshima Day – Jabiluka Protest
15 August Sydney A Cappella Association – Glebe Town Hall
1 September Bouganiville Benefit – Glebe Town Hall
17 September Community Aid Abroad Dinner
10 October Walking The Streets – Newtown
27 October Forest Alliance Protest – Parliament House
29 October Forest Alliance Protest – Parliament House
1 November East Timor Benefit – Scruffy Murphy’s
14 November Yasmar Juvenile Detention Centre
15 November Cuban Celebration – Marrickville
28 November Australian Heritage Festival – Annandale Neighbourhood Centre
5 December Redfern Residents for Reconciliation – Eveleigh St
12 December Sydney A Cappella Association – Subud Hall
13 December Gladesville Community Street Party

Total = 43 gigs


9 February Loaded Dog Folk Club – Annandale
19 February Edna Ryan Memorial – Leichhardt Town Hall
7 March International Women’s Day – St Mary’s Cathedral
8 March International Women’s Day March
26 March Public Transport Gig
8 April Public Transport Gig – Parliament House
13 April 10th Birthday & CD Launch – Redfern Town Hall
18 April Women’s Electoral Lobby Dinner – Menzies Hotel
20 April Koori Radio – Redfern
27 April St Albans Folk Festival
30 April Iranian/Iraqi Communist Party May Day – Granville Town Hall
3 May FILEF’s May Day Celebration
25 May Combined Choirs, Cooney’s Hotel – Wollongong
30 May CPSU Demo – Town Hall
4 June? Reconciliation Gig???
25 July Politics In The Pub, Industrial reform
2 August Demo against the Eastern Distributor – Moore Park
2 August ??? Demo First Fleet Park
17 August Combined Choirs Event – Lawson
18 August Movement For The Survival Of The Ogoni People – Quakers Hall
22 August Politics In The Pub
31 August Combined Choirs – Culturebank, Brisbane
1 September Combined Choirs, ACTU Congress – Brisbane
1 September Combined Choirs – Ipswich Workers Club, Brisbane
19 September Politics In The Pub
25 September Community Aid Abroad Dinner – El Porron, Leichhardt
26 September Politics In The Pub – Philippines
3 October Politics In The Pub – Noel Pearson
11 October Native Title Rally – The Domain[?]
13 October Mary Conlon Lecture – Eugene Goosens Hall
24 October Workers Health Centre Anniversary – Graphic Arts Club
25 October Amnesty International – Taylor Square
26 October Campaign For A Just Republic Launch – City
15 November Reconciliation Gig – Lawson
16 November Combined Choirs – Lithgow
29 November “Four Strong Women” Gig?
28 December Woodford Festival – Queensland
29 December Woodford Festival – Queensland
30 December Woodford Festival – Queensland

Total = 39 gigs


15 February Westpac workers on strike, Martin Place
17 February Paddington Markets
24 February Paddington Markets
24 May Politics In The Pub
15 June International Volunteers for Peace, Blue Mountains
18 June Community Aid Abroad gig, Martin Place
29 June Bessie Smyth Clinic benefit – Enmore
12 July Politics In The Pub
14 July Philippines benefit – NCOSS, Surry Hills
28 July Anti-Gun rally
30 July Lead Group – Summer Hill
3 August Buses to Incinerator
19 August Trade Union rally – Canberra
24 August Live Recording concert – Old Darlington School
25 August East Timor gig – Tradesman’s Arms ?
29 August Community Aid Abroad – Diethnes, Pitt Street Sydney
31 August Belinda, Miguel & Paddy, Wollombi Festival
14 September Excelsior Folk Festival – Surry Hills
22 September Warren View Hotel
2 November Paddington Markets
16 November Philippines concert – Paddington Uniting Church
22 November Wether.ill Park
23 November Anti-Racism demo
26 November Save Hinchinbrook – Glebe Town Hall [4 members]
28 November Asian Women At Work
1 December Peter Hicks CD launch
7 December James Dunn, East Timor book launch – Landsdowne Hotel
12 December Petersham School

Total = 28 gigs


17 April National Folk Festival – A Movement That Sings Never Dies
29 April Democracy in South Africa, 1 Year Old – Petersham Town Hall
10 June Philippines gig, Born Again Pagans & Jimmy Little – Sudbud Hall
18 June Paddington Town Hall – details forgotten
2 July Combined Choirs, Movement That Sings – North Annandale
4 July Fiesta and Falafel or was it 1992?
29 July Aidwatch – Glebe Town Hall
16 August Total Environment Centre dinner – Graphic Arts Club
15 October Burrawang Festival
28 October Multicultural Festival – Liverpool
28 October Communist Party Anniversary – Marrickville
17 November Marrickville Legal Centre
19 November Cuba Solidarity – Addison Rd Community Centre

Total = 13 gigs


19 February South African night – Burland Hall Newtown
25 February Petersham Public School?
4 March School benefit – Petersham Town Hall
5 March Guatemala public meeting – Albion St courtyard
31 March Green Left Weekly conference – Clancy Auditorium
2-3 April Combined Choirs – National Folk Festival
9 April Senior citizens, Fran McIlroy
17 April Harbourside Brasserie
22 April Politics In The Pub – South Africa
30 April ANC Election night party – Petersham Town Hall
1 May May Day rally – First Fleet Park
3 June Farewell for ANC activists – Bowlers’ Club, Sydney
4 June Combined Choirs – Newcastle Workers Club
25 June Loaded Dog Folk Club
2 July Combined Choirs Against Kennet – Graphic Arts Club
9 July Combined Choirs – Wollongong
22 July Bretton Woods – Glebe Town Hall.
30 July Women In The Catholic Church – Parramatta?
8 August Womens’ Abortion Action Campaign – YWCA
10-11 September Wollombi Folk Festival
22 September East Timor Concert
23 September East Timor Function – Harbourside Brasserie – (Midnight Oil)
24 September Sutherland Environment Group dinner
27 September ANC, COSATU, and SACP reception – Sydney Town Hall
8 October 10th anniversary Balmain Amnesty International group
15 October Eastern Suburbs Poetry Group – Waverly Library
4 November Politics In The Pub, Women In Prison – Ann Symonds speaking
11-13 November Major’s Creek Folk Festival
26 November Philippines Cabaret Night

Total = 29 gigs


29 January Illawarra Migrant Resource Centre
21 March Community day, Scotland Island
26 March Politics In The Pub
3 April Freedom From Hunger conference, Addison Road
26 April St Albans Folk Festival
5 June Eastern Suburbs Poetry Group, Waverly Library
2 May May Day March
20 June Austcare – Tumbalong Park
26 June Stonewall Day – All Of Us Together – Taylor Square
21 August Link Up Conference – Granville
30 August Brackets And Jam – Harbourside Brasserie
1 September Combined African Choirs, ACTU Congress, Darling Harbour
2 September Songs Of Africa – Combined African Choirs, NSW Teachers Fed
4 September Surry Hills Fiesta
11 September Wollombi Festival
18 September Combined African Choirs, New Lambton
14 October Desmond Tutu, St James Church
15 October Women’s Action and Info Group – Lane Cove
17 October Mental Heal Day – Bondi Pavillion
13 November Majors Creek Festival
14 November Newtown Festival
19 November Pat O’Shane, Politics in the Park, Glebe
4 December ANC Benefit – up and down Glebe Point Road and St John’s Hall
11 December STUCCO end of year party
30 December Maleny Folk Festival

Total = 25 gigs


8 January Arts Underground, St James Railway Station
15 February Fundraiser for Cuban Researcher, private house in Roseville
22 February ANC Fundraiser, Gladstone Park, Balmain
16 March Melissa Becker – South African Art Exhibition, Bondi Pavillion
21 March Australian Irish Congress, Journalists Club
28 March Cuban fundraiser, Graphic Arts Club
31 March Multicultural Night, Glebe High School
4 April Solidarity Choir 5th Anniversary, Waterside Workers Federation
5 April Walk Against Want, Tumbalong Park
26 April Music Deli, Eugene Goossens Hall, ABC Ultimo
3 May Live to Air, 2SER FM
3 May May Day Parade, on the May Day Committee’s float
10 May Cockatoo Island
29 May East Timor photo exhibition, Tin Sheds Gallery
19 June Politics In The Park, Harold Park Hotel
4 July Save The Children Of Iraq, Newtown Neighbourhood Centre
19 July Community Arts Association, Cultural Capers, Opera House
25 July Loaded Dog Folk Club, Annandale Neighbourhood Centre
23 August Keep Left – International Socialists conference, UTS
4 September Politics in the Park, Harold Park Hotel
21 September Taylor Square Arts Festival
26 September Future Of The Anti-Apartheid Movement, BWIU building
3 October Burma Solidarity evening, Bondi Pavillion
10 October Building A New South Africa, Bondi Pavillion
11 October Migrants’ Art Exhibition, Emu Plains
12 October Sydney A Cappella Association birthday?
20 October Community Aid Abroad with Voices From The Vacant Lot?
24 October Loaded Dog Folk Club, Annandale Neighbourhood Centre
24 October Jim Percy memorial, Glebe Town Hall
31 October Blacktown Migrant Resource Centre, Emu Plains
28 November Deaths In Custody Watch Committee, Gaelic Club
12 December Community Aid Abroad – ABC Music Show, Eugene Goossens
12 December Tas Bull’s retirement, Museum of Contemporary Art

Total = 33 gigs


? Peace vigil, US Consulate?
7 February Donna Burns memorial, St Mary’s Cathedral crypt
7 February Donna Burns funeral, Chatswood
10 February Network For Peace, Sydney Domain
22 March Latin America week, Pitt St Uniting Church
24 March Palm Sunday march, Sydney Domain
30 March ‘Lux’ and Sindy’s wedding, Kogarah Bay Hall
? March? concert with Bulgarian Women’s choirs, Goosens Hall
3 April Last issue of Tribune function, Water & Sewerage Employees Hall
6 April Korean Conference, YMCA
14 April Walk Against Want, Community Aid Abroad, Darling Harbour
21 April South Sydney cultural day, Redfern Park
27 April FILEF – Italian Liberation Day, Fogolar Furlan restaurant, Lansvale
5 May May Day Latin America/Philippines Solidarity, NCOSS courtyard
? June Harbourside Brasserie
16 June support Roaring Jack, Harold Park Hotel
21 June Soweto Day, Graphic Arts Club
22 June Stanmore Public School Fiesta
4 August New Left Party Living In Sydney conference, Granville TAFE
10 August South African Women’s event, Newtown Neighbourhood Centre
10 August Hiroshima Day
2 September Philippines gig?
19 October Australian Irish Congress, Journalists Club
20 October Freedom From Hunger Conference, Clancy Auditorium
6 November Centenary of The Settlement, Edward St, Chippendale
8 November Sri Lankan Youth Resource Group
14 November CEFTA benefit, Marion Street Leichhardt
17 November Cultural Dissent, Resistance Centre
23 November Aidex Arms Fair – Canberra
30 November Burma Festival, Newtown High School
2 December Farewell to Eddie Funde, Graphic Arts Club
8 December Human Rights Day, Camperdown Memorial Park
7 December East Timor anniversary, St Mary’s Cathedral
7 December East Timor anniversary, Sydney Town Hall
18 December Migrant Resource Centre, Wollongong
? Gaelic Club [Nicholas and Miguel also sang Croppy Boy] or 1992?

Total = 36 gigs


29 April May Day event, Landsdowne Hotel
5 May Radio Skid Row benefit, Addison Rd Community Centre?
16 June Soweto Day, First Fleet Park
28 June ABC Radio National, Upper Forbes Street
21 July Women’s International League For Peace & Freedom, Sydney Uni
4 August Hiroshima Day, First Fleet Park
28 August Public Sector Union building opening, Thomas Street Haymarket
7 September Pacific Rim Health Conference, YWCA
17 October Premiere of Dry White Season, Greater Union Theatre
24 October Mandela visit, Sydney Opera House
24 October Mandela visit, St Mary’s Cathedral
3 November Radio Skid Row benefit, Addison Rd Community Centre
2 December Campaign to Expose the Frame up of Tim Anderson
3 December Radio Eastern Sydney, below Paddington Town Hall

Total = 14 gigs


25 January Bicentennial Protest Group – Bondi
18 February Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras Party
19 March La Peña
1 April Nicaraguan Hurricane Benefit – Paddington Town Hall
29 April South East Forest Alliance – Balmain Town Hall
13/14 May Social Workers Union Roden Cutler House
early May? Thomas Nkobi tour – ANC
21 May CISES Crazy Cabaret La Peña
22 May Gaelic Club
29 July Rainforest gig – Hyde Park
29 July New Left Party conference function – Graphic Arts Club
21 August Gaelic Club
24 August Central American Solidarity Club – UNSW
12 September Open Day – Petersham TAFE
16 September ANC Conference – Lane Cove
14 October Songs For Freedom In South Africa – WWF Hall
21 October FILEF benefit for Nuovo Paese – Leichhardt High School
5 November RORT anti-runway event
19 November La Peña
2-3 December Meeting with People’s Chorus & gig on radio – Catherine Hill Bay
4 December AIDS Day candlelight march – Taylor Square to Hyde Park
7 December FILEF Booklaunch – Napolitana Centre
??? Banchoinc Eireann O for Irish TV – Darling Harbour

Total = 23 gigs


22 January Anti Bicentenial NSWIT Great Hall
7 February Paul Kelly gig – Paddington RSL
12 February Marrickville Legal Centre
12 February Greet Amandla at Airport
18 March Kelly St Kollective, with Floating Eagle Feather
24 March Central America public meeting – Tom Mann Theatre
25 March Mass for Oscar Romero – Kirribilli Church
27 March Palm Sunday rally
7 April Gay/Lesbian demo outside British Consulate – Circular key
22 April Resource & Action Committee for Latin America – La Peña
30 April CISES El Salvador benefit – Paddington Town Hall
1 May Amandla concert at Graphic Arts Club
6 May Youth Forum for Peace & Disarmament – Sydney Uni
7 May Direct Action dinner
10 May South of the Border screening [David Bradbury film]
20 May RACLA fundraiser with Okapi Guitar Band – La Peña
21 May Chile Solidarity fundraiser – La Peña
30 May Aids vigil – Pitt St Uniting Church
16 June Soweto Day – Sydney Town Hall
25 June Liberation Festival – Glebe Town Hall
1 July Gay Lesbian rally – Parliament House
9 July CISCAC – Balmain Town Hall
23-24 July Gorman House – Bogon Theatre Canberra
25 July Rally against anti-abortion legislation – Teachers’ Federation
27 August RACLA BBQ at Bob Hayes’ house, Tempe
2 September Blah, Blah, Blah ABC TV with Andrew Denton
7 October Tranby College event – Leichhardt Town Hall
15 October FILEF – Leichhardt Primary School
16 October La Peña?
5 November Salvadorean Association – Cabramatta
12 November Concert with Voices From The Vacant Lot – Bondi Pavillion
26 November Newtown Festival
10 December Mambologists gig – Teachers’ Federation
16 December Memorial for Johnny Makatini, Pitt Street Uniting Church

Total = 34 gigs


31 March Oliver Tambo visit – Sydney Town Hall
? Rally, Belmore Park
? Gig with Paul Kelly

at least 3 gigs

Early History – 20th Anniversary Speech

Miguel Heatwole’s speech for the Solidarity Choir’s 20th Anniversary.

Twenty years ago tonight the Solidarity Choir gathered on the stage of the Sydney Town Hall to sing against the hateful, racist system of apartheid in South Africa. The occasion was a visit, sponsored by APHEDA by Oliver Tambo, president of the African National Congress who was touring the world and gathering support for his people’s struggle for freedom and dignity.

It was chiefly to sing a beautiful anthem adopted by the ANC in 1912 called Nkosi Sikelel’ iAfrika that the choir was brought together to sing. I’d like to invite anyone here tonight who sang at that first gig to raise their hand and say their name.

I am not an original member of the choir, but I remember how, even from my distant balcony seat at the back of the hall, how passionate and electrifying the choir’s performance of that song had been. I feel sure that when we sing Nkosi at the end of tonight it will be again, passionate and electrifying.

Passionate and electrifying. Exactly what Oliver Tambo’s speech that evening was not. In my own speech tonight I will not be listing in full the organisations that the Solidarity Choir has sung for… trade unions… peace marches…. community centres …. national liberation movements…gay and lesbian organisations ….people held in detention centres….

But to return to the origin story: the choir’s members were drawn from a variety of sources including the ANC itself, anti-apartheid activists, APHEDA, the Gay Liberation Qwire and The Mambologists, a ten member Afro Latin dance band – whose music we’ll have the chance to dance to at the end of the evening.

As I said, I wasn’t there at the outset, but the minutes of our 1991 AGM recount how the first rehearsals began in February 1987, under the leadership of Ricardo Andino, Roger Ellis and Paul Van Ryke. The repertoire was learned in two months at the impressive rate of 3 or 4 songs per night. I recall a conversation years ago with one of the original members who told me that after the choir had decided to continue beyond the first gig, as a permanent institution, the relentless pace of its rehearsals used to serve as a kind of audition – meaning that new members needed considerable skill to join in and keep up with what was going on.

Being soft-hearted lefties the choir was never able to embrace the politics of exclusion. When, in December 1987, I made the decision that would determine the future course of my life, it was a simple matter of turning up on a Thursday night. And so it has always been.

Our policy of inclusiveness has never been seriously questioned within the choir. For all that differing musical standards among our members may at times have challenged us as individuals the high quality of our music when, collectively, we’ve taken it to the public – live, or on any of our three albums – I think vindicates our underlying message, that neither music, nor politics is an exclusive preserve of the elite, and that the voice of community is worth hearing.

I’m not sure why it took me eight months to join the newly formed Solidarity Choir – I’d previously been keen to join the Gay Liberation Quire, after seeing it perform at a demo for Central America. I changed my mind on that one, eventually realising that, in Ken Davis’ words “It would be a little like being the only goy in an all Jewish choir.”

As a young man in my twenties with wide interests and driven to no particular career, I saw countless possible paths leading off to the horizon, if only I were prepared to travel one of them with a lifetime of energy. Among the many alternatives I felt strongly attracted to were: Western choral music – whose intense beauty was too often wrapped around religious texts which I utterly reject – and Human rights, whose claim upon a person can never be joyful, yet cannot morally be resisted. I did enjoy language, both my own and that of other cultures. So I very soon appreciated that the Solidarity Choir’s international repertoire of freedom songs blended these interests. The realisation only came quite a bit later that my career choice had been made.

We’ve enjoyed some very rewarding relationships with other choirs over the years. The first in my recollection was an ad hoc gathering in 1989 for the Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras. Subsumed in the larger group we had to abandon our uniform colours and dress in black, white and “witty pink” [whatever that means] which earned us the chance to sing in front of a truly vast crowd – about 10,000 partying people, whom we soon joined. I had so much fun that night and felt so loved by the group of us who stayed together until dawn, that I afterwards wonder if someone hadn’t perhaps spiked our drinks with ectasy. Don’t suppose I’ll ever know.

Later that same year, disturbed by the ongoing horrors in South Africa, a choir – who are our guests tonight, the Voices From The Vacant Lot – joined us in organising a fundraising dinner, and a fantastic concert which completely packed out the Waterside Workers Hall. In those days the $2,800 we raised was a lot of money, but another measure of our success was the esprit de corps and the lively singing we shared that night. Regrettably it was to be quite some time before our next joint project, which took place in 2005 when Voices took the lead in organising a concert to raise money for the people of Pakistan after the awful earthquake. We are very proud indeed to have them here tonight with us again.

Nelson Mandela’s first visit to Sydney in 1990 was a stupendous event, and involved ourselves, the Voices From The Vacant Lot, The Café at The Gate Of Salvation and some other groups as well. The thrill of singing for such an immense gathering of people won’t be forgotten by any of us. … although I’ll bet that I’m unique in having actually tried to forget it. You see, I had been down to sing a solo that would lead the choir into a very upbeat tribute to Mandela just at the moment he arrived and tens of thousands of people were going completely wild. It didn’t happen… I won’t say why, but many years on I have managed to let it go and now can share in the general nostalgia.

Twice, in the mid 1990s at the National Folk Festival in Canberra, trade union choirs from all around Australia gathered together to make up the largest massed choir in Australia’s labour history. It was as good as it sounds, ‘though in many ways the informal singing sessions we had in the bar were even better! Smaller events in Sydney, Newcastle, Wollongong and Brisbane followed but were no less exciting or energetic. The body of songs developed in those days remains a strong link among the choirs and we are very pleased to welcome tonight members of the Sydney Trade Union Choir, Blue Mountains Trade Union Choir, Canberra Union Voices, and Victorian Trade Union Choir.

Out of the five or six hundred gigs we’ve done, there are a few that I’d like to call to mind. Some because they were awesome and some because they were awful.

I think I’ll start at the bottom and work up. A great debacle – unrivalled ever since for sheer cacophony – took place on Stonewall Day in 1993. Seriously under-rehearsed we climbed onto the back of a truck near Taylor Square to perform for the rally a song about gay and straight solidarity called All Of Us Together. A few short weeks earlier I’d tasked myself with making a simple two-part arrangement that the choir might quickly learn. However I turned up at the next rehearsal with four parts, and two key changes. Only once has that arrangement ever been accurately sung; in a park several minutes before the gig. I made the elementary mistake [never since repeated] of failing to pull the plug when we abruptly began singing in a variety of different keys. Two or three very uncomfortable minutes later I turned and addressed the crowd’s polite applause, saying “I’m glad the theme of today’s rally is ‘We are family’ because I’d hate to have done that in front of a bunch of strangers!”

For different reasons, the most awful of our gigs ‘though were the memorial and funeral of Donna Burns. Donna was murdered in 1991 before she could see the end of the apartheid system she’d devoted herself to fighting. She loved the Solidarity Choir, but her dedication to the struggle had never left her enough time to join us. I will never understand how her lover was able to speak so clearly and eloquently about her, on that day – it was certainly a struggle for us to sing.

And one violent death in one’s own community teaches us something essential about the enormity of the atrocities going on throughout the world. We’ve often sung at solemn events reflecting the tragedy of terrible losses, like that of Donna, that are suffered on a catastrophic scale by entire nations. A midnight vigil for East Timor during the Indonesian-sponsored violence on the eve of independence was one such. The welcome given to our singing by a community gripped with apprehension and fear for their loved ones was almost tangible that night. I was conducting the choir, my back to the audience, and so wasn’t able to see that the moment we began Foho Ramelau the entire audience rose to its feet.

Strong stuff. It kinda comes with the territory, and yet I do recall one of those very rare occasions when the entire Left throughout the world had a real reason to dance, and sing for joy! When the first democratic elections were held in South Africa, and naturally the ANC won a landslide victory, we were invited to a celebration at the Petersham Town Hall. Thirty of us gathered in a nearby park to warm up and at the appointed time we entered the completely packed hall and sang our way to the stage. The exultant roar that rose up to meet the opening bars of Senzenina was like a drug, a rush of pure triumph…not our triumph admittedly, but it sure felt that way.

Although some of us probably found it difficult to feel triumphant at 5 o’clock one morning in 1998, shivering on the docks at Port Botany, the ultimate failure of the government’s campaign against the Maritime Union of Australia made us feel that our singing on the picket lines, and the solidarity among ourselves, other trade union choirs, and the community of union workers had been a beautiful part of the victory.

It’s natural to remember great events such as these. But I also recall the smallest Solidarity Choir gig in history. As it happened it was my birthday that day and my present to myself was to go stand outside the US Consulate in Martin Place with Mark Westcott and sing Axises Of Evil with him into a shared megaphone.

I’m sure many of us in this room treasure similar small recollections from their lives in the choir – moments when it felt good to stand with, sing with or drink with their comrades. I’m equally sure that we can all recall moments of feeling intensely annoyed with fellow choir members for one reason or another.

So now I’m going to mention the tour. In the northern summer of 2001 two crowded minibuses took 27 people on a tour of England, Ireland and Wales. In one month we did 26 gigs, and we sold so many CDs that we came home with more money in the choir’s account than when we left. Everywhere we went we met fantastic people from choirs similar to ours, impressed them with our music, slept in their homes and probably spent about thirty minutes talking with them. The rest of the time seemed to be taken up with meetings [I won’t call them arguments] about where and when to get back on the buses and drive to the next gig.

The experience taught us two lessons I think. The first would be “never go on tour again.” – or at least not in the same vehicles. The second we learned in Cardiff from Cor Cochion [The Cardiff Red Choir]. These folks were really very impressive. They sounded no better or worse than any other community choir, but what set them apart was the way they took their passion into the streets. They were then nearly 20 years old and had gone out into the streets every single weekend to sing, hand out pamphlets and collect money for various causes – very often for Palestine. It’s an example of activism that we talked about following but never did. Or should I say, haven’t yet. With the approach of the Federal election this year it strikes me that the time is right to get ourselves out to marginal seats and sing for people who don’t already agree with us. After tonight I’m going to take a sabbatical from choir, but when I return in the spring I hope to be part of a new proactive approach to creating political change in this country.

Finally, I want to thank everyone who helped make tonight possible, beginning with you the audience – thank you so much for coming! Thank you Mark, and also Fran for coordinating, Helen for organising the food, Adrian, Maria and Lou for decorations, Terry for publicity, Ann, for taking bookings, and Greg, Tiiu, Carol for the refreshments. Thanks to Peter Miller Robinson for sound, and thanks to APHEDA for staffing the door. Thank you to anyone I missed out who should have been thanked, and above all, thank you to the Solidarity Choir, past and present, for caring about people in distress throughout the world, and making your voices heard so beautifully, so strongly, for so many years.