NCS Electives 2019


NCS Electives (last year’s Special Performance Projects) are back by popular demand!

A range of special electives of musical interest are on offer to each chorister, led by an expert in the field. Electives include Taiko drumming, gamelan ensemble, music theatre, small a cappella groups, music therapy and music media.

Javanese Gamelan and Vocal Music

Although Javanese gamelan is composed mainly of percussion instruments, solo and group singing also play prominent roles both as featured and textural components of the music. Gamelan develops ensemble, listening and coordination skills as players interlock their individual lines to form melodic cycles and ostinatos. Vocalists will have the opportunity to experience a different vocal technique, expressive ornamentation and unfamiliar intonation and scales, all sung in the Javanese language. Repertoire will include a variety of traditional instrumental and vocal pieces.

Born in Malaysia, Vi King Lim completed a Master of Music degree in composition at the University of Sydney in 2005 under the tutorship of Peter Sculthorpe. He began playing Javanese gamelan in 1992 and received a scholarship from the Indonesian government to study gamelan and dance at the School of Performing Arts in Surakarta, Central Java from 1995 to 1997. Returning to Sydney, he became Director of Langen Suka, a Javanese gamelan group now based at UNSW. He choreographed and directed Langen Suka’s performances at Sydney Opera House as part of the Festival of Asian Music and Dance in 2001 and 2002 including the dance-drama The Banishment of Sekar Taji. Apart from gamelan, Vi King has been a regular Lay Clerk of St Mary’s Cathedral Choir since 2009 and is currently preparing the roles of Herrmann and Schlemil for Rockdale Opera’s production of The Tales of Hoffmann.


Taikoz is thrilled to be back at the 2019 National Choral School! Taikoz members Ryuji Hamada and Kerryn Joyce will present two unique taiko experiences for young musicians.

Kerryn is trained in taiko drumming, shinobue (Japanese bamboo flute), odori (Japanese dance), as well as contemporary percussion practice. Her style is very dynamic and versatile and in 2019, Kerryn will explore new taiko music, movement and singing.

Ryuji is a specialist in yoko-uchi style taiko, or ‘side-on’ drumming, which is a very dynamic way of drumming involving very graceful, but powerful body movements to create the rhythm on the taiko. Both sessions will also involve singing a Japanese song.

Notes: Ages 14 – 19, physically demanding activity

Randai – Suara Indonesia Dance

This year for the Gondwana Choirs, Suara Indonesia will be teaching a contemporary piece combining the traditional music and dance element of Randai, using the galembong pants to create rhythms, body percussion, voice and talempong pacik (small hand held gongs).

WORKSHOP: Created by the Minangkabau people of West Sumatra, Randai evolved from local village practices of storytelling, folk singing, and combat training. This mesmerising performance art is based on well-known folk tales and epics, local musical traditions, and indigenous martial arts. Generally performed in a circle, Randai can be found in Minangkabau villages from the coastal region of West Sumatra to the hinterland. The circle is of particular importance and has become the structural foundation of this art form. Any one performance of Randai can last several nights. Randai, in its current form, emerged in the early 20th century and at first was only performed by men. Today, men and women perform this holistic performance art that integrates dance, singing and theatre.

An easily visible and prominent element of Randai is the clothing. Traditional Minangkabau pants have been adapted for Randai theatre by making them wider and lengthening the loose fabric between the legs all the way down to the level of the ankles. These pants, called galembong, can be stretched by kicking up a leg, thus providing a tight and percussive surface. When the performers slap the material with their hands, they produce a drum-like, booming sound. This unique and exciting type of material-slapping is called Tapuak galembong and constitutes the signature feature of Randai theatre. Accompanied by song, interludes of Tapuak galembong mark transitions between dances and acted scenes, and can almost be thought of as a curtain call between acts. 

Notes: physically demanding activity

Suara Indonesia Dance presents an energetic mix of dance, body percussion and song. With a blend of traditional and contemporary influences from their Indonesian heritage and Australian upbringing, Suara Indonesia Dance brings liveliness, originality and all-engaging performances to the stage. Choreographer Murtala, originally from Aceh, North Sumatra, and Artistic director Alfira preserve traditional and folkloric dances as well as create new works based on traditional elements. This dynamic duos' traditional training has inspired the troupe to acknowledge the past as a way to comprehend and contribute to the present and future art form of dance and music.


Music Theater – Alexander Andrews

Unleash your inner star as you work with director Alexander Andrews in exploring the works of musical theatre’s leading composers. Learn vital stagecraft techniques in bringing together singing, acting, and dancing; work in a musical theatre ensemble and put together a performance worthy of any Broadway stage; focus on truthful singing and acting, creating emotional depth while maintaining ease and confidence in performance. Collaboration and structured play are key in these workshops, as you work together in a fun, safe environment in learning how to effectively reach an audience and tell an engaging story.

Alexander is an emerging theatre-maker, with a deep passion for education and the arts, he recently co-founded independent theatre group Little Triangle in a collaborative effort to bring theatre and education to young people, offering opportunities in professional and personal growth. Alexander has a range of direction and design credits, including Merrily We Roll Along (Little Triangle, 2017) Sunday in the Park with George (Little Triangle, 2017), Painting Seventeen, (Gala Finalist, Short+Sweet, 2017), The Women (Edgewise Productions, 2016), A Little Night Music (MUSE, 2015), and Anyone Can Whistle (MUSE, 2014). As designer (set, costume, graphic), Alexander worked on Sarah Gaul in Slumberland (Sydney Fringe, 2015) and Under Milk Wood (Tiny Horse Theatre, 2015) for which he also assistant-directed and co-adapted. Alexander's life has been shaped by teachers and it was for this reason he chose to become one. Alexander graduated from the University of Sydney with a Bachelor of Arts in History and Performance Studies, and later completed a Diploma of Teaching (Secondary) in History and Drama. Alexander is currently teaching Drama at the Australian Performing Arts Grammar School. Alexander recently joined the Gondwana Choirs team, facilitating workshops in music theatre.

Music Therapy – Bonnie Nilsson

This project will enable you to experience what it is like working in a hospital environment using music as a tool to engage, motivate and express one’s self.  Songwriting, composition and performing will play a vital role as well as the opportunity for the students to be educated in the origins of Music Therapy and its application within the healthcare setting. Participants will use pre-existing material composed by patients and the Music Therapy staff to inspire them to write for and with if possible, pieces that reflect the experiences of their time in hospital. 

A cappella – Naomi Crellin

Join a specially auditioned small group of singers to form a bespoke a cappella ensemble, directed by The Idea of North’s Naomi Crellin. Learn from one of Australia’s experts in the field as you explore the world of contemporary a cappella singing. 

Notes: Ages 15 – 25

Music Media – Hamish Boyd

Get behind the camera and help to capture the choral magic of National Choral School. In this project, you’ll work with videographer Hamish Boyd to develop your skills as a video-maker – from pre-production, filming techniques and post-production, you’ll understand what it takes to translate musician's artistry into high quality videos. You will welcome to use your own equipment but no equipment is required.