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Case Studies Strengthening Relationships between Regional Choirs | RAF Case Study (2019)

Ballarat Choral Society collaborated with Colac Chorale to provide professional development opportunities, a masterclass and to produce two concerts. This has fostered ongoing relationships between the two regional choirs.

A Quick Response Grant recipient, via the Regional Arts Fund, as managed by Regional Arts Victoria.

Ballarat Choral Society set out on this project with three clear goals in mind:

  1. To provide employment and professional development opportunities for professional musicians in regional Victoria, including the conductor, the orchestra instrumentalists and the soloists.
  2. To bring a high-quality musical performance to audiences in Ballarat, Colac and the wider region. Many of whom would rarely get the opportunity to experience this level of classical choral performance.
  3. To mentor Colac Chorale not just in terms of music, but also in terms of stagecraft, production and preparation and publicity.

The project delivered on all three goals. Both choirs rehearsed their own pieces and a collaborative finale. A Masterclass was held in the week prior to the concert weekend, with all choristers, soloists and musicians involved. The concert was rehearsed and performed twice over a weekend in May 2019 to packed houses.

Each choir performed a short bracket of music, accompanied by its own keyboard accompanist and conducted by its own Musical Director. Colac Chorale presented a cycle of four Schumann songs while Ballarat Choral Society presented a series of songs taken from works by William Shakespeare and featuring composers of several periods, including 20th Century favourite John Rutter. In the second half of the program, the two choirs combined with three professional soloists from the Ballarat area and a small chamber orchestra of professional regional artists, to perform Vivaldi’s well-known Gloria, conducted by Ballarat Choral Society’s Musical Director, Helen Duggan.

After each concert an afternoon tea was provided by choir volunteers, so that community audience members and performers could mingle and socialise. At both events the feedback from participants and audience members was overwhelmingly positive and encouraging, including from several people for whom this was their first concert of its type.


  • 17 professional musicians from regional Victoria were employed on the project.
  • Ballarat Choral Society and Colac Chorale presented a shared concert of classical music to full audiences.
  • The venues were full to capacity, with audiences travelling from across the region to attend.
  • Ticket sales contributed to the Choir’s capacity to purchase music and employ musicians in the future.
  • Professional development was provided for singers and committee members through the experience of mentoring.
  • Project attracted new singers to the groups.
  • Increase exposure to classical music for local audiences.
  • Relationship between the groups is strong and future collaborations are underway.

Applicant location: Ballarat, Victoria.
Project Location: Colac & Ballarat, Victoria.
Amount of RAF support: $3000
Total project cost: $13,538.00

Ballarat Choral Society, Colac Chorale and Chamber Orchestra performing Vivaldi’s Gloria
Ballarat Choral Society, Colac Chorale and Chamber Orchestra performing Vivaldi’s Gloria in D at St Patrick’s Cathedral, Ballarat. Photographer: Janette Dalgliesch