VoiceMoves is delighted to have local choral legends Prue Ashurst and John Christmass as its Patrons.
Both Prue and John share the same enthusiastic philosophy for the social and physical well-being a choir brings to a community and indeed the fun and joy of performing. Rather like vocal ‘Master Chefs’, but without the calories!
Prue graduated from the University of Western Australia with a Masters in Music Performance (Choral Conducting) and Bachelors of Music Education and Performance and has completed studies and performances both interstate and overseas.
Prue’s choirs have sung in Geneva, London, Singapore and Wales and she is in demand as a choral conductor, adjudicator and music director in Perth. She has conducted for the Perth International Arts Festival, WA Opera, the Gilbert & Sullivan Society, UWA Choral Society, WASO Chorus, the WASO Youth Choir and, since 2002, has guest conducted in Sydney and Melbourne with Australia’s most prestigious children’s choir, Gondwana Voices.
In 2005, Prue was chorus master for both the WASO Chorus and the 100-voice Youth Choir performing with the West Australian Symphony Orchestra in John Adams’ On the Transmigration of Souls conducted by the internationally acclaimed Marin Alsop. In 2006, Prue led the WASO Youth Choir for Berlioz’s Te Deum with maestro Claus Peter Flor and in the same year trained 120 very excited Penrhos College girls who appeared with Hugh Jackman in the acclaimed Perth season of The Boy from Oz.
Prue currently lectures at the University of Western Australia but, of course, we all know and love Prue for the inspiring classical music she brings us every Friday morning after 6.20am on 720 ABC Perth’s Breakfast show.
John ‘got the bug’ for choral singing 60 years ago and has had it ever since, but with growing intensity. He’s founded several choirs and conducted all types – school choirs, unison, two part, three part, four part, WA Choral Society for 20 years, the Anzac service choir for 50 years, the World Swimming Championships choir and other events too numerous to mention.
His abiding love has been The New I Voci Singers which he formed 31 years ago and developed into a world class choral group involved in Concert Hall productions, television’s ‘Battle of the Choirs’ and three tours of Germany by invitation. The New I Voci Singers has issued six CDs with outstanding success and another compilation is in progress for release later this year and for sale in Germany.
John has contributed and generated such a love and enjoyment of singing for many generations in Western Australia. His commanding and enthusiastic presence on the conductor’s podium continues to inspire numerous choristers young and old.
John says choral singing can be stimulating, educational and fun. “The higher the standard achieved, the greater the satisfaction,” says John. “It is impossible to sing and not feel joyful, no matter how one feels before rehearsal. One simply cannot sing and feel miserable! Sing whatever you like, but sing it well and joy will result.”