The Opera House was abuzz on 11th June as the Sydney Philharmonia Choir and a vocal choir of 750 people from around Australasia were joined by 17 members of the newly formed Sydney Auslan Ensemble (SAE) for a thrilling performance of Felix Mendelssohn’s grand oratorio Elijah. The vocal choir only came together that weekend, rehearsing for two days before performing as ChorusOz. SAE however, had been practicing for six weeks, ahead of their debut performance.
The SAE consists of Deaf, hard of hearing and hearing members who work as Auslan interpreters, translators and teachers or have Deaf family and friends. All members have a shared love of the Auslan language and opening up artistic experiences to all. Riona Tindall, project lead for the SAE, said: “I am very grateful to the everyone who joined the Sydney Auslan Ensemble! Such a huge diversity of people came together with a common goal to sign the Mendelssohn’s Elijah Chorus OZ, which was a challenge itself with its unique music. However choristers had an enormous input in the Auslan translation of the music which made it their own. Some of the Ensemble members were deeply moved by the experience and it has been a privilege for me to see the performance come together and have people sign with such passion and expression! I hope to do more in future.”
Their debut performance was facilitated by Accessible Arts. If you’d like to get involved in future SAE events, please contact our Deaf Arts Officer Riona Tindal and join the Deaf Arts Network Facebook page.