Cloud9 Women's Choir

Coming together to share the joy of singing

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Cloud9 2020 Update

This year started out very positively on Saturday February 1st with a big rehearsal prior to term starting that we dubbed The Big Note Bash.  We had two fantastic rehearsals with a very delicious lunch and a good catchup break in the middle.

The idea was to set us up for a year of singing musical repertoire for Women, by Women. We had a wonderful turn-out including new members who were not put off by the intensity of the day as the music was new for all of us.

Our Musical Director Christine Storey warmed us up along with our regular accompanist Annabelle Clucas.  We then had the privilege of two talented guest musicians, Dean Sky-Lucas and Sam Hartley, join us. We are fortunate in our rehearsal space that we could divide into three groups, each with piano or keyboard to learn the individual parts before coming together to sing as a choir, albeit a very scratch performance.

Dean entertained us with tongue twisters in English and French which helped us with the French pronunciation of text of Les Sirenes by Lili Boulanger and I not sure that we sounded at all like sirens as we attempted the chromatic six part sections!! But much laughter was had and that is good for the diaphragm too.

The first term started with a range of music from Anne Boleyn to Dolly Parton as we began to settle into the repertoire and then cast aside things that just didn’t work for us!


End of Term One

Just as we were getting ready to finalise our venue for the June 2020 performance, and the jitters of learning a whole concert of new music was finally settling down, we encountered the COVID-19 pandemic.  This was a spanner in the works……… as we had to acknowledge early on that singing is a germy business. We made a decision to cease rehearsals even before we were urged to do so by the Health Department.

Our farewell to Cloud9 accompanist Annabelle Clucas  has had to be postponed due to social distancing guidelines!! She announced her resignation from the choir effective at  the end of term one and we are very sad.  She is returning to her roots in Qld and to a different work life/ balance perhaps?

 We have been so lucky to have had the company of this talented woman every Thursday for the past 20 years. She had been integral to the glue that binds Cloud9 together and we thank her sincerely for her skill, patience and musical ability and for the hours of beautiful music making we have enjoyed – or was that endured – together? Annabelle will be deeply missed and details of the final farewell function are yet to be decided.

Term two

When we will resume is at the moment unknown, so our challenge is to keep connected and engaged vocally with Dropbox files, Youtube videos and emails. We are looking at online platforms for learning and sharing choral music and will reorganise our program for concerts this year when the situation becomes clearer.  

Stay well everyone and be kind to each other.

Remember to quarantine Thursday night 7.30 to 9.30 for singing!


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Our Winter Concert – the best ever!!

Wow! Singing at Church of All Nations for our Winter concert on June 22nd was an energising and uplifting experience.  I overheard one chorister say “It was a triumph!” And the evening certainly had a wonderful sense of community, musical excellence, great leadership, sublime soloists and a full house.  The standing ovation was a wonderful affirmation of all the time and energy that goes into creating a musical experience like that.

Warmest thanks go to Christine M Storey our Musical Director who very ably led Cloud9 Choir, as well as our guests: Dean Sky-Lucas on organ, The Crossing Machine String Quartet with Asher Reichman, Soprano Suzanne Shakespeare, and Mezzo Neda Bizarri.

Annabelle Clucas, our regular accompanist, joined us for the second half of the program and was brilliant as always. Particularly memorable was the ensemble with the violins for Elgar’s Fly Singing Bird and The Snow. Have a look at our program for details of the evening.

Lastly, thank you to our wonderful audience: your role completes the performance circle.

Cloud9’s next concert will be on December 7th 2019 
so save the date. We’ll be back at North Balwyn Uniting Church and look forward to seeing you there and catching up over supper.


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New venue for our next concert

Cloud9’s next concert at 5.30 pm on June 22nd 2019 will be at Church of All Nations, 180 Palmerston St, Carlton, 3053.

Church of All Nations. Image credit: Richard Dobbie, Photoeventz


We will be performing Vivaldi’s Gloria for female voices with The Crossing Machine and the wonderful 130-year-old, very fine Fincham Organ played by Dean Sky-Lucas. The other half of the concert will include songs by Edward Elgar, Michael Mcglynn, David Childs, Kim Andre Arnesen and Andrea Ramsey’s Lineage (hopefully sung a cappella). There is even a place for supper at this acoustically splendid church.

If you are lucky you might score on-street parking out the front; otherwise, there are quite a few parking options within a short walk.  You could download a handy parking app called Parkopaedia which details where to park for free and the cost of the local car parks too. There is ample public transport up Lygon St and car pooling will help reduce costs and our carbon footprint.

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The Joy and Fear of Singing

Have you noticed how popular choirs are becoming in this world of digital communication? Apparently Pub Choir is the next big thing for Gen Y/ Millennials and I think this demonstrates how urgently we still need to connect on a human level.  It is informal, fun, and no one judges you or tells you to stop!

It seems that every other person has a story to tell about how they were asked not to sing when they first started in a choir in their formative years and so they stopped.  That’s a shame because there is something very primal about standing next to another person and singing in unison: it unites us. Everyone can do it; we sing to connect, to celebrate, to grieve, as part of ritual or ceremony, it stirs the emotions with variability of content and style.

I was very struck by the Fijians singing in harmony in their huddle at the Rugby League World Cup 2017, but not so much by Aussie rules ( sorry Collingwood) although I am sure it was primal.

When we sing in harmony, we resonate with each other and  it has a profound effect on our physiology. Singing together affects our hormones and increases the release of endorphins and oxytocin, the feel-good hormones, and we tend to synchronise our breathing and heart rates. This is both energising and relaxing at the same time. For me this tends to come after we have worked on a piece for a while so I am immersed in the music and not worrying about the notes or the timing or holding the music. I guess that is why our two signature songs – Let it Go and Blessing have so much connection for most of the choir.

Choristers who meet regularly to sing know how good it is for body, mind and soul. I sing with the Cloud 9 Women’s Choir because I love to sing, enjoy the company of a diverse range of women and benefit from the vocal and choral skills training provided weekly by our Musical Director Christine Storey and our accompanist Annabelle Clucas.

I look forward to the benefits at rehearsal every Thursday night. And the sense of accomplishment after we perform in concert is very special, and we share this by having supper, and the chance to talk and catch up with our audience.

Anne Woodward

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Welcome to Cloud 9 2019


Our first rehearsal on Jan 31st was a taster of things to come: we started work on the Vivaldi Gloria for female voices, as well as some Elgar songs both of which we plan to do with string accompaniment at the end of Term 2. The Mid-year Concert date TBC so keep checking back here for more details as they arise.

Christine Storey our Musical Director introduced us to the wonderful sound of Heterophony …. a form of singing where each singer sings in isolation but with acute awareness of the ensemble effect…. well in theory…. somehow we did end up singing in unison…. hilarious.

Check out  Anuna Irish Choir



Term1 – Thursdays Jan 31stto April 4th

Term 2 – NO Choir ANZAC day 25thApril Thursdays May 2nd  to June 27th

Term 3 – Thursdays July 18thto September 19th

Term 4 – Thursdays Oct 10thto December 12th

End-of-year Concert Dec 7th

Choir break up party plus AGM, and a sing December 12th 

Summer break until late January/early Feb 2020 with big plans….shhhhhh can’t tell you yet.

New Members

If you have always wanted to sing in a choir, why not come along we are a friendly bunch and supportive of each other. Just contact us via this website (How to Join), so we know to look out for you – perhaps come and give it a go for a couple of weeks.

We would love singers to attend every week but acknowledge that is not always possible. However a bigger pool of singers allows people to take time away without affecting the balance too much. There are section leaders and extra rehearsals plus other help learning the music.

Our repertoire is wide and varied and there is usually something for everyone over time. We have social occasions as well and laugh a lot!


AW Chair Cloud9

On February 14th we were treated to a wonderful rehearsal with Dean Sky-Lucas.

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Farewell Gloria!

Our last rehearsal of Term 2 was a fond farewell to our beloved Music Director Gloria. We farewelled her in style: she arrived to Van Morrison’s Gloria and a choir-made avenue of honour to walk under. We followed this with a Scottish-themed evening of songs, food, quizzes and gifts.

There will be a keenly-felt gap in our ranks, now that Gloria has departed for Scotland. We are sad – there is no denying that. But without change life would be dull and no one wants that!

We meet every Thursday to rehearse, but really it is an exchange of musical energy, a positive filling up of the spiritual battery, of mutual enjoyment and challenge to do better: to reach a goal scored by the whole team. And when we get it right, there is a physical vibration or resonance that holds a piece of music magically for a few moments and then is gone.  It is ethereal – it can’t really be recorded as we feel it, but like a drug we want to experience that again and so we come back every week.

Gloria, we have loved your calm guidance over the past 5 years, your patience and your good humour as Cloud9 has been gently steered and sometimes cattle prodded to new heights. Thank you, you will be greatly missed and we wish you all the very best for your time in Scotland.

If you would like to join our choir and share the good vibrations you are most welcome. First rehearsal for Term 3 is on 19thJuly.

Farewell Gloria! Cloud9 will miss you.

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What a wonderful Winter concert!

Cloud9’s Winter Concert – Let Us All Unite was enthusiastically received by a wonderful audience on Saturday 23rd June.  Thank you to all of our supporters.

The celebration of Australian composers in the program was well received, particularly because our fabulous announcers took the opportunity to explain the story of each song. 

The audience loved soaring with the albatross The Wanderer over southern shores of Antarctica, the choir’s opening piece. And we all felt the joy of Morning Tide.

A Place by the River by Eddie Perfect, arranged by Kate Sadler, features the Yarra River as the star of the song. We follow her story from watching the rise of the Indigenous Kulin nations to Melbourne today. Perfect muses that if she could, the Yarra would probably look surprised at the city that lines her banks today.

A gasp arose in the room at the close of the emotional Malala, a song written by Paul Jarman about and for the world’s youngest Nobel Peace prize-winner Malala Yousafzai. The choir’s driving rhythms were backed by the pulsing of the tabla played by Jay Dabgar. 

Jay then partnered with Hari Sivanesan, a Tamil singer and Veena musician, to introduce us to classical Indian music. A few choir members were heard to mutter: “Wow! Let’s head to India!”

There were other old favourites we adored performing again, including You are the New Day, In Flanders Fields, Sound the Trumpet and Jerusalem.

Cloud9 finishes every concert by spreading around the room and singing Let It Go and The Irish Blessing. Let It Go was taught to us by Ben Leske who died in March at only 38 years of age. With every chorister’s eye riveted on Gloria, a number owned up to rather wet eyes.

The concert closed with an emotional farewell to the choir’s Musical Director, Gloria Gamboz. She has brought Cloud9 to new heights of performance and love of music during her five years as Musical Director. Gloria leaves for a new life in Scotland this week and we’ll miss her terribly.

Now the hunt is on for Gloria’s replacement. Watch this space!

Thank you to Jerze Shapter-Lau for the photos.