Cloud9 Women's Choir

Coming together to share the joy of singing


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Cloud 9 Re-emergence Concert, 9 April 2022

Forget the selfies: this is how a choir member’s 6-year-old family member captured our first concert in over 2 years. Here we are, singing our hearts out and showing off our many coloured outfits. How wonderfully she has caught our individuality.

And what a buzz we got from our return to performance! In her first concert with Cloud 9, Music Director Kerry led us through a range of songs chosen especially to mark our return to performing and to provide a salve for the effects of the last 2 years of living with Covid.

The works came from around the world and explored the themes of courage, resilience, renewal and the power of nature and togetherness. From Will Todd’s Like a Rainbow Shining written in 2020 as a response to Covid, to Irving Berlin’s Blue Skies, it was a masterful program; thoughtful, meditative, uplifting, and joyful. 

Our accompanist Sam performed two of his own compositions, Autumn Winds and Spring Rains, in a superbly virtuosic manner which had the audience totally enthralled.

I’m now looking forward to our September concert which will be particularly special as we will be marking the 10th Anniversary of the formation of Cloud9 Women’s Choir. Watch this site or our Facebook page for further details.

Janice, Choir and Committee member.


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Bring on 2022!

We are so looking forward to another year of great singing, fun and friendship with the talented and enthusiastic support of our music director, Kerry and accompanist, Sam. 

One thing with Covid is that we never know what’s going to come next, but I like the analogy of “dancing on a shifting carpet”. That’s what we did last year and what we will continue to do this year. The last two years have not stopped us singing – even if it has been mostly remotely – and that has made the times when we have been able to get together all the sweeter. 

As well as our scheduled rehearsals on Thursday evenings and hopefully some live performances, 2022 will be an exceptional year for Cloud9. Later in the year, we will celebrate the 10 years that Cloud 9 choristers have been singing together. We’ll be celebrating the beautiful music we have sung over that time and acknowledging the contribution that each of our Music Directors has made to the choir we have become.

A warm welcome back for existing and new Cloud 9 choristers. And a warm welcome waits for anyone thinking of joining us. Just send us an email and we will be in touch.

Janice

Choir member and Committee Chair 2022

Masks or no masks, we just love singing together!


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“Thank you for the music, the songs we’re singing.”

And as ABBA might ask: What would life be for Cloud9 without our choir and our songs? So, a very BIG thank you to Kerry, our magical music director, for keeping us together and singing for an entire term without one face-to-face, or mask-to-mask, rehearsal! 

The ever-brilliant Kerry

Together on zoom we have learned and rehearsed our concert repertoire, each section enjoying our half hour of Kerry’s exclusive attention, after which we have moved on to a variety of other songs, just for fun. Much as we have enjoyed these rehearsals, each section felt a bit lonely without the rest of the choir so the term finished with a celebratory full choir zoom get-together combining songs and small group chats. Aren’t breakout rooms amazing? It was wonderful to see each other again!

Sopranos, mezzos and altos all together.

We resume rehearsals this week, and now there is a glimmer of hope on the horizon, faint as yet, that we may meet again, in person, before the end of the year, and SING!


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Farewell Christine

Sadly we say goodbye to Christine, who has been our Music Director since 2018. Christine has shared with us her enthusiasm and her amazing depth of musical knowledge and vocal skills, and we are grateful to have learned so much from her. She has introduced us to all kinds of interesting music including the mysteries of heterophony and the magic of Michael McGlynn. 

We will remember our 2019 concert at the Church of All Nations as quite possibly the best concert we have ever performed.  

Christine has done us proud, and as she moves on in this time of change we wish her well and look forward to hearing news of her success in the future.


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Cloud9 is finally back together

Last Thursday Cloud9 came alive again. Undeterred by last minute changes to the COVID rules,  we masked up and went back for our first rehearsal in nearly a year. We had doubts about our voices after so long, but Christine took us carefully and gently through warm-ups, before we moved on to some of our favorite songs, and by the end of the evening we had regained our confidence.  It was so good to see everyone again, even if we could only see half of each face, and it was wonderful to be singing.  

Here we are in our COVID safe expanded area – Cloud9, the Masked Entertainers!


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Cloud9 comes together for the joy of singing!

That joy has been muted (literally) this year, as required  by lockdown restrictions and health advice, but our friendship bonds are strong, and we have all kept in touch throughout the year.  We had zooms, when we could even sing together, if muted, to recordings of our favourite songs, and blissfully, by the end of the year we were able to meet in person, in our section groups, outdoors, to enjoy each other’s company, and even sing. 

We are now looking forward to the New Year.  We may not be sure what it will bring, but we are fairly certain there will be much more joyful singing.

 

Our wonderful Altos – delighted in finally being able to meet in person!

 

Singing together – yet apart – in 2020

 


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COVID-19 and Cloud9: how are we going?

The Cloud9 Committee and Musical Director Christine Storey were proactive and back in early March decided to suspend choir rehearsals in light of the developing health crisis that turned out to be the COVID-19 pandemic.

As a result, we had to have a virtual farewell to our talented accompanist of many years Annabelle Clucas. Some thirty-two members joined a Zoom call with digitally-acquired gifts, heartfelt speeches, farewell toasts and a poem (or as Janice called it, a bit of doggerel). The very talented Desley produced both a digital and hard copy photo memorabilia card.

Since then we have met up via Zoom to keep connected, but we soon learned that actual singing cannot be easily done over zoom due to the internet delay. We have tried a few options for learning repertoire and singing at home with microphones muted, or breaking into smaller groups and coming together later and singing karaoke style accompanied by our own recordings from previous concerts. This is not for everyone especially those who are zoomed out from being online all day at work.

We have been learning about droplets and aerosols and how singers are very efficient at projecting these to great distances! The Australian National Choral Association have made a statement. 

Choral singing provides wonderful human connection and difficult to do in isolation. We are all hanging out to get together again and make some music but with many of our members in the higher risk group we are cautious and will be following the government health guidelines. So at present 20 of us could meet outside and stand apart in rows of alternating spaces but not perhaps in the dead of winter!

As we rehearse in a Uniting Church property we have to wait for the all clear from them, as well as addressing extra physical distancing, changing our social greetings, ventilation of the venue, lots of extra hand hygiene measures, standing much further apart and in a different formation, changing our vocal warm ups  and considering face shields to catch the droplets. There is no scientific evidence yet to say whether this would be effective or not.

I hope someone is doing a trial?

Anne Woodward June 2020


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A poem to farewell Annebelle

Annabelle, Annabelle our accompanist sans par

Is leaving us now for pastures afar

She’s accompanied our choirs for ages and ages

With infinite patience and spirit courageous.

 

Her manner is confident and always quite calm

She knows what she’s doing, there’s never alarm

It’s all quite surprising since given the task

Of accompanying three directors; it’s been a big ask.

 

The first was with Leigh and the fledgling Elation

That lasted some years til Annie “took a vacation”.

When Elation had folded, there seemed little choice

But to start a new choir and find a fresh voice.

 

The new choir, Cloud 9, had no hesitation

In seeking out Annabelle to fulfil its vocation

Of having the very best in accompanist skill

There was really no question; she fitted the bill

 

Next there was Gloria and now Christine M.

She’s supported them all and been such a gem

Whether Faure or Rutter or songs in odd keys

She tackles it all with consummate ease.

 

As a solo artiste she stands out from the crowd

Her performance at concerts has made us all proud

Who can forget when she got the hall poppin’

With Maple Leaf Rag by the famous Scott Joplin.

 

So its farewell dear Annabelle after all of these years

Though sad that you’re leaving we’ll toast you with cheers

To your new life in Buderim and all that it imparts

But remember your spirit will stay warm in our hearts.

 

By former Cloud9 Chair, Janice Stanford

Janice (second from right) and Annabelle (far right).


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A message to farewell Annabelle

Cloud9 was doubly sad this term: firstly to have to bid farewell to our beloved accompanist Annabelle and secondly, to have to say goodbye to Annabelle online as a result of physical distancing requirements.

Here’s a message to Annabelle from our Cloud9 Chair, Anne Woodard:

On behalf of Cloud9 it is my pleasure to write a few words to farewell Annabelle Clucas, our esteemed, dedicated and most talented accompanist. Sometimes we live our lives expecting that things will be the same for ever, and they of course are not, which gives rise to reflecting how lucky are we!

Annabelle, we have had your presence at our concerts and rehearsals week-in and week-out for well over a decade, first with Elation and then with Cloud9, working closely with three very different Musical Directors. If it wasn’t for the distancing required due to the COVID-19 virus we would be gathering in person, celebrating in style and over catering as usual with a delicious supper. We would be surrounding you with positive vibes for the next step in your life away from Cloud9 and there would be tears on both sides I am sure.

You have been a joy to work with over the years and we have valued your professionalism, fabulous musicianship, seamless ability take part in ensemble often with very little rehearsal and not forgetting your talent, dedication to us, patience, and marvellous ability to keep time and “keep your head when all around are losing theirs” to quote Kipling. 

You will be sorely missed! We have loved having you as part of the generous and warm spirit that is our choir.

I think you should be given Honourable Guest Status at our future Concerts and until we meet again, Thank you from all of us.

Stay well and enjoy the work life balance that this next stage of life will bring.

With an open heart and warmest wishes, Anne Woodward