La Chorale Française Wagga Wagga owes its inception to the enthusiasm and determination of the late Sally Taylor. Many will remember her infectious energy. While staying in a small village in France, she was impressed to see the community gathering together to sing. Song sheets were handed out, everyone made welcome.
Back home in Wagga, already a member of Alliance Française, Sally worked to inspire friends and acquaintances to come together to form a French Choir. So, in 2012, ‘La Chorale Française Wagga Wagga’ was born, with initially just twelve members . Lyn Hogan was conductor/pianist and the late Sally Dash advised on pronunciation. The Riverina Conservatorium of Music provided a studio at South Campus, Hely Avenue, Wagga Wagga for rehearsals, and we are pleased to be a Conservatorium ensemble.
With reference to the French “tricolore”, a uniform of red, white and blue featuring red berets and scarves was agreed, and the choir’s first public performance was for Wagga Wagga Alliance Française, Beaujolais Nouveaux celebrations at the Botanic Gardens’ restaurant in November 2012.
It was the following year that Wagga’s Alliance Française, in their role of promoting the French language, started supporting the choir financially. To date, as at September 2021, they have donated $8,000 which goes toward supporting a pianist for the choir.
With the choir’s acceptance as a designated ‘Community’ choir, Wagga City Council was approached for a grant to buy an electric keyboard. This was successful. The keyboard purchased is used when singing for community functions such as Wagga’s Fusion Festival, French Film Festival, various Alliance Française events and Christmas Carol performances.
In 2014, with choir numbers growing and increasing enthusiasm, it was decided to enter the Wagga Eisteddfod for the first time. This was when Jill Chappelow was persuaded to be the pianist. She advised on pronunciation and often arranged music for the choir. With growing family commitments, Lyn could no longer stay with the choir and Marie-Cecile Henderson took her place and was instrumental in further developing our skills and repertoire. Marie-Cecile left Wagga in mid 2020 leaving Larissa Burek to take over amid the chaos that Covid-19 presented.
The choir continues to grow as does our repertoire. We welcome both men and women with an enthusiasm for singing and all things French. There are no audition requirements to join nor the ability to speak French. Rehearsals are followed by wine and cheese, with time to make newcomers welcome and to catch-up with friends.