Gondwana World Choral Festival from July 15 - 21

REHEARSING HARD: Bonnie and Paul rehearsing with the choir in their living room
REHEARSING HARD: Bonnie and Paul rehearsing with the choir in their living room

If while wandering around Valla the sound of amazing choral music fills your ears, you are not dreaming ... it is the sound of Valla Voices rehearsing.

The 29 strong choir, made up of young choristers from around the area, began in 2015 as a Christmas special but has been harmonising ever since under the musical batons of composer Paul Jarman and his partner Bonnie Nilsson.

Now they are preparing for the Gondwana World Choral Festival, where they will sing alongside 1000 young singers from some of the world's finest choirs, all of whom are converging on Sydney for a week from July 15 to celebrate 30 years of Gondwana Choirs and the Sydney Children's Choir.

Not only will Valla Voices be part of the opening ceremony at the Sydney Opera House on July 15 but they will also be singing in their own right in a concert at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music.

A particular highlight of the opening concert will be the finale piece, One Pure Voice, written by Paul for 500 voices and piano, as a commission for the anniversary.

"There is a beautiful synchronicity to this, because Gondwana gave me my first commission 20 years ago, in 1999, and it changed my life," Paul said.

"There I was being a folk musician with Sirocco and I was asked if I could write a piece for Australia Day for the kids to sing as they sailed into Darling Harbour strapped to the masts of the tall ships.

"I wrote 'Let Go the Long White Sails" and they loved it ... and that was the beginning of me being a composer and working with choirs. It was the right time and the right combination but without them none of this would have happened."

And with one pure voice together in song We will sing you home to where you belong

From 'One Pure Voice' by Paul Jarman

'One Pure Voice' captures what Paul says Gondwana has given so many ... the beauty of massed young voices.

"There is a spiritual thing you get with choirs that is unique - all those voices, those sounds blending, it feels like the sound is in you, part of you. It is a very healing sensation."

Paul said he wrote the piece for Gondwana director and founder Lyn Williams AM.

"The choral world is an incredible rich landscape of music and Lyn with the Gondwana Choirs has been instrumental in developing the genre here in Australia. This festival is the biggest of its kind we've ever had here with 10 of the world's best choirs - it will be amazing."

Choirs coming to the festival include young singers from Estonia, France, China, Inner Mongolia, Latvia, Canada and Japan as well as an array of the Gondwana Choirs themselves.

To find out more about Gondwana choirs, the festival and to book tickets, click here.

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