Arts & Music General News

Australian Estonian Choir Kooskõlas- Call for Expression of Interest


Kooskõlas is a mixed voice choir, established by the Estonian community in Australia, that seeks to engage with people interested in learning, singing and performing songs from the extensive and beautiful repertoire of Estonian choral music.

The choir’s most recent project conducted over a two-year period, resulted in a successful audition for and participation in the United Nations-listed song celebration, Laulupidu, held in Tallinn, Estonia in July of this year, 2019.

The choir must now decide whether there is sufficient interest from the broader Estonian and Australian community to continue to learn, sing and perform Estonian repertoire into the future.
To that end, we are seeking expressions of interest from individuals who wish to participate in this endeavour, initially for the coming year 2020. The major goal for the choir in 2020 will be to participate in the XXVIII Estonian Festival to be held in Melbourne, 27th-31st December 2020, to which we have already been invited to perform.

It is also hoped that, should there be sufficient interest, Kooskõlas will, in addition to our current one-year plan, develop a three- and a five-year plan, to audition to participate in the XXVIII Laulupidu in 2024. In short, the hope is to maintain, grow and showcase the interest in and enthusiasm for, Estonian choral music within the Australian community at every opportunity. However, for the long term goals to be realised, the short term goals need to be nourished and navigated. Consequently, this EOI relates to participation in Kooskõlas until December 31, 2020.

The commitment:
It is difficult to be precise about the commitment that will be required until we know what Kooskõlas 2020 will look like. But our experience over the last two years has taught us that for an adventure like this to be viable and successful, all choir members must commit to a number of things.

First, and most importantly we need to enjoy the process and the connection with community and culture that participation brings. The choir is as successful as its membership wants it to be.

The time commitment required will vary between individuals, depending on their choral skill, their experience with Estonian repertoire and the difficulty of any new repertoire. That said, it will be necessary for singers to commit sufficient time to ensure that they attend rehearsals and that they learn the songs. This is made easier by using the audio files that are made available to all choir members for use at home, in the car, wherever works for you. As an aside, I have not met anyone who does not have a busy life, yet Kooskõlas 2019 worked because people found ways to include it in their lives.

Next we need to agree that costs associated with choir rehearsals and performances will be met. These include meeting the fixed costs associated with running the choir such as the expenses of a choir director, costs associated with hall hire, cost of obtaining copyright permissions for music where necessary and rehearsal and performance-related insurances. As a guide, the recurrent fixed costs of Kooskõlas over the last two years have been approximately $22 per person per month. The general administration of the choir is done on a voluntary basis and so will not incur a fee.

Costs associated with travel to and from state-based and National rehearsals and performance venues and costs associated with purchase of the choir’s performance costume also need to be met individually. These costs are difficult to predict into the future, because the structure of our rehearsal schedule will be determined by the makeup of the choir and the size of our performance schedule is not currently known. As a guide, Kooskõlas 2019 had 70 members, over half of whom were resident in NSW. National rehearsals (one per quarter) were thus located in Sydney. The travel for interstate choir members was subsidised as far as possible from choir funds ($150 per rehearsal).

Kooskõlas currently has some funds as a result of fundraising efforts for 2019. The proposition is that, should there be sufficient interest in continuing the choir, these funds will be used to assist in funding fixed costs into the future. Should there be insufficient interest in maintaining a viable choir following this EOI, these funds will be returned to Kooskõlas 2019 choir members and the choir will be disbanded.

It is important to note that responding to this EOI does not commit you to membership of the choir. This call is simply for us to determine what level of interest there is in keeping Kooskõlas and the associated dreams alive. Nonetheless, the information you provide will be used to plan for the future, so please consider your response carefully. Once we know the level of interest we will get back to you with a more detailed plan for you to consider.

So how to respond………..
If you are interested in being a part of Kooskõlas 2020, please send an email to with the following information by Monday 7th October.

  • Your name:
  • Your voice part: Bass, tenor, alto, soprano, unknown
  • Your mobile phone number:
  • Your State:

For K2019 members, we have your information already, but it is very important that you let us know by return email if you want to participate in K2020, as this will affect decisions about whether and if so, how, Kooskõlas will continue.

Should we continue, this information will be used as a point of contact and for planning purposes. If not, the information will be destroyed.
I think your current committee is excited at the possibility that Kooskõlas will continue. I hope that you are too.

Kind regards,
Kieran Scott
On behalf of the Kooskõlas Committee

By Kristi Barrow

Loves all things Estonian. Especially Crafters Elderflower gin. Aussie born.

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