Michelle Leonard founded Moorambilla Voices 12 years ago to offer children in regional and remote areas of north-west NSW the chance to participate in choral programmes incorporating taiko, dance and visual art, and take part in performances and concerts.
The children of Moorambilla Voices and members of the Australian World Orchestra recording Yindymarra. Photograph © Noni Carroll
This year Moorambilla Voices recorded a Christmas album called Yindyamarra: A Prospect of Peace for which Leonard commissioned seven Australian composers – Josephine Gibson, Alice Chance, William Yaxley, Georgia Scott, David Basden, Andrew Howes and Owen Elsley – to write carols drawing on the contemporary, uniquely Australian Christmas experience, using the traditional seven lessons and carols of Christmas as a starting point and framework.
The eight-song cycle includes A Promised Sign – Yindyamarraby Gibson which sets text in Wiradjuri by Stan Grant Senior, a Wiradjuri elder, a fanfare by Scott called Joyful Expectationsabout the excitement of waiting for Santa, and A Reassuring Dream – So Strongby Chance, a contemporary retelling of Mary and the visit of the angel Gabriel.
Leonard spoke to Limelightabout Yindyamarra(which means the wisdom of respectfully knowing how to...