Beginning as just a group of 14 a few years ago, this Sunday sees Curtin University’s Rhythmos Choir take to the stage at Carnegie Hall. Now with 25 members, they’ll be appearing alongside The King’s Singers as part of its 50th anniversary celebrations, the only Australian ensemble to be invited to perform in this starry event.
Jonathan Paxman and the Rhythmos Choir
“There was a mixture of disbelief and absolute excitement,” says Music Director Jonathan Paxman of the invitation by Distinguished Concerts International New York (DCINY), the producers of the event. “Only a couple of the choir members have ever been to New York before, and it is the first time we will travel or tour as a choir, so it’s such an exciting opportunity.”
Long-time fans of The King’s Singers, it was through YouTube that Rhythmos was discovered by DCINY, with many of its clips showing the group performing arrangements by Bob Chilcott for The King’s Singers.
A lecturer in engineering and science at Curtin, Paxman formed Rhythmos in 2014, feeling that the University “was really in need of a performing group for students… I wanted to put a group together with really high ambitions for musical and performance standard.”
The ensemble typically performs arrangements of pop songs, but also occasionally venture into contemporary classical music, international folk songs and musical theatre. For their Carnegie Hall debut, they’ll be performing Nico Muhly’s new work, To Stand In This House, written for The King’s Singers, as well as High Flight by Bob Chilcott and an arrangement of Billy Joel’s And So It Goes. They’ll also sing an Andalusian folk song arranged by Chilcott, as well as Eric Barnum’s Moonlight Music, sharing the stage with not only The King’s Singers but a number of choirs from around the world.
“It’s just a really wonderful opportunity for us to travel for the first time, to perform with such internationally renowned musicians and conductors, and in such an extraordinary venue,” says Paxman. “It also gives us an opportunity to re-evaluate what we are capable of as a choir.”
Rhythmos Choir performs as part of The King’s Singers 50th Anniversary Celebration on April 22