The Strange Weather Gospel Choir (SWGC) is a community choir in Canberra consisting of 40 singers whose passion and love for music are sure to inspire and move audiences. The Choir's unique sound and exuberance have seen it grow to become a very popular Choir in this region.
The Choir's name comes from a combination of words from titles of two great jazz/blues classics called Strange Fruit and Stormy Weather.
Strange Fruit is a haunting Billie Holiday song about the hanging of African Americans during the American civil rights movement, and Stormy Weather is a Lena Horne bluesy torch number about love gone wrong.
The Choir performs a wide variety of gospel music either accompanied or unaccompanied. The repertoire ranges from traditional African American gospel spirituals from the era of the American Civil War through to 21st century gospel music. The gospel sound is complemented by the energetic and rhythmical world music sounds of traditional and contemporary African music reflecting the roots of gospel music, often accompanied by the tribal rhythms of drums and percussion. The Choir can also be heard singing secular music every now and then. A list of our current repertoire can be viewed here.
The Strange Weather Gospel Choir performs throughout the year at a variety of exciting events and festivals in Canberra and the region. The Choir prides itself on its strong community spirit, and each year commits to a number of charity and community performances, including the annual Smith Family fundraiser at Government House Open Day.
In November 2009, we broke our own audience record when we performed our ‘Coming of Age’ concert in front of well over 700 people at Llewellyn Hall, Canberra’s premier acoustic venue. We invited world-class guest performers John Mackey’s Saxessions, and shared the stage with the energetic Tanamasi drumming troupe for some stirring African rhythms. This stunningly successful SWGC concert was made possible by a generous sponsorship from the ACT Government.
The Choir has performed to popular acclaim at the National Gallery of Australia, the Moruya Jazz Festival, Old Parliament House, the Wagga Wagga Jazz Festival, the National Museum of Australia and many other venues and events.
For our mid year concert in 2008, held at Canberra Girls Grammar School, we were joined by the Honeybees from Sydney and Canberra's ABC 666 Community Choir. For our end of year concert in 2008 we performed two shows to packed audiences at the Street Theatre, with the theme for the concert as ‘Strange Weather Hits Broadway’. The Choir's 2006 Concert and the 2007 Winter Concerts were sold out, and the Choir's 2007 Gala Concert was held in the Canberra Girls Grammar School to a captive Election Night audience. At its 10th Anniversary Concert in 2005, the Choir performed to a packed hall with audience members travelling from as far as Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne.
The Choir has performed at the ACT Relay for Life, various retirement and aged care homes and various benefit Concerts in and around Canberra. In 2005 the Choir organised a Concert to raise funds for those affected by the Boxing Day Tsunami 2004. In 2004, the choir won first place in the Open Choirs section of the National Eisteddfod, recognising it as one of the country's best choirs.
For more information on the Choir's exciting upcoming programme, please refer to our Event Calendar.
In the past three years we have performed at Moruya Jazz Festival, the High Court of Australia, two fundraisers for the firefighters of Botswana, with Melbourne Singers of Gospel and Canberra City Brass. This year at the Australian National Eisteddfod we came second in the Sacred Section and were awarded best Multicultural Performance in the Australian Choral Challenge.
10 Benefits of SWGC Membership