About SWGC


Who are we?

Strange Weather Choir (SWGC) is an auditioned community choir in Canberra consisting of around 40 singers whose passion for music is sure to inspire and move audiences. The choir's unique sound and exuberance have seen it grow to become a popular choir in this region.

We believe that anyone interested in making music can produce singing of an excellent standard if given the opportunity, proper training and support. The ability to read music is not required.

Our members are people from all walks of life; young adults to retirees and the full spectrum of religious belief to non-belief.  What unites our diverse members is not culture, gender, sexual orientation or faith but simply our love of singing together in a supportive environment.

SWGC's Musical Director is Daniel Bennett. More on Dan here.
SWGC's Assistant Musical Director and accompanist is Lucus Allerton. More on Lucus here.

Where did our name come from?

SWGC's name was created from the titles of two great jazz/blues classics—Strange Fruit, a haunting Billie Holiday song, and Stormy Weather, a Lena Horne bluesy torch number about love gone wrong.

What kind of music do we perform?

SWGC performs a wide variety of music, accompanied or unaccompanied. Its gospel 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 also sings other genres of music, including folk, contempory and Indigenous Ausralian songs. 

Where do we perform?

SWGC performs throughout the year at a variety of events and festivals in Canberra and the region. The choir prides itself on its strong community spirit, and each year commits to charity and community performances.

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, the High Court 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 Events Calendar.

In the past five 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. ,At the Australian National Eisteddfod In 2016 we came second in the Sacred Section and were awarded best Multicultural Performance in the Australian Choral Challenge.
10 Benefits of SWGC Membership

  1. Meet new people and make new friends
  2. Learn music and develop singing skills through weekly rehearsals, occasional kickstarter workshops and specialist vocal coaching plus sectionals led by choir members
  3. Perform with an energetic group at a variety of special events and cool venues
  4. Access online resources to help you learn the music, including audio files of your part
  5. Groove in our performance shirts and scarves – very on trend!
  6. Enjoy singing with others who love singing
  7. Copies of sheet music that you can keep whilst you are with the choir
  8. Clap and move to the music without being thought of as odd 
  9. Develop leadership potential through involvement with our music team and section leaders
  10. Find a support network for the tough times, as a rent-a-crowd, or just for a good chat and cup of tea
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