The Malta Independent 18 February 2020, Tuesday

Gaulitanus Choir’s very eventful Festive Season

Friday, 18 January 2019, 08:31 Last update: about 2 years ago

For Gozo's Gaulitanus Choir, the past Festive Season came back to back with very demanding 3 concert tours abroad. Still, the choir made sure that it plays its part in adding colour and sonorities to the local highly eventful Festive Season with a very intensive programme of events 

Its first commitment was participation in the Malta International Christmas Choir Festival, organised by the Regjun Tramuntana in collaboration with Leon Promotions. The festival presented a number of foreign and local choirs. Indeed, the Gaulitanus Choir participated in the event held at the Nativity of Our Lady Parish Church in Mellieha on Friday 7th December alongside the St Julian's Choral Group (Malta), the Hungarian Starlight Youth and Adult Choirs (Hungary), the Corale Polifonica "Libere Armonie" (Italy), and the Mixed Choir of Levadia "Erkyna" (Greece). The Gaulitanus Choir was very much acclaimed for its performance.


The choir was then involved in a number of carolling sessions in Gozo, whether informal ones at the Arkadia Shopping Arcade and the Calypso Hotel, or a very formal and elegant one at the Kempinski San Lawrenz on Christmas Eve.

The choir then participated in the Trail of Voices event held on Sunday 30th December. Organised by the Ministry for Gozo, Trail of Voices featured five Gozitan choirs in five churches in Victoria in four short 20-minute performances repeated every half hour. The Gaulitanus Choir was in attendance at St Francis Church, and was highly acclaimed for its performance by the very good audience that turned up for all the four sessions, including the Honourable Minister for Gozo, Dr Justyne Caruana.

On January 1st the choir then ushered in the New Year with its very own 7th edition of A New Year's Toast.  Held at the Kempinski Hotel San Lawrenz, Gozo, on New Year's Day, this was supported by the Kempinski Hotel, Bank of Valletta and Playpen. The programme was made up of 4 sections: the first consisting of a Christmas medley, the second section to British a cappella part songs, the third to Maltese semi-folkloristic numbers, as well as concluding bouncy sing-along from Mary Poppins, which had the audience filling the hall to capacity roaring with enthusiasm.

On Epiphany Sunday, 6th January, the choir then organised the Miriam Gauci Master Class Concluding Concert at the Exhibition Hall, Ministry for Gozo, Victoria, featuring several budding upcoming singers from the US, Australia, the UK, Belgium, Italy, Malta and Gozo. All the performers were accompanied by the Master Class's pianist-in-residence Julia Miller.  The vocal master class opened the 13th edition of Gaulitana: A Festival of Music, and forms part of the festival's GAULearn Educational Programme. The master class also featured live painting by British artist Thalia Stones, who depicted watercolour paintings of all the participants.

The Gaulitanus Choir's programme of events for the festive season then came to an end on Friday January 11th, when it gave a concert at the Russian Centre for Science and Culture in Valletta, Malta, courtesy of the RCSC's Director, Alexei Muraviev and the centre's cultural co-ordinator, Mr Paul Fenech. While being very much a repetition of its January 1st concert held in Gozo, the choir's artistic-musical director Colin Attard also made sure to include a few numbers from the Russian tradition, also using the Russian language. The evening was extremely well-received and augurs well for a more healthy collaboration between the choir and the RCSC.

Throughout all these events the choir was conducted by its founder-director Mro Colin Attard, who also shared the spoils of accompanying on the piano with Stephen Attard. These various events also featured the choir's soloists. Besides the choir, these events also featured Annabelle Zammit as principal soloist, Anna Bonello as well as mezzo-soprano Marthese Borg. Stephanie Portelli, Joseph Calleja, Jean Noel Attard and Robert Xerri also joined for a few solo lines.

The end of the Festive Season, however, brings no respite to the choir. Indeed,  it now moves in full gear in preparation for the upcoming 13th edition of Gaulitana: A Festival of Music, which runs from March 8th till the April 7th, reaching a climax with the operatic production of Puccini's masterpiece, Manon Lescaut, on Saturday April 6th, with Malta's international diva Miriam Gauci in the title role.


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