About Us

This group is extremely talented and gifted, Brilliant! 

– Simon Kenway, Artistic Director, Pacific Opera 

The standard this ensemble sets is exceptional. They are fine ambassadors for the Australian choral scene.

– Margaret Tesch-Muller, Composer, Musical Director, 
Coro Innominata; Vivace 

It is a pleasure and privilege to have 

worked with this group. 

– Luke Spicer, Artistic Director,
Sydney University Symphony Orchestra

Aurora Choralis is a Sydney-based chamber choir. It is comprised of members from diverse backgrounds and professions, all with with a shared passion for musical excellence.

Aurora Choralis is a semi-professional chamber choir in Sydney, Australia. The group’s sound is rich and crystalline. The tonal identity offers something substantive and beautiful, inspired by the great choral traditions of North America and Northern Europe. Modern choral art song has been the driving force in the group’s founding year, 2017. This, along with a delicious combination of early music and vocal jazz establishes the ensemble’s signature sound.

Aurora Choralis celebrated winning its first competition in the Sydney Eisteddfod 2018! This was followed in August by a critically acclaimed performance at the Blackheath Choral Festival. Having performed in the Chinese New Year celebrations on the Harbour for the City of Sydney, Aurora Choralis was invited to feature in the city’s Christmas events at Pitt Street and Martin Place. 

A collaboration with the Sydney University Symphony Orchestra saw Aurora Choralis perform Karl Jenkins’ The Armed Man: A Mass for Peace, with conductor Luke Spicer. The concert, held at The Great Hall, commemorated the centenary of the WWI armistice.

 

Director:   Robb Dennis 

Associate Director:   Jacqueline Ward

Pianist:   Mark Quarmby

Promotions Manager: Elliott Walker

Soprano

Jacqueline Ward

Casey Poon

Alto

Georgia Harrington

Priscilla Issa

Tenor

Heyland Cheung

Julian Renlong-Wong

Bass/Baritone

Albert Lin

Andrew Kennedy

Callum Cook

Daniel Kramer

Dylan Hopcroft

Alumni

Ali Aitken

Andrew Harris

Anna Freudenstein

Bryan Carlo Tebada

Callum Bowles

Eva Turco

Helen O'Loughlin

Lee Thompson

Mirei Ballinger

Victoria Stanmore

Yasmin Stelling

Bios

Dr Robb Dennis - Artistic Director

Dr Robb Dennis is a voice professional and the Artistic Director of Aurora Choralis. He has a Doctorate of Musical Arts in vocal performance (Claremont Graduate University, California) and Robb has shared music in various ways. As an educator, he has taught on all education levels. A Senior Lecturer in voice and musicology, he relocated to Australia, joining the university sector in NSW. 

As a performer, Robb found his voice on the operatic stage. Following award-winning performances in the New York Metropolitan Opera auditions, he appeared as principal tenor with the Repertory Opera of Los Angeles, West Coast Opera Theatre, and more recently Australia's Opera Hunter. He has performed with the Oratorio Society of Utah in the Mormon Tabernacle, Los Angeles Master Chorale, and Riverside Master Chorale.

Using his voice expertise in a collective setting, Robb found his affinity for choral conducting. Following on from conducting coaching with Helmut Rilling and Dale Warland, Robb developed his conducting style with critically acclaimed choirs.  He has led ensembles, including high school, tertiary, and semi-professional groups, to win choral festivals, feature on televised programs, and tour internationally. He has conducted guest orchestras and choirs in the Sydney Opera House, and has prepared choirs for Maestro Carlo Ponti Jr and Maestro Jon Robertson. Robb's focus now is to create new opportunities for vocalists, musicians, and Australian composers.

Jacqueline Ward - Associate Director/Soprano

Jacqueline Ward is a soprano soloist, masters student at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music, and winner of the Australian Songwriting Contest. She is also the ensemble's co-founder and Associate Director. Jacqueline has been a festival and competition soloist for international award-winning choirs. She also toured as first soprano in semi-professional octet The Promise, founded by Robb Dennis. Jacqueline's repertoire includes roles in St. Matthaus Passion (JS Bach), Messiah (Handel), Gloria (Vivaldi),The Creation (Haydn), and Requiem (Faure).

 

Jacqueline released her debut contemporary album "Jackie Ward" in 2016. Her music writing is not limited to solo songs, however. Her choral compositions range from elegant and understated harmony, to exuberant pop, and more tonally complex modern art music. She has been a section leader in both chamber choir and large chorale settings, inspired by what she says is something uniquely special in voices joining to make a "sound tapestry".

Casey Poon - Soprano

Casey Poon is a composition graduate from the Sydney Conservatorium of Music and an experienced chorister. She has performed in several semi-professional choirs including the Evensong Choir at Christchurch St. Laurence Sydney, under the direction of Dr Neil McEwan, as well as the Conservatorium Chamber Choir, and was selected for a specialist choir called 'Praeclarae Cantores' at MLC School.

 

Casey studied under composers Paul Stanhope and Matthew Hindson and one of her interests is writing sacred choral music. She was part of the "Thank You Karen Carey" concert; a tribute to the great music educator in 2014. She was also selected for the choir of "A Night in Fantasia 2009" concert with Eminence Orchestra. She has obtained her AMusA in Piano, and studied flute and organ in the past.

 

Casey is currently working as a Project Consultant for an IT company AlphaSys. She has long considered it a privilege to perform in choral settings and is glad that can thrive alongside her professional life. 

Priscilla Issa - Soprano

Priscilla Issa is a mezzo-soprano, pianist and teacher. Priscilla moved from an Arts/Law degree at UNSW to what she believes is her true calling – a Master of Teaching (Secondary) at UNSW – where she hopes to be able to teach music, history and legal studies. Priscilla completed her piano diploma in 2009 under the tutelage of Neta Maughan AM and Tamara Anna Cislowska.

 

Since then, Priscilla began dabbling in opera and has been studying voice privately. She is a regular performer with the Burgundian Consort and Collegium Musicum Choir. She also performs with the Choir of St James and Sydney Voices. Priscilla has an interest in theatre and has been asked to perform as lead for New Theatre and UNSW Theatrical Society performances My Little Doll (Doll), When the Rain Stops Falling (Elizabeth), The Chapel Perilous, A Little Night Music (Charlotte), War Crimes (Samira), and Shakespeare’s Measure for Measure (Francisca/Julietta). 

 Georgia Harrington - Alto

Georgia Harrington is currently an undergraduate, studying a combined Arts/Science degree from the University of Sydney, majoring in Music. Holding a Ten year history as a chorister, singing within various ensembles including the Central Coast Children’s’ Choir Katandra Voices, and several Gondwana Summer Choral Schools choirs. Accompanying her abiding and deep connection with music from her early years in music, inspired and fascinated by Disney Fantasia videos, at age 8 she began piano studies, and at 9 she joined the Central Coast Children’s Choir.  In 2014 Georgia took up the clarinet, studying firstly with Di Gardiner, and presently with Mark Walton. 

 

Studying classical singing with Lilija Sile at the Central Coast Conservatorium for several years, in 2015 Georgia won the Foreign Language singing prize in the Central Coast Eisteddfod. 
In 2016 she won the Bouddi Society Woodwind Scholarship. For several years she was a clarinettist with the Central Coast Symphony Orchestra, and is presently one of the first clarinettists in the Sydney University Wind Orchestra, as well as being the IT officer on the orchestra managing committee. She teaches clarinet to numerous young people, alongside her university studies.

Daniel Kramer - Baritone/Bass

Daniel Kramer is a Sydney based vocalist with a love of music and performing. He has been involved in choirs and various ensembles from a young age and he studied percussion under Chris Field. At a young age, he joined the Australian Youth Choir and later went on to sing in the St. Mary’s Cathedral Choir. Daniel has also enjoyed being involved with various university music societies and choirs.

 

Daniel has a passion languages which he has explored in music, spanning the Latin, Germanic, and Russian languages, as well as Swahili and Yiddish. With involvement in acclaimed performances such as Mendelssohn’s Elijah, Elgar’s The Dream of Gerontius, Puccini's Messa, and Prokofiev’s Alexander Nevsky under his belt, he has also appeared in local musical theatre productions, including West Side Story, Crazy for You, Parade, and more.

 

Although Daniel’s tertiary education began in Molecular Biology and Genetics, he rediscovered his passion for music when he began formal training. Daniel is now studying a Bachelor of Liberal Arts and Science with a music major at the University of Sydney. 

Callum Cook - Bass

Callum is a first year student at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music, studying a Bachelor of Music (Performance) - Classical Singing. He has sung as a bass since the age of 14 in musicals, concerts and eisteddfods from Sydney to Melbourne. Callum sang with Leura-based group Vocalocity in AUSACA as well as in the Australasian choral championship. He studied German with the New South Wales School of Languages, achieving a band 6 in the HSC and appearing on the NSW honour roll. He has also taught himself Nepalese in his own time. He also plays clarinet and double bass, playing jazz for many years in school.

Albert Lin - Baritone/Bass

Albert Lin is a classically trained baritone who also dabbles in jazz, rap, and beatboxing. He has performed lead roles in musicals and revues, sung with the Australian Youth Choir, and performed at the Merimbula Jazz Festival.

 

A budding composer, Albert has written music for a show at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and currently runs a jazz band and a beatboxing group at the University of New South Wales, where he studies.

Albert also enjoys instrumental music making, particularly focusing on piano and guitar. He is involved with running a regular poetry slam night in which he regularly performs and he is studying a double degree in Tax and Psychology.

Dylan Hopcroft - Baritone

Dylan is a Law and Media graduate from The University of New South Wales (UNSW) and is currently working at a firm as a paralegal. Dylan has had an array of choral experience, including being the recipient of a scholarship with Parramatta Cathedral Choir.

 

He was the head chorister of the Knox Grammar School Gallery Choir before becoming a member of the acapella group Men of Note. He has performed semi-professionally with jazz group Sydney Voices. Dylan was also the lead singer with the UNSW Law Society Band and was the Vocal Director for the UNSW Law Revue. Dylan also plays the piano.

Mark Quarmby - Accompanist

Mark Quarmby graduated from the Sydney Conservatorium studying organ under Norman Johnston and piano under Marjorie Hesse. He has given recitals throughout Australia, Europe, North America, Asia and New Zealand.

For over 20 years he was associated with the music of St Andrew's Cathedral, Sydney, playing the organ for national live broadcasts, visits of the Queen, funerals of State governors and national memorial services. In August 2009 he was appointed Director of Music at St Stephen's, Macquarie Street. In Europe he has played in the Cathedrals of St Paul's, London, Canterbury, Salisbury, Oxford, Winchester, Lichfield, Westminster Abbey plus Notre-Dame, Paris, with recitals in Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Italy, France, and Holland. In 2009 he gave the opening recital of the American Guild of Organists Convention in Phoenix, Arizona, playing a whole program devoted to organ music written by Australian composers.

He has been the President of the Organ Music Society of Sydney, has served on the committee of the Royal School of Church Music (NSW) and is currently a National Director of the Organ Historical Trust of Australia and teaches piano, organ and musicianship at St Patrick's College, Strathfield, and privately.

Elliott Walker

Elliott is a graduate of the University of Newcastle. He studied classical singing with Dr Christopher Allan and also studied contemporary and jazz singing. During this time He was a soloist and member of the University of Newcastle Chamber Choir (Echology), touring throughout Australia, China, USA and Bermuda. In addition to his involvement with choral projects, from a young age he was also involved with The Hunter Singers, touring Europe and the UK. Elliott has enjoyed opportunities to work with international and Australian composers Paul Jarman, Gordon Hamilton, Steven Leek & Elena Kats-Chernin. He has also been a consultant on the technique of vocal harmonic overtones.

Elliott's accomplishments extend also into film and TV. He is the Founding Director of Walker Productions, a film and media production house that specialises in capturing and creating social media and online production content, and connecting it to audiences both in Australia and abroad. His clients include Channel 10, One Wave Australia, NIDA, The Australian Chamber Orchestra, Studios 301, Amy Vee, Medibank Australia, Savour Patissier of the Year 2018, ABC Kids, Buff Dubs Pty Ltd (Rudimental Live at Bondi Icebergs and Though The Music Ended We Danced On Through The Night).

IN MEMORIAM - Yasmin Stelling - Alto, soprano

Yasmin Stelling recently completed her studies with First Class Honours in Bachelor of Music/Bachelor of Science. She majored in classical voice and psychology at the University of New South Wales. She also sang with the Burgundian Consort at the University, and was a soloist for several of the group’s annual recitals. In 2015, she was the soprano soloist for the Collegium Musicum Choir’s performance of Mendelssohn’s Te Deum.

Yasmin had also been involved in musical theatre; her show credits including The Producers, Seussical the Musical, and Guys and Dolls. She has also featured in Into the Woods, and most recently Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street. In 2016, she made her conducting debut with Sondheim’s A Little Night Music, as well as music directing a revamped production of Shakespeare’s The Tempest. In 2019, she took on her first choral conducting post.

Yasmin was a founding member of Aurora Choralis until her passing in October 2019.

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Image: ESA/Hubble: Lagoon Nebula

© 2018, Aurora Choralis

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