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Curtin choir climbs higher scales

Cite Magazine

With the Greek ethos of symmetry, form and beauty instilled in the name, Curtin’s newest choir, Rhythmos, has quickly established itself as a high-calibre ensemble in Perth’s choral music circles.

Rhythmos’s musical director and conductor Jonathan Paxman says the idea behind the Curtin choir is simply to create beautiful choral music.

“The human voice, it’s the instrument we’re all born with,” he says. “It’s a natural part of us and learning how to use it – and use it with other voices – is an amazing thing.”

Choral singing has had resurgence in recent years, due in part to hit series Glee and movies such as Pitch Perfect.

“There are more choirs around [now] than there were 10 or 20 years ago and they’re suited to all levels,” says Jonathan, who’s also a senior lecturer in mechanical engineering at Curtin.

“It’s a great physical activity that keeps you mentally and emotionally healthy. It’s a very uplifting, positive thing to be absorbed in.”

Jonathan has been involved in music from a young age and began conducting and singing in auditioned choirs while studying for his PhD at the University of Cambridge in England.

Since returning to Perth, Jonathan has directed the Perth Undergraduate Choral Society for four years, but was keen to develop a high performing choir at Curtin.

Launching Rhythmos at Orientation Day in February, Jonathan said the new choir attracted strong interest from the start. Almost 100 students have gone through the choir’s rigorous auditions, which involve duets, solo renditions and scales.

The choir sings mainly cappella (singing without musical accompaniment) and aspires to a high professional standard. Members practice weekly and are required to train at home – but the hard work is already paying off.

The Guild-supported group won Best Choir at the Joondalup Eisteddfod in August and has received numerous invitations to perform across the city.

“It’s going to be a busy semester,” says Jonathan. “We’ve achieved so much already. Competitions aren’t our main goal; we’re just focusing on practising and performing as much as we can.”

Staff and students can watch Rhythmos’s free lunchtime performance on Wednesday 29 October, 1 pm, at John Curtin Gallery.

Visit the Rhythmos Facebook page.[youtube]http://youtu.be/uP-WGQ-N8dg[/youtube]