Two other choral collaborations occurred with the Alice Springs Choral Society for Carmina Burana, and the Sydney Pilgrim Singers for items of sacred music at Christ Church Cathedral.
On the initiative of Committee President Jenny Scott, Darwin Chorale entered into a collaborative choral project with two church choirs from Dili in East Timor - Coro Santa Cecilia de Balide and Coro Santo Antonio de Motael. This involved reciprocal visits by the two choirs to Dili and Darwin for the next 3 years. The first major engagement was at the Darwin Festival in 2008 called Cantor Timor. The feature piece entitled Ola Timor commissioned specially for the festival was composed by Nora Lewis.
July of 2007 saw a further collaboration with the International Guitar Festival. Under the music direction of Nora Lewis, and as part of a ‘Sunday Serenade’ the Choir performed Ariel Ramirez’s Missa Criolla, and Staccato Lightning by Darwin composer Kathy Applegate.
Highlights included Jerusalem Passion performed in April at Christ Church Cathedral where the audience spilled out onto the grass outside the Cathedral. At DEC, Darwin Chorale and the Australian Army Band performed Stage and Screen Spectacular under the joint direction of Nora Lewis and Captain Liam Daly.
The landmark performance for the Chorale this year occurred within the International Guitar Festival at Charles Darwin University. Nora Lewis was commissioned to write a work for guitars and choir, resulting in the six-part Savannah Suite. The separate movements were called ‘Outback Somewhere’, ‘Nature’s Theatre’, ‘The Old Banyan Tree’, ‘Boogie for the Dry’, ‘Namatjira’ and ‘The Night Train’. Lyricists included Nora Lewis, Des Fishlock, Oodgeroo Noonuccal, and Henry Lawson.
A particular highlight of this year was the showcasing of members’ music skills. The Christmas concert at Christ Church Cathedral featured the very Reverend Greg Anderson conducting Messe de Minuit pour Noel and Michael Foley conducting Missa brevis Sancti Joannis de Deo.
In addition to community performances, under the baton of Assistant Music Director Dr. Bill Griffiths, the choir presented Chorale at St. Mary’s Cathedral. In collaboration with the Arafura Ensemble and members of the Darwin Youth Choir, Christmas saw Darwin Chorale present the delightful Amahl and the Night Visitors.
Collaborative events took place with the Darwin Symphony Orchestra, the International Guitar Festival, the Australia Day Council, and the Arafura Ensemble. Along with four community events, five concerts were performed this year.
In 1999 Superstar Productions was formed between the Darwin Entertainment
Centre, Darwin Chorale, Darwin Theatre Company and Cavenagh Theatre. During the
next decade staged productions included:
• Jesus Christ Superstar (1999)
• Les Misérables (2001)
• Fiddler on The Roof (2003)
• Guys and Dolls (2005)
• Sound of Music (2008)
Darwin Chorale continued to display considerable versatility with its concert performances illustrating a range of genres. A complete list of these can be found in the List of Programs.
Dr. Dean Patterson leaves Darwin, and Nora Lewis is appointed Music Director. The Chorale continued a collaborative tradition via Africalive which included members of Darwin’s Africa choir.
The Chorale visited Melbourne and participated in Choralfest; an annual choral festival organised by the Australian National Choral Association (ANCA). A highlight was the opportunity to sing in the historic St Paul’s Cathedral.
During these years Darwin Chorale continued to build strengths through the variety and quality of its concert programs. Long term Music Director Nora Lewis describes these as including “cantatas and motets, operas and oratorios, hymns and anthems, folksongs, jazz, national songs, stage musicals and pop.” Highlights included Pirates of Penzance, Oklahoma, Choruslines, All that’s Jazz, Andrew Llyod Webber’s Requiem, Beethoven’s Missa Solemnis and the Brahms’ Requiem.
Darwin Entertainment Centre opened, and significantly, Chorale's HMS Pinafore was its first staged production. Since then, the Chorale has made continuous use of DEC performance spaces for various concerts.