River City Voices

Blue Sky Country Christmas

River City Voices joins Ngarra-burria First Peoples Composers program to perform a distinctively evocative program of new choral music.

Performances & Gigs

Event Details


Performances & Gigs

Event Starts

Dec 8, 2023

Event Ends

Dec 8, 2023

Add to Calendar 12/08/2023 12:00 AM 12/08/2023 12:00 AM Australia/Melbourne Blue Sky Country Christmas River City Voices joins Ngarra-burria First Peoples Composers program to perform a distinctively evocative program of new choral music.

St Patricks Cathedral


1 Marist Place, Parramatta NSW, Australia

River City Voices, Parramatta’s flagship choir, is proud to announce their groundbreaking collaboration with the esteemed Ngarra-burria: First Peoples Composers program for ‘Blue Sky Country Christmas,’ a unique musical performance scheduled for 8 December 2023. This event promises an extraordinary night of song, marking the first-ever collaboration of the program with a choir as Ensemble in Residence. 

This remarkable union brings together the sheer power of a symphonic choir with the visionary talents of composers: Marlene Cummins, Gavi Duncan, Tim Gray, Nicole Smede, program founder Dr. Chris Sainsbury, and Elizabeth Sheppard, a program alumna. 

Dr. Chris Sainsbury, founder of the Ngarra-burria: First Peoples Composers program, comments “It’s so good to be partnering with River City Voices in the realisation of works by First Nations composers for choir, especially as they are centred in Parramatta, the site of Australia’s first Aboriginal mission. There’s some kind of full circle here.”.

‘Blue Sky Country Christmas’ is a pivotal feature in RCV’s Brave series, an initiative dedicated to pushing the boundaries of artistic expression. The concert highlights the exceptional talents of Indigenous composers who are reshaping classical music norms, an event dedicated to acknowledging their significant contributions to Australian music.

Artistic Director of River City Voices, Sarah Penicka-Smith, adds, “This concert gives our audience a chance to meet some fine artists who have been making music in our community for many years but who are only now starting to receive due recognition. There’s no more direct way to experience someone’s else’s perspective than through song, and each composer on our program has a totally unique musical voice, ranging from blues to ballads to radiant soundscapes. It’s a pleasure and a huge privilege to be able to present this key Australian repertoire.

The concert program offers a captivating array of new compositions, spanning genres, personal narratives, and diverse experiences, providing a unique opportunity to celebrate the culture of Australia’s First Peoples. ‘Blue Sky Country Christmas’  also offers a fresh perspective for those who appreciate traditional Christmas carols, with emotionally charged and profoundly evocative compositions that promise to resonate deeply.

This extraordinary event symbolises the collaborative spirit of River City Voices and the groundbreaking work of visionary Indigenous composers, firmly establishing themselves at the forefront of Australian music. Secure your tickets now and become a part of a musical journey that celebrates diversity, creativity, and the unifying power of music.

About River City Voices:

River City Voices is Parramatta’s flagship, auditioned symphonic choir. Established in 2018 to meet the community’s demand for large-scale, accessible cultural events closer to home, RCV is fast gaining recognition for its vocal excellence, unexpected collaborative artistic programs, and events that reflect and promote greater Parramatta’s diverse community, its talent, and its stories. Led by Artistic Director Dr Sarah Penicka-Smith, RCV has already engaged over 2,000 artists, arts workers and audiences through its curated and festival performances, development programs, television appearances and workshops.

About Ngarra-burria: First Peoples Composers:

All of the composers in this event are associated with the Ngarra-burria First Peoples Composers program – a program that acknowledges established Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander musicians and offers classical composition mentoring for them as they step sideways and connect with the classical sector. It has been going very well, with the composers bringing their depth of culture into classical forms and expressions. The industry and audiences alike are finding this initiative to be a welcome shift, and the program received a Classical:NEXT Innovation Award in 2022 in Europe, confirming the readiness of the sector to support First Nations composition.

For more information visit https://events.humanitix.com/blue-sky-country-christmas