In Australia, showcasing young First Nations singers and instrumentalists on Jan. 25

Posted on: January 13, 2021

Deborah Cheetham, co-founder of Australia’s Dhungala Children’s Choir and Short Black Opera company for First Nations singers, “is working on several compositions—including an opera for children,” writes Cat Woods in Tuesday’s (1/12) The Age (Melbourne, Australia). “Her focus for January, though, is the One Day in January event [on Jan. 25 at Joan Hammond Hall in Melbourne].” Cheetham said that January 26, the date the British established the first permanent European settlement on the Australian continent, “ ‘is a very difficult date for all Australians, and what I wanted to do was establish, on the day before, something where musicians could just come together and play work by other First Nations composers.’ This will be the first time members of Ensemble Dutala, Australia’s first First Nations chamber ensemble, will play together. Cheetham also hopes all the members of the Dhungala Children’s Choir can attend. ‘We want our children’s choirs to meet Ensemble Dutala, to see these professional First Nations musicians performing after years of classical training,’ she says. ‘We wanted Dutala to see Dhungala Choirs, part of the core of what Short Black Opera is all about—providing opportunity to young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders.’ ”