Dialog Box

Arts | Education | Youth
Key change.

From rehearsal studio to a Sydney Opera House stage, Opera Australia's Children's Chorus features as an example of music, culture and learning, and the lived experiences should it be at the forefront of all that we do. Dion Condack, a young music educator and former member of Opera Australia's Children's Chorus (2004 - 2006) offers his lens from which to explore - how does a professionally structured musical environment effect the emotional and analytical development of boys? 

The Children's Chorus is an instrinsic part of most opera productions. Whether it be as auxiliary actors in a scene, a poignant solo, or a rubble of street children in song, the Children's Chorus joins the wider company in its efforts to bring the composer's work to life. 

This documentary features the performance of the Children's Chorus in Opera Australia's 2019 production of Puccini's La Bohéme. We follow the process of rehearsal to opening night, to the close of the season staged at the Sydney Opera House. We do this through the eyes of Dion Condack whose trajectory has followed the same path.

At the same time we hear from the young people who make up the Chorus, a group that reflects the Sydney region's ethnic and economic diversity.

We also look into the future and project where these Chorus members might end up in years to come. We interview members of Australia's largest choral organisation, Sydney Philharmonia Choirs - many of whom were given their first opportunity as children - and who continued on to study and perform choral music at the highest level of artistic excellence. 

The documentary's message is to celebrate and encourage the profound value of the arts on community and culture, explore the universal experiences of youth development and education and view the real social benefits of music, music education, group singing and the voice. Specifically, it looks at the impact of a professionally structured music environment on the emotional and analytical development of boys.


How does the project meet the aims of a philanthropic foundation?

The nuance to this niche experience for boys meets the aims of philanthropic foundations in complex ways, touching on subjects that include (but are not limited to): 

- The Arts 

- Human Rights 

- Education 

- Health/Mental Health/Wellbeing 

- Youth, Youth Development and Youth Psychology 

- Community and Culture

Aims & Objectives

What outcomes do you hope to achieve by making this film and how will you measure its impact?

From the Director: Dion Condack 

I am expecting the profound. 

As a singer-songwriter, composer, and a music educator (B/Music, B/Education - UNSW), having the chance to revisit this period of my childhood is invigorating. 

I remember it all so vividly. The music calls. Language calls. Production calls. Orchestral calls. Dress rehearsals. Opening night. 

Performing La Boheme at the Sydney Opera House to an opening night crowd on New Years Eve (2018).. these kids aren’t just taking weekly music lessons; there is something significant to learn from the Children’s Chorus. 

In addition to comments from prominent vocal professionals of Sydney, and vision of Sydney Philharmonia Choirs, Dr Anita Collins, an award-winning educator, researcher and writer in the field of brain development and music learning, will offer her insights to the nuance of this moment in boys’ education. 

My aim? To contribute to and build on the awareness already raised regarding the importance of Music Education, by further educating, inspiring and entertaining.


What is your education and outreach strategy?

Through the development stage, outreach has already begun, with high levels of interest from music, education and scientific communities. 

With the support of the Documentary Australia Foundation and core partnerships, any and all support is welcomed, to collectively ensure this story gains, and maintains, a life of its own. 

With 1000 kids through Opera Australia: Melbourne, and 5000 through Opera Australia: Sydney, the worldwide numbers of past Children's Chorus members would be substantial. We hope this project speaks directly to them, and the greater public, to invigorate a worldwide discussion as to the importance, viability and potential of a strong music education. 

We welcome contributions at all stages of the project, and encourage you to reach out and discuss opportunities of significance.

Dion Condack & Ben Hasic
Dion Condack & Ben Hasic
Total budget
90 Minutes