Chorale Conversations: Rachel Bond, soprano


Tell us a bit about your musical background, including, how many years you have sung in a choir?

I was raised in a family that always listened to classical music.  My father had a huge record collection and my earliest musical memories are of going to sleep with whatever was flavour of the moment for him – Mozart, Beethoven, mediaeval, Russian greats, whatever!  Very little was choral music because Dad preferred orchestral music.

What made you fall in love with choral music?

Mum said I would always sing as a baby rather than cry and would croon myself to sleep, so I obviously liked making vocal noises.  As a small child I would make up my own tunes and nonsense words.  Neither of my parents were singers, so it was just in me to sing.  I didn’t know it WAS singing – I was just making noises! I joined my first choir at the age of six in primary school and I’ve been in a choir of some sort ever since, which makes it 65 years!

Why did you decide you wanted to be part of Brisbane Chorale?

I always wanted to learn an instrument.  We had a piano but it was financially out of my parents’ reach to learn so I taught myself a lot of music from memory – the songs I sang at school and then Brisbane Eisteddfod Junior Choir (BEJC).  I never understood what I was doing but could always sing by ear. As a young adult I sang in the adult offshoot of the BEJC, which was conducted by Bill Moxey.  Bill suggested I would like to join the Conservatorium Choir in late 1980 as they were going to do Faure’s ‘Requiem’ that year.  In January 1981 I joined and it happened to be the same night Roy Wales started at the Conservatorium.  I’ve been in Chorale ever since! It has given me an opportunity to learn music I only dreamt about and opened a whole new world of musical pleasure, friendship, enjoyment and challenge.

What’s your favourite choral performance that you’ve been a part of and why?

My first Faure ‘Requiem’ will always stand out.  There have been so many highlights it’s nearly impossible to pick one, but if I had to choose I’d pick the Verdi ‘Requiem’ in Sarospatak, Hungary.  It was in the courtyard of a mediaeval castle.  My next choice would be ‘The Armed Man’ in Carnegie Hall on my father’s birthday, then ‘Chess’ in the Southbank Piazza, ‘Lord of the Rings’ soundtrack performance at QPAC, ‘Snugglepot and Cuddlepie’ at Southbank Piazza, ‘Carmina Burana’ with Queensland Ballet at QPAC.  The list of favourites goes on because whatever we are doing becomes the favourite for that time.

Currently my favourites are Mahler 2 and Beethoven’s Choral Symphony because the planet and humanity are crying out for help at this time and there’s so much confusion, destruction and pain on many levels, and for me both these pieces of music resonate some kind of hope that better things will rise from the ashes.

My greatest choral highlight was to be given life membership of Chorale.  That was stunning and I’m forever grateful for the honour.

Inside many choral singers is a frustrated soloist! If you were a world-famous singer choosing repertoire for your next concert tour, which piece of music would you absolutely have to include and why?

If I were a soloist, I’d like to sing ‘Pie Jesu’ from Faure’s ‘Requiem’.  I’d like to be ABLE to sing ‘Pie Jesu’!

Besides singing, do you have any special talents or skills you’d like to share with us?

I love to cook and sew.  Survival is high on the list of achievements at this point in time! Re my sewing, I really would have loved to follow the design/couture track and in fact I was once asked why I hadn’t after I made a wedding dress for a customer.