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Celebrating 125 Years of Women’s Suffrage and the History of Girls’ Choirs

Celebrating 125 Years of Women’s Suffrage and the History of Girls’ Choirs
August 8, 2019 AGC

This week our Adelaide Performing Choir had the honour of performing at a State Dinner to celebrate the 125th Anniversary of Women’s Suffrage in South Australia, hosted by the Premier of South Australia, the Hon Steven Marshall MP.

Gaining the right to vote was a huge step towards gender equality and positive change for women in South Australia, and is something we can all be proud of around the country.

At the Australian Girls Choir we’re committed to empowering young women across the country, supporting them to find their voice through music. We believe gathering together and singing as a group develops confidence, creativity and builds young people’s sense of community, while developing a life-long love of the performing arts.

When the Australian Girls Choir was established 35 years ago, no choir like this existed for girls in Australia. In fact, when our founder Judith Curphey OAM went to register the name, the man at the registration office told Judith she wouldn’t be able to call it “The Australian Girls Choir”. Judith wanted to challenge the accepted convention that boys sing ‘better’ than girls, and create a female choir with a uniquely Australian sound.

For centuries, boys choirs have dominated cathedral choirs. Only five years ago did Canterbury Cathedral break their 900 year old tradition of male-only choirs, and established a Canterbury Cathedral Girls Choir. It is often remarked that young male voices sound more ‘pure’. However, research from York University has shown that when singing in chorus, people are unable to tell the difference between boy and girl singers. In fact, when listening to the same piece of music recorded by both all-boy and all-girl choirs, only 53% of could accurately guess which was which. Completely disproving assumptions made about male voices sounding ‘better’.

We’re passionate about furthering the rights of women and young people, which is why we were particularly honoured to be invited by the Premier to the 125th Anniversary of Women’s Suffrage.

Congratulations to our Adelaide Performing Choir, who not only sang wonderfully, but delighted in the chance to learn more about previous generations of women who worked together and lifted each other up to achieve significant change.