Roebourne trio add their voices to choir
■ The Red Earth Arts Festival is over for another year but for three Roebourne students it has left a lasting memory after they were invited to sing with the Gondwana Indigenous Children’s Choir last month.
Local students Katie-May Healey, 13, Kimberley Wilson, 12 and Iverson Cedar, 11, joined 36 talented indigenous singers from Cairns and Kununurra in a performance at the Roebourne Cultural Centre for the REAF Voices concert.
The community was also treated to the angelic voices of the acapella quartet Co-Cheol, as well as a guest appearance from the Cat Empire’s Felix Riebl.
Katie-May described the performance as a “once-in-a-lifetime experience”.
“After they held auditions at the school, me and three other kids were picked to join the choir for tonight’s performance,” she said.
“We learnt the songs in less than a week, rehearsing at the Ibis Hotel in Karratha for the big show.
“Singing with a choir is just awesome — we have got to meet a lot of new people from around Australia.”
For 17-year-old Cairns singer Teagan, the Gondwana choir has provided a second family since joining in 2009.
She said it was a privilege to share a glimpse of her own tribe’s culture in the REAF Voices performance at Roebourne.
“I am from the main tribe in Cairns and the choir has been learning some songs in my language,” she said. “I feel very lucky to take my culture across to the other side of Australia.
“It’s amazing here and so different from where we are from ... it’s awesome singing in the red dirt.”
Gondwana founder and artistic director Lyn Williams said she hoped to bring the choir back to Roebourne and continue to develop relationships.
“We feel the kids who have the intensive rehearsals with us, it really has the capability to change their lives,” she said.
“It gives the kids a great drive and purpose and they can see the hard work pays off when they get to do fantastic trips like this.”