About MUCS

A non-auditioning choir, MUCS exists to offer both students and interested members of the community the chance to learn and perform choral music in a friendly and relaxed environment - irrespective of age, experience or profession. Under direction of Andrew Wailes, the choir has performed music from all the important periods in musical history, and has given numerous first performances of new works by young Australian composers.

General

Founded in 1939 when the university’s men’s and women’s glee clubs merged, the Melbourne University Choral Society (MUCS) has established a reputation as one of Melbourne’s leading large choirs, and has brought an exciting blend of youthful energy and musical skill to many works throughout more than six decades of existence.

The Melbourne University Choral Society (MUCS) is Melbourne’s leading non-auditioning student choir, offering both Melbourne University students and other interested members of the community the chance to learn and perform choral music in a friendly and relaxed student environment. Anyone is welcome to come and sing with us, irrespective of age, experience or profession. There are NO AUDITIONS FOR STUDENTS, although non-students may be asked to demonstrate a reasonable standard in an audition to ensure they are able to cope with the general standard of the choir.

Most recently MUCS was chosen as the only Australian choir to perform at the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo before a live audience of 175,000 at Etihad Stadium, and a further estimated international TV audience of over 100 million people!

The choir has toured Europe on two previous occasions and a third concert tour of Europe is planned for January 2017 which will see MUCS appear in some of Europe’s finest churches and cathedrals in Germany, Austria, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Poland and Hungary.

In 2016 the choir will perform major concerts including Vaughan Williams “A Sea Symphony” in the Arts centre Melbourne’s Hamer Hall with the Royal Melbourne Philharmonic Choir and Orchestra in May, undertake a regional tour of great sacred choruses in second semester, appear with the Melbourne Staff Band in the Arts Centre Melbourne’s Hamer Hall in November and perform three traditional Christmas concerts in St Paul’s Cathedral with The Australian Children’s Choir and Royal Melbourne Philharmonic in December. The choir will also host the world famous male acapella singing group The Whiffenpoofs of Yale University in August.

MUCS is one of the founding choirs of the Australian Intervarsity Choral Movement, and an affiliated member of the Australian National Choral Association.

Performances

MUCS usually gives at least 3 major performances a year, complemented by a number of smaller additional concerts or appearances. Performances are either fully produced by MUCS, usually featuring professional soloists and orchestras; or joint performances with other engaging bodies, such as the Royal Melbourne Philharmonic, The Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, the Defence Force School of Music, University of Melbourne, Australian Classical Players, Royal Melbourne Philharmonic. Many of these performances have subsequently been broadcast on Melbourne’s classical radio station, 3MBS-FM and ABC Classic FM.

Members of MUCS have also regularly participated in other performances including major events such as AFL grand-finals, the Melbourne Comedy Festival, concerts with The Australian Army Band Melbourne, the ANZAC Day Dawn Service and Battle of Australian Commemorations at the Shrine of Remembrance, the Catholic Schools Spectacular and various charity performances. Other projects to have involved the choir include numerous recordings for film and television.

Press Quotes

The Choral Society had moments of mystical beauty...(they) touched the poignancy button... Conductor Andrew Wailes coaxed some creditable dynamic ranges and phrasing...under Wailes' musical persuasion, the choir had crisp diction and dynamics

Xenia Hanusiak, The Herald-Sun

Each of the choral lines came across with precision and warmth...the choir's competence was tellingly displayed...

Clive O'Connell, The Age

The choral forces made a splendid sound in the great outbursts that occur (...) the large body produced some exhilarating moments. Singing in Russian, the singers complemented the VCA players in bringing to vivid life this remarkable, rarely heard masterwork.

Clive O'Connell, The Age

...the orchestra and choir produced a performance that was of exceptional quality... The choir, prepared by Andrew Wailes, produced an excellent, blended tone

Joel Crotty, The Age

The highlight of the program was Prokofiev’s great cantata, Alexander Nevsky. After hearing this wonderful performance I have to wonder why it is not heard more often. However, its massive concept and complexity could only be tackled by a few choirs in this country – and they would need the support of a great orchestra. On this occasion both factors were present plus, in Wailes, a conductor who could hold it all together. . The choir impressed with the rounded sound needed for Russian music, and singing that was harmonious and full… . I could not imagine a better performance – even in Russia!

Suzanne Yanko, Arts Hub Review

Conductor Andrew Wailes engineered some splendid passages in Sunday evening's reading of The Dream of Gerontius, eliciting a powerful and evenly distributed dynamic range from the Royal Melbourne Philharmonic Choir, Melbourne University Choral Society, and the Australian Catholic University Choir; a large body of singers with praiseworthy responsiveness and precision… the female voices gave exemplary service.

Clive O’Connell, The Age

Rehearsal Camps

A couple of times a year we spend a weekend away from the city at a luxurious camp-site to dedicate time to rehearsing for our concerts, and have lots of fun too. Camps are a great way to get to know other members of the choir.

The MUCS Camp for 2016 is scheduled for the second week-end of April, so make sure you join in time!

Post-Rehearsal Drinks

Each week members meet at the Clyde Hotel in Carlton for a relaxing chat and a few drinks after rehearsal. Others meet before rehearsal for a cheap dinner. Just a short stroll from where we rehearse the Clyde is a regular venue for MUCS social events.

Major Works Performed by the Choir in Recent Years

Mozart’s Requiem (with Royal Melbourne Philharmonic Orchestra at Federation Square)
Carl Orff’s Carmina Burana (with the Royal Melbourne Philharmonic Orchestra at Melbourne Town Hall)
Karl Jenkins’ The Armed Man (at St Paul’s Cathedral)
A Christmas Gift (with the Melborune Staff Band at Hamer Hall)
Elgar’s The Dream of Gerontius and The Music Makers (at Melbourne Town Hall)
Verdi’s Messa da Requiem (at Melbourne Town Hall)
Melbourne premiere of Carl Vine’s Choral Symphony (with the Stonnington Symphony)
Brahms’ Ein Deutsches Requiem
Prokofiev’s Alexander Nevsky (with RMPO/MYO at Melbourne Town Hall)