Australian Byzantine Choir

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The Australian Byzantine Choir is the preeminent choir in the First Archdiocesan District of New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory, Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Australia.

History

Established in 1998 as the Sydney Byzantine Choir under choirmaster George Combis, and with the blessing of Archbishop Stylianos, the Australian Byzantine Choir currently consists of 22 young Greek Australian chanters, and is devoted to the dissemination and study of traditional Byzantine chanting in Australia.

The aims of the choir are numerous: to train chanters for Greek Orthodox parishes; to celebrate major services, such as vigils, sacraments and parish patronal celebrations; and charitible work. The first is accomplished through the School of Byzantine Music, where two of the teachers are key members of the choir, and its charitable work is done primarily through concerts where all proceeds are donated to a specific cause (such as the Orthodox Mission in Madagascar).

The choir has performed at the Sydney Festival, Australia Day, Carnivale Christi, as well as at St Andrew's Cathedral, St Mary's Cathedral, Sydney University, the Enmore theatre, along with invited appearances in Melbourne and Brisbane.

Choirmaster

Mr George Combis was born in Wollongong in 1965 to Fr John and Pres. Efthemia Combis, and was taught Byzantine music by his father from 7 years of age. The fruits of this became evident when, in 1986, he was appointed second chanter in the church where his father served; in 1991, at the retirement of Nikolaos Michalopoulos, the head chanter, he was promoted as his successor. In 1998, he founded the Sydney Byzantine Choir, which later became known as the Australian Byzantine Choir.

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