‘You managed to present that group of irreligious, uncivilised and unenlightened folk as a coherent, well-disciplined and musical ensemble. What magic!!! Please thank them all for their wonderful contribution to the concert.’ Sue Capper, making light of the informal definition of the word heathens from dictionary.com
'Thank you Deb and all of the Heathens who sang so beautifully last night. So many great comments from all of the audience - you certainly started the BANC AGM with a flourish! Your enthusiasm was more than measurable'. Adrienne
President BANC Committee.
Upcoming Events 2022
Blackheath Choir Festival
Fri 26 Aug to Sun 28 Aug
Leura Gardens Festival
Mon 03 Oct 12.30
To book The Heathens:
To ask about using our
Wednesday 02 March, 2-4pm
Choristers need to be fully vaccinated, masks unnecessary but optional
We have decided to postpone our start date to Wednesday 2 March 2022 but will review the situation with COVID and verify or update that information closer to that time.
We’re back in the singing business! Two rehearsals for this performance, the first on Wed 01 Dec and the second on Wed 08 Dec, both rehearsals in the Phillips Hall 2-4pm.
We move to new premises this term. From Wednesday April 22 we rehearse in the Presbyterian Church Hall on Wentworth St from 1.30pm to 3.30pm. Please note the new times, half an hour earlier than previously.
For those unfamiliar with that venue, simply walk down Gardiner Cr from the Community Hall, turn right on Wentworth St, cross the road and you’ll see the hall to the left of the Church not far from the corner.
We hope to start rehearsals on Wednesday 3 February at the usual time, 2-4pm. At this stage government regulations restrict us to outdoor rehearsals, which are of course weather dependent. Please ensure you are on our email list to keep up to date with changes from week to week.
An enthusiastic group of 45 choristers turned up for our first physical gathering for 9 months due to COVID restrictions.
We start next year on Wednesday 27 January. Could new and returning singers please advise Christine so she can add you (back) to her email list.
21st – 23rd August 2020 – The Blackheath Choir Festival – or otherwise know as the
“The friendliest choir festival in the world!”
is on again this year! So put the date in your diary!
It also has a new website where you can register your choir or find out more information. Please visit https://blackheathchoirfestival.org/
After an interesting and intense Christmas and holiday break due to the fires…The Heathens are keen to start the new year filled with rejuvenative music and song! Term 1 starts today and we welcome any new comers and looking forward to getting together with old friends.
Join The Heathens & the Blue Mountains City RSL Band on December 8th at 2.30pm at St Hilda’s Church, Katoomba Street, Katoomba for their annual Christmas concert!
Tickets at the door – $10 for adults and children are free. All proceeds are donated to the Blue Mountains refugee Support Group.
Our 10th anniversary celebrations on June 5 were featured in an article in the Blue Mountains Gazette issue of June 14 2019.
The celebration was full of fun and frivolity and fabulous food. Who knew we had so much talent – both musical and culinary? Or that we loved getting into costume? Many a wardrobe and bargain discount shop was raided to satisfy our inner dressing-up desires.
You can read the full article and see pictures of the performers here.
2019 marks the 10th year that The Heathens have been singing together under the direction of Chris Wheeler and we will be celebrating all year by re-visiting old songs and learning new songs to share with our wonderful community. We have grown from a small group of 10 to a healthy choir of 50 plus in the last 10 years and look forward to welcoming any new comers who are thinking of joining this year.
Term 1 starts on Wednesday January 30!
2018 was another great year for The Heathens – learning new songs and performing at different venues and lots of great times spent together. Thank you Chris for your ever-gracious patience and your expertise in getting 50 people to sound good! Thanks to Mick for your support and for all the behind-the-scenes work that has to be done to get 50 people to turn up with the right music!
See you in 2019!
Here are some photos of the Heathens hamming it up at their Christmas Party – thanks to Hilary and John for the photos!
The Heathens are celebrating Christmas this year with two concerts! They will be very different but with the same message…PEACE and UNITY. See below for details for both and we hope you can join us!
Join us at Rydal to celebrate Spring! Thousands of daffodils have been planted in the parks and gardens of Rydal, just west of the Blue Mountains. Daffodils at Rydal 2018 will take place over the two weekends of 8/9 September and 15/16 September. $10 entry takes you to all the gardens.
The Heathens will be part of the entertainment and will be on stage at 12.30pm on Sunday 9th September.
We all know the wonderful benefits of singing – especially with others…but did you know that it can trigger memories in those who struggle to remember? This is a very interesting article…
Here we are at term 3 already! And we are gearing up for the 2018 Blackheath Choir Festival in August. Can hardly wait to mingle with all those other choristers from around NSW. Visit the website for more info and how to book! https://blackheathchoirfestival.weebly.com
Thank you to the Blue Mountains community who came out in the freezing cold weather last Sunday to see and listen to the fabulous Spooky Men Chorale. The Heathens felt very privileged to be the support act to these great performers. It was a sell out crowd that filled the Blackheath Community Hall and all proceeds were donated to a most worthy cause – The Blue Mountains Refugee Support Group. Thanks must also go to the organisers, the cake makers, the sound guys and everyone who came – it was a great success. Photos below are thanks to Diane Green.
2pm Sunday 17th June 2018 – Blackheath Community Hall
For a stupendous Sunday afternoon’s entertainment, come to this concert hosted by The Heathens community choir and featuring the Spooky Men’s Chorale. The Spooky Men have a CV as long as your arm – they have appeared at our National Folk Festival, festivals all over Europe, the UK and NZ, made guest appearances on Spicks and Specks, the New Inventors’ Grand Final and The Mix.
You will leave feeling uplifted and full of goodwill, having laughed and cried as The Spooky Men swing between wonderful songs of ridiculous hilarity and songs of great tenderness, shimmeringly perfect and human in a very resonant way.
The afternoon’s music kicks off with the passion and enthusiasm of The Heathens – Blackheath’s own community choir. Afternoon tea (homemade) will be available at 4pm when the concert concludes.
This concert marks the beginning of Refugee Week. All proceeds will go to support the wonderful work of the Blue Mountains Refugee Support Group.
MOUNT VICTORIA GREAT TRAIN WEEKEND
26TH – 27TH MAY
The Heathens will kick off this terrific weekend at 11.00am on Saturday 26th with a repertoire of locomotive songs! Come and join in the fun – there will be something for everyone – young and old. For full information on what is on offer over the weekend visit the website mountvictoria.nsw.au/great-train-weekend
Term 2 has begun and we are busy rehearsing for the first of three performances this term. First up is Blackheath Day on Saturday 12 May. Come and celebrate this beautiful town we live in and listen to us sing!
Happy new year everyone and a big welcome to those who have decided to join The Heathens this year. Term 1 starts on Wednesday 31 January and here is a reminder about the fee arrangements…Fees are $75 per term and can be paid within the first 3 weeks. Payment can be made on-line or cash – just see Kerry when you arrive on Wednesday if you need any assistance.
Looking forward to another great year of singing!
It was a fabulous way to end our year, joining The Blue Mountains City Band and conducted by Paul Terracini for a wonderful Christmas concert. Here are some photos taken by Aidan Grilli (lovely partner to our Bridget). Thank you Aidan – and thank you to those who came to listen and contributed to supporting the Blue Mountains Refugee Support Group. Happy Christmas everyone! See you in the New Year!
The Heathens are singing with The Blue Mountains City Band and conducted by Paul Terracini on Sunday 10th December at St Hilda’s Anglican Church in Katoomba. All are welcome – a gold coin donation which will be donated to the Blue Mountains Refugee Support Group. Hope to see you there!
Fellow Heathen and Green’s campaigner, Susie Rix is currently protesting in North Queensland against the Adani mine and sent this photo…Good on you Susie! We are so proud of you!
I think we moved some mountains last Saturday at our concert with three other choirs from the mountains – The Moo Choir from Warrimoo; The Mudlarks from Faulconbridge and Vocal Edge from Blackheath. We filled the church with 200 people – so thank you everyone who came along and listened to us sing! We hope you enjoyed it as much as we did and that you may have been moved to join a choir!
Thank you to everyone who came and listened to us sing in the Waldorf Gardens at the Leura Garden Festival. We loved singing under the big tree! Thanks to Maxine for the photos.
Term 4 is GIG time! We have seven concerts to perform in and we are so excited to be part of each and every on of them. First up is The Leura Garden Festival. Join us at 1.00pm at The Waldorf Gardens in Leura on Monday 2 Oct AND Wednesday 5 Oct.
And on Saturday 28th October we will be joined by three other Blue Mountains choirs – Vocal Edge, The Mudlarks and The Moo choir celebrating the community spirit that spreads up and down our mountain. See below for details.
UPDATE! Hi everyone. I wanted to share the wonderful news that today I am sending off a donation of $3665 to the Blue Mountains Refugee Support Group being the net proceeds from last Sunday’s Shelter event. Much credit goes to you who came up with the idea of doing a concert in the first place and for reaching out to others in the Community choir world. As we say in Yiddish, Mazal Tov – Congratulations all round! Anne Spira, Sydney Jewish Choral Society.
I hope that by now you have arrived back home safely and are relaxing after the intensity of our day. We are all delighted with the outcome of the concert. We all worked hard and created a warm vibe this afternoon and it was immensely satisfying to collaborate musically for a great cause. It was a pleasure to get to meet you all and I hope we can get to sing together again before too long. Ann Spira, Sydney Jewish Choral Society.
“I want to say a big thank you to Susie and Cathy for the wonderful job they did toward making our Shelter concert such a huge success on Sunday. To Chris thank you for your patience and perseverance. Hopefully our joyful and enthusiastic singing covered any little glitches that occurred during our set. Not forgetting Kathy, thank you for helping us along the way while Chris was on holidays. Jan Cutler
And…thank you Jan for bringing cakes and biscuits for all of us!
And…THANK YOU to The Sydney Jewish Choral Society for hosting the event and welcoming us so warmly and to everyone who came.
We have been rehearsing hard over the last few weeks for our concert in Sydney with the Sydney Jewish Choir and we are looking forward to it! Not only will you hear some wonderful voices, you will hear from a trio of fine musicians and a beautiful piece of artwork will be auctioned. All money raised will be donated to the Blue Mountains Refugee Support Group.
Welcome home to cold Blackheath Chris & Mick! We are looking forward to hearing all your news!
And this is from Deb to help any of us having trouble making sense of rhythmic notation in printed music, then this might just help a little!
Hope everyone has had a great break. Rehearsals resume on Wednesday 19th July and a reminder that the term fee of $75 is due.
We will only have 4 weeks to rehearse for our upcoming concert – SHELTER! A concert we are performing with the Sydney Jewish Choir in support of refugees in Australia. See below for details.
Here are some pics Mick has sent from the Italian part of their holiday. They are currently in France and hopefully will send more. Don’t they look fabulous…and warm!
We celebrated another milestone birthday this week…for Jan. Jan is the cornerstone of The Heathens with her forever smiling face and positive outlook on life. Not to mention the wonderful cakes and slices she brings to choir rehearsal every week. Happy Birthday Jan! Here is her lovely response to the party yesterday…
To all my co-Heathens – A huge thank you for giving me such a wonderful birthday celebration yesterday – totally unexpected but so totally appreciated. Beautiful friendships made and such a happy space for all of us to enjoy singing together each week. The Heathens are very special – long may we make beautiful music together – so good for the soul.
Friendship and love to all, Jan
You might have seen our Judy walking very briskly around Blackheath over the last few months. Well that is because she was training for the 2017 Australian Masters Athletics Championships in Darwin where she competes in the 1500, 5000 metres and the 10km Race Walking. Judy has won many medals over the years so we wish her luck this week! Judy – you are inspiration to us all!
As we say Bon voyage to Chris & Mick as they fly their way to Europe for a well-deserved holiday for 7 weeks – we also say a big welcome to Kathy Ferguson who will be leading us Heathens in rehearsal in Chris’s absence. We are really looking forward to singing with you and learning from you Kathy!
Once described by Leo Schofield as a ‘latter-day Great Gatsby’, Harry Douglas has always embraced life with gusto. This month he celebrates his 90th birthday and it will be in style if Harry has anything to do with it. Happy Birthday to our oldest member from all of us Heathens! Congratulations Harry!
Welcome back to Vera from her trip home to Hungary with the exciting news that her memoir – Red Danube – is now sitting on shelves in bookshops in Budapest! Congratulations!
The Heathens will be singing on Blackheath Day this Saturday 13th May – as well as other choirs and musicians. Come along and join the fun!
This week we celebrated the youngest members of our choir birthday. Twins Bridget and Chloe turned 21 – and we had champagne & cake!
Happy New Year everyone and a big warm welcome to any new members who are starting with us today. Yes – choir resumes today and we are looking forward to learning some new songs and revisiting some older ones. Just a reminder that the fees have increased slightly this year and it is now $75 per term which is payable within the first 3 weeks of a new term. If you know that you will be away for any length of time – please let Rita or Kerrie know and they will work out a pro-rata rate for you.
Really looking forward to another year of singing with The Heathens…
and other than the great friendships to be had … did you know there were health benefits associated with singing in a choir…gotta love that!
In dulci jubilo! Come along and enjoy some sweet and joyous music that you won’t hear in any shopping centre. This special Christmas concert will be the second time The Blue Mountains City Band and The Heathens Choir have performed together and this year the Katoomba Public School Band and the Blue Mountains City RSL Band will join them, under the direction of Volker Schoeler, to bring a shared love of making music at an artistic high level. The concert will feature traditional carols from around the world – some that are centuries old – celebrating the spirit of Christmas.
The concert will be held on Sunday 11th December at 2.30pm at St Hilda’s Anglican Church, Katoomba St. Katoomba. Entry is a gold coin donated to the Blue Mountains Refugee Support Group. This is our Blue Mountains community spirit at its best and all are welcome.
We were in full voice and sang our hearts out to a great audience at the Blackheath Rhodo Day. Thanks to everyone who came to listen. Here are a few pics taken by Philia Portelli – thanks Philia!
The sun shone and the wind calmed down a bit for us to sing for the folks at the Waldorf Gardens in Leura. Thanks Philia for the great photos!
Just a reminder to have a look at the Upcoming Events on the right hand side of the page for all our upcoming performances.
Wed 12 October is choir as normal and on Wed 19th October Deb will hold a workshop at our usual time. Then we will have a break from choir for two weeks – so no choir on 26th October and the 3rd November.
Spring is in the air here in Blackheath and it certainly has arrived in Chris and Mick’s garden. The magnolia tree we gave Chris last year to say thank you for all her hard work, has blossomed. Here is a picture. We are also looking forward to singing in the beautiful gardens at Chapel House in Rydal again!
Thank you to the organisers of the 2016 Blackheath Choir festival. It was bigger and better and created a fabulous vibe around town.
And a personal thanks to our fabulous choir director – Chris Wheeler – whose amazing energy, talent and confidence inspires us to sing our best and have fun doing it. Thank you xx.
Practising…practising…and getting very excited about this fabulous festival coming to our town.
Hey Heathens – check out the link below to see the restorative powers of group singing!
Sing with others. Group singing has been proven to release “happy hormones”. It is also a natural antidote to feelings of isolation and loneliness.
Sing shamelessly. When you sing out loud, musical vibrations move through you. Singing produces satisfying and therapeutic sensations even when the sound produced by the voice is of average quality.
Stay focused. Group singing requires complete attention on breathing and vocal activation. A good choral workout can be as effective as a group-led meditation.