LEARNING a second language is no mean feat for anyone – let alone putting it to music, learning parts, and singing collectively.

But, that’s exactly what 16 members of the Bendigo Youth Choir are currently trying to master, after being invited to sing a work in France this September on the life of Australian soldier General Sir John Monash.

The choir will perform the cantata, entirely in French, in the city of Amiens, where Monash led Australian troops during World War I.

It will form part of a program commemorating 100 years since the war’s end.

Bendigo Youth Choir’s founder and artistic director Valerie Broad said preparations for the trip, and the learning of the French, were progressing.

“Our children have worked very very hard – they’ve learned most of it in French,” she said.

“We’ve got a little bit of work to do to bring it up to speed, but the kids have done hard work, and they’re getting there.”

Ms Broad said the trip had been two years in the making, having performed English versions of the work since 2016.

“I think it’s a great thrill that anybody thinks you’re of a sufficient standard to ask you to be part of a production, and to travel…,” she said.

“I think these children have had opportunities that not many do.

“They’ve performed in some wonderful spaces around the world, and most of the time it’s been by invitation.”

While in France, they will be singing alongside 40 young French choristers, as well as soloists.

The trip will also serve as a dual experience for the choir, with the Bendigo RSL working with the group to educate them on Bendigo’s connection to the war.

Ms Broad said this will then allow choristers to teach their peers upon their return.

“The RSL are really keen about it, because it means the tradition of ANZAC is kept alive,” she said.

The choir has plans to perform sections of the work at this year’s Remembrance Day celebrations, as well as at Bendigo Art Gallery  as part of White Night on
September 1. 

The choir and its support crew fly out on September 25, to perform on September 30.

– Sam Kane