The choristers were originally formed as an offshoot of the Montague Art and Craft Society (MACS) for those members and/or their partners who wanted to meet together and sing; membership of either group open to anyone who could see Montague Island.The choir was founded by Val Brown, whose husband Charles was actively involved with MACS.
The choristers were originally formed as an offshoot of the Montague Art and Craft Society (MACS) for those members and/or their partners who wanted to meet together and sing; membership of either group open to anyone who could see Montague Island.
Val Brown, with her love of singing, and whose husband Charles was actively involved with MACS, volunteered to lead the new group which was soon presenting concerts of sacred music and light favourites. With time the challenges of the works presented grew and in 1991 the Choristers staged “The Pirates of Penzance” by Gilbert and Sullivan, the first of many stage shows.
In 2002 when Val and Charles moved north, Emeritus Professor Bill Hawkey became the Music Director of the Montague Choristers. Under Bill’s guidance the choristers went on to present a series of concerts each year: two by the choristers, sometimes combining with the Merimbula based choir the Nomads, also under Bill’s baton, and five by Visiting Artists of a very high calibre. 2005 saw a new development with the formation of the Montague Choristers junior Choir and Cantabile Ensemble for women’s voices, both under the direction of Christina Coull.
Emeritus Professor William (Bill) Hawkey retired from the position of Director and Professor of Music at the Australian National University in 1999. Bill had a distinguished career in music as an educator, administrator, orchestral and choral conductor, composer , pianist and organist. Bill founded, and conducted the Canberra Community Choir for 10 years ; in New Zealand he had been the long-term music conductor of the Christchurch Harmonic Choir. He is still sought after around Australia as an adjudicator for Eisteddfods.His favorite motto for his choirs was “the 3 E’s: enjoy, educate and entertain.”
Bill retired as Director of the Monties at the end of 2012, but up to his death in early 2019 he was still very much involved with the choir under its new director and was the Artistic Director of our Visiting Artists Series.