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Christmas With You – Deborah Cheetham and ABC Classic

Posted by APATA | Nov 10, 2020

After the year that it’s been, ABC Classic is bringing together Australia through song. Asked leading composer and Yorta Yorta woman Deborah Cheetham to compose a brand new carol, giving voice to what Christmas means in 2020, and lifting our spirits as we approach the end of the year. Christmas With You captures the festive mood of comfort and joy as well as paying tribute to our shared experiences. Think ‘smiling through tears’ and you’ll get a sense of what Deborah has created.

Every carol needs a choir, and so we’ve created the inaugural Classic Choir to bring Christmas With You to life. Australians will raise their voices from every corner of the continent, and with all the evidence that singing makes you happier and healthier, there is every reason to get involved.

How to get involved

  1. Sign up to the choir to stay updated with online rehearsals and news about the Classic Choir, including the final release of Christmas With You, featuring you!
  2. Download the sheet music and a recording featuring your voice part so you can practise at home
  3. Join one of the online rehearsals on Wednesday 18, Thursday 19, Monday 23, and Tuesday 24 November at 5pm AEDT
  4. Film yourself singing “Christmas With You” and send it to the ABC by Friday 27 November
  5. We’ll put everyone’s contributions into a single video and recording for release on Tuesday 15 December!

The artwork

Wadawurrung artist Deanne Gilson has painted a new artwork to illustrate these themes through ancient stories. It depicts the hope that the Nyirram turt-barram (Morning Star) brings us, and the story of Bundjil, the creator and his wife Koonawarra (the Black Swan) who gave birth to the morning star child. Today, the star child represents all our children, and through them our future hopes and dreams.

Nyirrum turt-barram [The Morning Star Story] by Deanne Gilson


Professor Deborah Cheetham AO – soprano, composer, playwright, producer, actor, educator and Artistic Director of Short Black Opera, Australia’s national Indigenous opera company.

The vision of Short Black Opera is:

  • To increase Indigenous representation in the world of opera and classical music by creating a clearly defined pathway

  • To develop new opera audiences by presenting Indigenous stories, making opera accessible and relevant to a broader Australian audience


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