Musical and Artistic Director – Call for applications

Sydney’s iconic Café of the Gate of Salvation gospel choir is looking for a new Musical and Artistic Director in 2018.

When founder Tony Backhouse first had the idea back in 1986 to start an inner-city choir inspired by the music of the African-American sacred vocal tradition, little did he know how far-reaching that decision would be. The ‘Café’ has been Sydney's premier a cappella gospel choir ever since. Accepting all faiths, we are inspired by the footstompin', soulful music of the African-American vocal tradition, we sing because we love to and we share our voices, to foster inclusiveness, compassion & joy.

After the first twenty years with Tony, for the last ten we have been led and inspired by our beloved musical director Dynes Austin. The 35-voice ‘Café’ is a hardworking performing choir that gives around 15 performances per year. We curate a number of own events including gigs at the Basement with our Heavenly Band and often perform with guest artists such as Paul Capsis, Darren Percival and Tina Harrod, our annual Petersham Bowlo pilgrimage and our “Singing for Freedom” program. We always make sure at least a third of our performances support good causes.

We love festivals and have performed many, such as Womadelaide, Bellingen Global Carnival, Kiama Jazz Festival, Sydney Mardi Gras, Kings Cross Cultural Festival and the Festival of Voices in Hobart. We have also performed at fund-raising events for worthy social causes such as Earth Hour, Quake Aid, Love Makes A Way, Sing for Somalia, AIDS Trust of Australia along with appearances at the ARIA and Walkley Awards, and tours of both the USA and New

Job description
The Musical and Artistic Director will:
- Curate and manage the choir performance repertoire. This especially includes introducing new songs that build on the extensive catalogue (over 100 songs)
- Craft music programs for our diverse performances
- Be our inspirational principal conductor for performances, supported by our assistant musical directors
o Up to 15 performances per year
- Oversee the rehearsal schedule
o Rehearsals are held most Wednesday nights 7:00 to 9:00pm with occasional weekend rehearsals
o Note: We normally have a Christmas break from mid-December to end-January, plus a few designated choir-free days during school holidays
- Teach new songs and polish old ones
- Support the learning and good singing practice of choir members
- Lead new member auditions
- Work with the Management Committee on the musical programme

Applicant requirements
- Experienced choral conductor, minimum 5 years
- Have a deep affinity with and understanding of African-American gospel music
- Engaging and passionate about choral music
- Shares the choir’s community and sharing ethos
- Ability to inspire and motivate
- Ability to arrange choral music

- Fixed salary per annum paid quarterly (note the Café is GST exempt).

Application process
- Applications for the role will be open from September to 15 December, 2017
- Please email applications indicating why you would want to be the Café’s MD and addressing the job requirements to
- A shortlist will be made in January, we will advise applicants shortly thereafter
- Those shortlisted will be interviewed and invited to conduct the choir on a trial basis
- After the trial period, the choir as a whole will be voting for the new Musical Director

A bit more about the choir

We have an active management committee that oversees the day-to- day running of the choir including:
- Seeking and managing gigs
- Choir publicity – including website and social media
- Management of members – auditions, attendance etc
- Rehearsal venues – principal rehearsal venue is St Mary’s Church, Swanson St,
- Finances

Café of the Gate of Salvation has released four CDs to date and is mixing a new release at present:
- Out of the Archives 2011
- Deluxe 2004
- A Window in Heaven 1995 (ARIA nominated)
- The Café of the Gate of Salvation 1992 (self-titled)
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