In 2015 the DRMC commissioned the composition of an original piece of music for the Centenary of Anzac. In 2016 Creative Victoria funded a grant (see Bells of Peace at Birrarung Marr Grant) for the development and choral arrangement of the 'Bells of Peace' song originally commissioned by the DRMC. The song Bells of Peace was developed through workshops with children from the Dandenong and Yarra Ranges Primary Schools and professional artist John Shortis.
The creative development of the song, originally workshopped and written for handbells, has been funded by Creative Victoria. The funding is supporting the collaboration of two artists, Kate Sadler to produce the choral arrangement of the song for massed choirs and Karen Berger to compose variations of the song for the Federation Bells.
The project has the support of the City of Melbourne and the artists will work closely with the technical support for the Federation Bells.
The project includes the development of the Bells of Peace song on to the Federation bells app.
SEPTEMBER UPDATE: Read how the ‘Bells of Peace’ song and Federation Bells rang out at Birrarung Marr for the International Day of Peace.
The first creative development meeting for the project was in March at the Melbourne Conservatorium.
A focus for the first meeting was the transition of the work from 2015 to 2017. John Shortis, the songwriter and community music artist for the 2015 project, met with Karen and Kate. It was a wonderful exchange of ideas and information. Kate and Karen learnt about the development of the 2015 song through workshopping with the handbells.
Listen here for John's summary of how he writes songs:
Kate has extensive experience in choral arrangement and using technology in leading choirs:
Karen has composed for the Federation bells and knows their special qualities. Here she talks about their unique sounds:
The project is posing a range of complex artistic challenges that Kate and Karen are enthusiastically working on:
Kathryn studied voice at Trinity College, London; education at Surrey University; opera and music theatre at the Victorian College of the Arts and, as the inaugural recipient of the Australian Elizabethan Theatre Trust scholarship, advanced choral conducting with Dr Doreen Rao at the University of Toronto. She is also a Certified Master Teacher- Estill Voice International. She has worked in music theatre, TV and cabaret, sung on the recital platform and performed with most of Australia's opera companies.
Kate is a renowned Australian composer and many of her choral songs (KateSongs) are being enjoyed by choirs all over the globe
Currently Kate directs Sounds of Southgate and her VoiceArt Consultancy, where she offers singing lessons and performance classes and mentors student singing teachers.
Karen works in performance, directing and teaching. She’s currently musical directing Work in Progress for Melbourne Playback Theatre Company, where she has worked as an improvising musician since 1999. Last year, Karen musical directed The Penelopiad for the Women’s Circus where she runs an on-going choir.
She has worked as director and/or music director for productions such as Walk on Water (Melbourne City Baths, 2000), Le Petit Prince (Ghanaian tour, 2004; Melbourne French Theatre, 2007), Bremen (Melbourne Fringe Festival Award Winner, 2005), Teapot Ensemble of Australia (Melbourne International Arts Festival, 2007; Singapore Children’s Arts Festival, 2009), The Parricide (La Mama, 2014), Barassi - The Stage Show (Victorian tour, 2014) and Deceptive Threads (Winner Khayrallah Lebanese Diaspora Prize, 2015/6).
Karen has a B. Music Performance and Grad. Dip. Animateuring from V.C.A., an M.A. from Victoria University and is currently undertaking a PhD in Performance Studies at Federation University.
She went down to the Lilydale main street and grabbed the fire bell and rang it, and that was how she let the people of Lilydale know that the war had ended and heralded Peace. Lilydale CFA
The story of Dame Nellie Melba ringing the Lilydale Fire Brigade Bell to let the community know that the world was at peace was the inspiration for the song Bells of Peace.
This is an extract from 'The History of the Lilydale Fire Brigade'.
In 2015 the DRMC produced the Bells of Peace Centenary of Anzac project. It involved extensive historical research, compositions of several new works, and two mega performances.
You can find information on Bells of Peace 2015 here.
For more information about the project contact Karen via email at or phone 9754 6566.