Musical Director – Nathan Byrne

Nathan is employed by the Chorale, joining West Gippsland Chorale as Musical Director in February 2022.

Nathan is an experienced choral, classroom, and instrumental music teacher, having worked across a variety of educational setting over the last decade. He has worked as a classroom music teacher and coordinator, first at Traralgon College, and currently as the Head of Performing Arts – Events at St Paul’s Anglican Grammar School.

After obtaining his Bachelor of Music from the University of Melbourne Conservatorium of Music under the tutelage of Dr Mark McGee, Nathan qualified with a Master of Teaching (Secondary) degree from the University of Melbourne.

Prior to classroom music teaching, Nathan was the Musical Director for the Apollo Health Music Society at The University of Melbourne, Parkville. This choir was a mixed voice, un-auditioned SATB choir to suit various ability levels. in this position he directed the choir through two major performances at nursing homes and hospitals between 2009-2014. Since then he has been heavily involved in musical theatre as musical director, vocal coach and rehearsal pianist for the Latrobe Theatre Company since 2015. Since 2017, Nathan has been the director of a school based vocal ensemble as part of his role at St Paul’s Anglican Grammar School.

Nathan s currently the secretary of the 2022 Australian National Choral Association (ANCA) committee, Vic-Tas branch, Vice President of the Association of Music Educators VIC Inc. (aMUSE), and General Committee Member of the Australian Choral Conductors Education and Training Inc (ACCET).

Accompanist – Chris Sim

Chris is employed by the Chorale, joining the West Gippsland Chorale as accompanist in May 2019.

Chris has performed and taught both locally and in Melbourne for many years. She completed her formal music education at The University of Melbourne’s Conservatorium of Music under the tutelage of Igor Machlak, Olga Kharitinova and Anna Goldsworthy.

Chris has been awarded both her Associate in Music Australia and Licentiate in Music Australia for piano, and, after obtaining her Bachelor of Music degree with Honours, qualified with a Master of Teaching (secondary) degree from the University of Melbourne.

A recipient of the Janet Clarke Hall Scholarship, the Vera Moore Scholarship and the William Angliss Scholarship, Chris has held positions as both a non-resident and resident music tutor and official accompanist at University College, The University of Melbourne, as an instrumental and music theory teacher at the Parkville Music School, an orchestral pianist for the Australian Conservatoire of Ballet Orchestra, and as classroom, ensemble and instrumental teacher for a number of metropolitan and regionally based schools.

Chris continues to teach music theory and piano privately in Gippsland, while performing as an accompanist for both chamber and solo engagements, in eisteddfods, exams and musicals.

Musical Director Emeritus – Jan MacLean

Jan MacLean

Jan has had a lifelong interest in Choral music and during her teacher training she sang with Melbourne University Choral Society, then Yallourn Madrigal Singers under the late Val Pyers, Geelong GAMA Singers and Hamilton Lydian Singers, gaining valuable insights in leading a choir from a variety of skilled conductors. In the early ’70s directed the Southern Mallee Choir in Hopetoun for their first ever Messiah performance. Moving to Horsham , she directed Christmas Choir for several years. She has trained various secondary school choirs and directed many school musicals.

On moving to Warragul in the early ’80s she founded the Warragul Madrigal Singers, which was later renamed the West Gippsland Chorale to acknowledge the wider variety of music in its repertoire. For 26 years Jan directed the Chorale, and has always seen the big picture in preparing the choir for the future. From its earliest years when it began winning eisteddfods, she always strove for perfection and was well known for her ability to encourage the choir to enter into the atmosphere of each piece of music.

Jan made contacts over the years with leading Melbourne conductors such as Jeffrey Crellin, Doug Heywood and Peter Bandy, and thus began a series of cooperative choral ventures with Melbourne choirs and their orchestras. The Chorale under Jan’s direction became part of the musical tradition of Gippsland and beyond.

Her community work was recognised in 1999 when she was awarded an Australia Day Medallion.

Jan stepped down as musical director in June 2010, she has remained involved with the Chorale. Music lovers hold her in deep affection and love and will continue to extend to her their profound gratitude for years to come.