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MULDOON FINALE ENDS PARADE’S CHORAL CONNECTION

 

Patrick Muldoon is an Old Paradian. He completed his Year 9 schooling level at Parade Preparatory College in 1969 and his sons Sean (1994) and twins Brendan and Adrian (1999) are former students of the Bundoora Campus.

With his final performance for the Cathedral Choir at St Patrick’s last Christmas Eve, Patrick brought finality to a glorious era in Parade history. For he was the College’s sole surviving choral member - more than three quarters of a century after the stranded Vienna Mozart boys, taken in by Parade at the outbreak of the Second World War, first sang for Dr Mannix.

Patrick was to have delivered his farewell address prior to his last hurrah, but circumstances prevented him from doing so. As such, he forwarded a printed version of the address with an accompanying Christmas card to the Archbishop of Melbourne Denis Hart, the Dean Fr John Salvano, the Cathedral’s Director of Music Dr Paul Taylor and the Choir Director Dr Daryl Barclay.

Patrick’s address is as follows;

Friday night’s Carol Festival, the following Supper and Presentation, brought to a near-close a wonderful chapter of my life; Christmas Eve Mass being my final appearance with the choir.

I have many people to thank for this chance…this fantastic opportunity that has been my participation in the St Patrick’s Cathedral Choir. However, none of it could ever have happened, unless the following series of events had taken place.

To the unknown Grade 2 nun at St Mary’s School, Thornbury, who encouraged my step mother Lillian to take me for the Choir Auditions in 1960 after hearing me sing at a school Mass, I’d like to say thank you.

And to the Cathedral, for allowing me to be part of the St Patrick’s Cathedral Choir, from 1961 through to 1973, (initially), again I say many thanks. At the same time as they provided me with the musical opportunity they also provided me with an Academic opportunity, so again I say thank you.

With my family’s circumstances, coming from a working class family from the northern suburbs, I would never have had the possibility of attending Christian Brothers Schools such as St Patrick’s, Fitzroy or Parade College, East Melbourne and Alphington. Nor would I have received the education that I did, without this great chance offered to me by the Cathedral.

The Choir introduced me to a wonderful world of opportunities that I otherwise would not have had a chance to embrace. Dr Percy Jones encouraged me throughout his time with the Choir to do the best I possibly could in each and every performance with the choir, and when other musical opportunities came up, he continued to encourage me to try out for them. From a variety of Eisteddfods through to School Choirs and beyond, I immersed myself in them all.

Dr Jones supported and encouraged my involvement with The Victorian Junior Symphony Orchestra, for whom I played 2nd violin. He also assisted me in finding a singing teacher in Brian Hansford and this strong musical training motivated me to continue my keen interest in music, taking lessons at Melbourne University under Brian’s tutoring throughout my later teenage and early adult years.

My music involvement expanded, and led to me joining The Young Australians, a group of 28 singers that represented Australia at Expo 70 in Japan, under the direction of Johnny Hawker and Athol Guy. I was privileged to appear with The Young Australians at a Royal Command Performance at The Exhibition Buildings in 1970, where, along with many other musicians (prior to our departure for Japan) we performed for Queen Elizabeth, her husband, Prince Phillip and her children, Prince Charles and Princess Anne. Not many 17 year-olds could claim the privilege of that sort of opportunity.

Over the years I have met and worked with a variety of fantastic musicians, not only in the classical music arena but also in the popular idiom as well, and can truly say that each and every one of them has helped in shaping my musical career and my love of music. I have sung on various recordings, in my own right or as backing vocalist for others; appeared in the film “Road to the West” featuring The Young Australians, when they toured to Perth, WA, and was even part of an ensemble that provided music on the Billy Connolly film, “The Man Who Sued God”, to name but a few. There have also been TV appearances, (too many to mention here) where as an individual artist or as part of an ensemble, I have actively pursued my musical interests.

Another highlight of my Cathedral Choir career was being requested to return as a member of the Cathedral Choir that sang at the MCG when Pope John Paul II celebrated mass on his visit to Australia on 1976.

In 1971 I auditioned for and was accepted as a member of the chorus for the stage production of Charlie Girl, appearing at Her Majesty’s Theatre in Melbourne for seven months and St James Theatre in Auckland, New Zealand for a little over five months. Working with Johnny Farnham (as he was then), Dame Anna Neagle and Derek Nimmo, this continued to strengthen my passion and great love for music. On my return to Melbourne, I returned to the printing industry, completing the printing apprenticeship started in 1969, as it can be difficult to support a family on just a musician’s wage. A “second string” to your bow is always valuable.

It was at this stage that I was extremely fortunate to meet my wonderful wife, Margaret, on my return from New Zealand. Margaret encouraged me to keep up my musical interests, even when the family came along. Apart from being part of a few bands, after Margaret and I married, I went on to become the Choir Director and Cantor at St Damian’s Bundoora. For over 25 years I worked with the various Parish Priests (including Rev Fr Jerry Briglia, another ex-Choir member and Rev Fr Patrick Creed) providing music for the Liturgy there. Not quite a hiatus!

When Fr Paul Gurry came to St Damian’s (and St Damian’s music direction changed), I decided to move on and, with some encouragement from John Caddy, I contacted Dr Geoffrey Cox, who invited me to come back and re-join the Cathedral Choir in 1998. Firstly, under Geoffrey’s direction, then Dion Henman’s and now under Daryl Barclay’s direction, I have experienced such immense enjoyment, Sunday after Sunday, and have been truly honoured to sing in this most wonderful building.

Like John Caddy, I have sung for all Archbishops apart from the first two (hey, I know I’m old, but I’m not that old) – starting with Dr Daniel Mannix in 1961, through to Archbishop Hart, and cannot thank each and all of them enough for the many opportunities with which they have provided me, over the last 55 years.

And it all grew from that initial opportunity all those years ago… that amazing opportunity to audition for this Choir.

Christmas Eve makes me the final Old Paradian to leave the Choir. This is an honour that I will truly cherish, as Parade College’s initial involvement with the Choir dates back to its inception when the Mozart Viennese Choir was stranded in Australia in 1939.

I leave the Choir with the full knowledge that it will continue to grow, to excel and to be one of the most Stand-Out Choirs in the world. I wish you all success and hope your enjoyment increases, performance by performance.

Over my Career I have managed to perform for Popes, Cardinals, Archbishops, Bishops as well as Royalty and all in between and have thoroughly enjoyed it all, regardless of the music genre.

In all honestly, Your Grace, I want to thank the family parish that is St Patrick’s Cathedral, for the immense input the Cathedral has made on my life. I couldn’t envisage my life’s achievements being made without the benefits that were offered to me …and for this I will be for ever humbly grateful.