Kalinda Australia Day Choir

Students, parents and teachers from Kalinda School were left awe-struck after their Australia Day experience.

The brand new choir at Kalinda School sang on the HMAS Canberra as part of Salute to Australia on Australia Day.

Principal Angela Sampson was left amazed at the experience with Zac Aloniv, Patricia Cooper, Waylan Lucas, Tyrese Koehler and Victoria Hughes. 

“The kids had an absolute Blast,” Mrs Sampson said.

“The singing was beautiful, they sang like angels.”

The school had a long eight hour drive to Sydney before taking part in a three hour rehearsal, and then performed the next day.

One highlight for the group was having the chance to meet Governor of New South Wales His Excellency General The Honourable David Hurley AC DSC (retired).

Zac Aloniv was lucky enough to be chosen to receive the first ball bowled by the Governor in a friendly game of cricket, hitting the ball so well that it flew over the crowd’s heads and down into the harbour.

They sang Bapa, as a tribute to world-renowned Australian Aboriginal singer, who passed away earlier this year.

The choir also performed the Aussie classic I Am Australian before leading the crowds in a rendition of the National Anthem.

For Mrs Sampson, to see her special needs students wearing the same outfit, standing in among other students from around the state joining in song was extremely moving.

“Our school has three main values: Respectful, Responsible and Inclusive, and this was the pinnacle of being inclusive,” Mrs Sampson said.

“Knowing that we were able to give these kids an opportunity they hadn't had before, and seeing them in a choir with other students without special needs, and the way it really worked together so beautifully.”

Darryl Koehler, grandfather of Tyrese Koehler went along for the trip, and said for him seeing the kids faces light up as they saw the ship was like nothing else.

“For me it was once in a lifetime experience, it was absolutely awesome,” Mr Koehler said.

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“It was amazing to be on the ship, the govener shook my hand, it was unreal.”

His grandson Tyrese Koehler said he will remember the experience for ever. 

“We played, we went on the ship and did a lot of singing,” Tyrese said.

“I had fun, the best part was singing, because I love singing, and I loved being on the big ship.”

He said it was also very special to see the helicopters and planes flying overhear, followed by a nice lunch.

“It was great to have pop there, and taking lots of photos, I would love to do it again one day.”

And Mrs Sampson said planning has already begun for another year, with expressions of interest already made.

“We hope that this opportunity will arise for us again in 2019,” Mrs Sampson said.

“A massive thank you to everyone who accompanied the children. Without your support this incredible opportunity would not have been possible.”