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Gospel Acappella : Tony Backhouse : 18 -25 June

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Course: Gospel Acappella Teacher: Tony Backhouse
Content: A cappella singing Dates: June 18 -25
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  • Gospel Acappella Retreat - Tony Backhouse

Gospel Acappella : Tony Backhouse : 18 -25 June 2016

AUD $1,950

Retreat Summary

Content: A cappella singing
Programme: Daily morning workshops of 3 hours with two visits to village choirs
Suitability: All levels from beginners to more experienced singers
Excursions and extras: Visit to waterfall, beach picnic, village visit
Food: Three meals a day; Fijian, Indian and International menu
Itinerary: Arrive Savusavu June 18. Course starts morning June 19, ends evening June 24. Depart Savusavu June 25.
Cost: AUD $1950 twin room
AUD $2300 single room

  • Traveler and Room Upgrade Options

Pay a deposit of AUD $400 per item

Gospel Acappella : Tony Backhouse

A week singing with Tony Backhouse will live in your heart for ever. It is one of pure joy as you plunge into the uplifting world of a cappella gospel singing. You’ll also visit some of the local villages: there is a rich tradition of church choirs in Fiji and you will be able to enjoy their magnificent singing and join in with them.

Each morning starts with a series of warm-up exercises to get the body and the voice relaxed – and the emotions soon follow. The singers laugh and hum and move around, and soon their spirits soar …

“Tony is a weaver of magic. He can sculpt a disparate group of people with mostly average voices into a choir that makes beautiful music. I have done workshops with Tony before but nothing prepared me for the pleasure, sense of achievement and sheer joy of working up a repertoire of songs over 6 days that culminated in a performance for the locals of Savusavu.

We were blessed with a great bunch of people on the course who enjoyed singing and laughing together. Whether travelling through town on a bus or dining in the local restaurant, if someone started us up we would sing with all our might. In the small gaps between songs we would eat, snorkel or lie by the pool.

I loved trying to sing in Fijian with the Yaroi church choir, while struggling to read the unfamiliar musical notation. The Fijians sandwiched us in so close to them that we could “feel” the music through our skin and not just through our ears.

Singing in Paradise surpassed all expectations. One of the phrases still permeating my dreaming and waking is: “I feel love Divine” In the joy of making such a beautiful sound with a bunch of other Aussies and Americans, I have come close to experiencing this.”

Margie Welsford
We’d come together from NZ, Aust and Canada as a disparate group of seventeen with a huge range of life and musical experience. Some had considerable musical knowledge, others little to none, but within no time Tony had us working as a cohesive group. Songs were quickly learned, friendships developed, life stories were swapped and laughter reigned as friendly banter was shared! When we weren’t singing we could take trips to see the local sights, visit the township, participate in group walks or morning yoga sessions and there were opportunities to have luxurious massages or experience the underwater world through snorkelling or diving. How ever we wished to fill our days we could, and the willing and playful staff were always on hand to assist should we need their help. What more could we hope for?
Giselle Storer

Cost and booking

Shared room: AUD $1950
Single room: AUD $2300
Non-painting partners: AUD $1075

Program Includes

  • 7 nights accommodation at Daku Resort in traditional bures with private facilities.
  • Breakfasts, lunches and dinners.
  • Workshop fees.
  • Lectures and excursions as indicated.
  • Airport transfers from Savusavu Airport to Daku Resort by road (approx 10 minutes).

Program Excludes

  • Travel to Savusavu.
  • Comprehensive Travel Insurance.
  • Optional activities not listed on the program.
  • Costs of a personal nature such as laundry, massages, private trips.

Teacher: Tony Backhouse

Tony Backhouse is a singer, composer, vocal arranger, musical director, workshop leader and author, Tony has been running vocal workshops in Australia, New Zealand, Canada, France and the UK since 1987. In his previous pre-a cappella life, he took a B.A. (English) and B.Mus. (Composition) at Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand. He played guitar and sung in many notable bands in New Zealand including Mammal (who recorded one LP with poet Sam Hunt) and the Crocodiles, who won three NZ Recording Industry Awards in 1980). Moving to Australia in 1981, Tony sang and played with Renée Geyer, Joe Walsh, Jenny Morris, the Umbrellas and Jump Back Jack, and arranged and recorded backing vocals for Harry Manx, Dave Dobbyn, Tim Finn, Vince Jones and Kate Ceberano.

Tony Backhouse is one of the leaders in the Sydney a cappella movement. He directed the Café of the Gate of Salvation gospel choir for 21 years and has led male trio the Heavenly Lights since 1996. He works with the passionate and exciting African-American repertoire, focusing on spirituals, gospel songs old and new, and choral and quartet styles. The emphasis is on harmony, collective improvisation and freedom of expression. No music-reading skills are required, and you may tape the sessions.

Daily Programme

The week is structured around daily morning workshops, with afternoons for visits to sing with local choirs, and time for local excursions. We have fantastic coral reefs for snorkelling, beautiful rain forests for hiking and Savusavu town just down the road where you can poke around and get to know the friendly locals. The programme may change a bit depending on what the group wants and on the weather.


Fly to Savusavu.


10.00am – 12.30pm: Introductory session
1.00pm: Poolside lunch.
2.00pm: Coconut demonstration
Afternoon free for swimming, snorkeling, relaxing; option to visit local church to hear choir.
6.30pm: Pre-dinner drinks. Dinner.


9.30am – 12.30pm: Workshop
1.00pm: Lunch
Afternoon: Visit to Savusavu town, visiting the geothermal hot springs, the local market and the shops.
7.00pm: Dinner and informal singing.


9.30am – 12.30pm: Workshop
1.00pm: Lunch
Afternoon: Visit to local village with church choir
7.00pm: Dinner


9.30am – 12.30pm: Workshop
1.30pm – 3.30pm: Picnic lunch and beach outing
7.00pm: Dinner and informal singing.


9.30am – 12.30pm: Workshop
1.00pm: Lunch
3.00pm – 5.00pm: Singing in local village
7.00pm: Dinner and informal singing.


9.30am – 12.30pm: Workshop: Final session
1.00pm: Lunch
Afternoon Free time. Options for private tours, relaxing.
6.00pm – 7.00pm: Dinner Concert and party.


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