Australian National University Choral Society (SCUNA)
Address: GPO Box 2593, CANBERRA CITY ACT 2601
Mascot: Solomon (the Rubber Chicken)
SCUNA was formed in Canberra during 1963, shortly after the establishment of the School of General Studies, the undergraduate arm of the ANU. The founding members numbered eight, including the conductor, Ian Allan, who, at Adelaide IV in 1963, gave the society its (Latin) name: Societas Choralis Universitatis Nationalis Australiensis (or just ANU Choral Society backwards). The small choir was musically ambitious, but in its first five years numbers fluctuated between six and fifty. The biggest difficulty was finding a conductor, with the early direction undertaken by choir members, and then by Graham Kerrison and, later, William Herbert, head of voice at the newly-established Canberra School of Music.
A renaissance occurred in 1968 with the arrival of Chris Burrell as conductor, and for some years Judith Clingan took control of the madrigal group. Attendances remained high, unlike in previous years when numbers fell rapidly after term began. There was also a problem of maintaining membership over the long summer vacation as, unlike universities in the major centres, many of the students attending ANU did not live permanently in the city. In 1970, SCUNA appointed Ayis Ioannides as conductor and established the SCUNA Small Group which usually contributed a bracket at each concert. Ioannides was followed as conductor by Brian Hingerty (Convenor of 1971 Canberra IV), Bryan Dowling, Mark Hyman, Keith Radford, Roger Wellman, Judith Clingan, Brian Hingerty (again), Peter Young, Patricia Shaw, Andrew Robinson and Tobias Foskett. In recent years, SCUNA’s concerts have increased markedly in scale and it is now regularly presenting works such as Mozart’s Requiem, Handel’s Messiah and Schubert’s Mass in E-flat with full orchestra.