Chorister Profile - Phil Dahlenburg
Posted: March 27, 2018
As part of our ongoing Chorister Profile series we have interviewed wonderful VMA member and mentor, Phil Dahlenburg. Phil has been singing with the academy for four years and is a valued member of three VMA ensembles. He shares with us some performance highlights and insights...
Have you always been a singer, or did you start more recently?
I have sung for as long as I can remember! The first performance I can recall was a solo of 'Der Tannenbaum' at a Carols by Starlight concert when I was 6 years old. My first Choir experience was with the Cambrian Junior Choir in Ipswich (not yet conducted by Alison- she is much, much younger than me!), and ever since have sung in School, Church and Community Choirs.
How long have you been singing with the VMA and what do you enjoy most about it?
I have sung with VMA since returning to Brisbane in 2014. What I enjoy the most is the coaching and musical education. I had never previously studied musical theory, but am finding that increased musical skills is really helping my ability to quickly come up to pace with new scores.
Tell us about some of the highlights from your time with the academy?
There have been many highlights, but among the best for me have been a 'Music for the Spirit Moved' performance by Exaudi Australis, and performing major works such as the Mozart Requiem and Benjamin Britten's War Requiem. I also have to mention the community engagements such as the Lord Mayors Seniors' Concerts and Citizenship ceremonies. They have been so much fun for us as well as bringing joy to the attendees.
You are in three ensemble groups! How do they differ from each other and is it challenging to switch between repertoire for all of these?
It's easier to articulate what the ensembles have in common- that is, a commitment to performance excellence and always striving for improvement. The difference in size and composition means needing to be very conscious of balance and to adjust styling to suit the very different repertoire of the groups. Its about 'switching hats' to suit- which can be challenging in concerts where all three perform!
You have taken your Trinity College exams, how do you feel these have benefited your vocal development?
Yes- but only in the last three years, and with none of the stress I remember from doing AMEB flute exams as a teenager! I see them as creating goals to work towards and milestones to measure my vocal development rather than an 'EXAM'. They really stretch me to know a piece well, both technically and in how it is to be interpreted. This year I will be sitting for my ATCL qualification.
What is your favorite musical genre and what do you love to sing the most?
Difficult question! I love sacred choral music and in particular works by J.S.Bach, Handel and Lotti. Having said that I am also enjoying singing "My Girl" and "Crazy Little Thing called Love" with the VMA Male Chorus - 'The Men from Oz'. From a solo perspective I am enjoying English Art Songs and German Lieder at the moment.
What do you do when you’re not singing?
My paid profession is as a Supply Chain Manager, specializing in implementing business systems and automation. I enjoy cycling and motor bike riding and my church Choir (hang on- that's more singing!)
I have a very patient wife and daughter who sometimes tell me its time to play the quiet game.
Thank you for taking the time to talk to us Phil!