Alan Melrose: [Dogs playing] I might have to take the dogs out of the room. Just excuse me for a moment.
Alex Siegers: Collegium Musicum Choir bass and UNSW Legal Counsel Alan Melrose and I have a lot in common. We both work at UNSW, we both sing in choirs at St James’ King St, and we both love our badly behaved dogs.
When did you start singing in choirs?
AM: I actually joined the choir back in my student days when the choir was only one or two years old, I think, at that stage. And, so, I sang there as an undergraduate then went out to work in the legal profession, came back to the UNSW a few years later where I now work in the legal office.
AM: Yeah, so, when I came back to work at the university I re-joined the choir after a break of many years and found that it was just as good as it always had been and it’s something that I look forward to each week with the rehearsals and of course the performances through the year.
AM: I’ve made many good friends through the Collegium Musicum Choir and so I look forward to seeing everyone each week too.
What does being a Legal Counsel involve?
AM: Yeah, with the Cancer Council, any research that involves humans or animals needs to be given ethics approval before it can be undertaken. So, it’s just a small way of giving back, I think, to one of the organisations we partner with quite a bit on research.
Why is it important to have choirs on campus at UNSW?
AM: People who attend our rehearsals led by Sonia, we rehearse, before the pandemic, we rehearsed every Wednesday night for three hours, so it was a big block of rehearsal. And, so people would be attending, students, staff would be getting there during the middle of the work week and they’d all be attesting to just how valuable that is just to have that opportunity to clear one’s mind of the ordinary urgencies and priorities of life and to have that time to immerse oneself in music and to derive the pleasure from that and the companionship from that. It’s like any team sport as well – choir music is very much a group activity to say the obvious.
AM: And I think that during the last six months, in particular, I think people have had the time to think about what’s important in life again with more focus. And the chat you see and the articles you see just affirm the crucial importance of such activity to us.
AM: Yes, so, the choir to me is just a crucial part of that and all the other activities that the MPU oversees at the university.