harmony and diversity
pop - soul - blues - jazz - classical - r&b - ancient - carols - ballads - rock
Our members all love singing, mainly "a cappella", meaning without instruments. We aren't purists - we just love to sound as beautifully harmonic as we can, in as many different styles of music as possible ....
Affectionately known as "The Cleffies", The Cleftomaniacs choir was formed in 1992 by a group of enthusiastic amateurs who took a course in a cappella singing with Dale Caldwell at Sydney Community College in Balmain. In early 2002 Dale moved on to continue her solo career and Gary Smith joined us as Musical Director. Gary resigned in 2018 after working with the group for 16 years.
In 2018 we have been excited to welcome Joanna Weinberg as our new Musical Director.
More about Joanna...
Joanna Weinberg was born in London to a family of classical musicians. She spent her young adulthood in South Africa where she played leading roles in several plays, films and tv shows before emigrating to Australia in 1997. She studied drama at the University of Cape Town and has spent three decades creating and performing musical theatre and cabaret as well as film.
A prolific writer, in the last five years alone she has created, recorded and performed in the cabaret shows ‘Pandora’s Bag,’ (Hayes Theatre Cabaret Festival) ‘The Piano Diaries,’ (Melbourne Cabaret Festival) and ‘Baroness Bianka’s Bloodsongs, (Hayes Festival) all of which were critically acclaimed and have travelled widely. Joanna’s work typically features strong and complex female characters- a trait which developed during her acting days when she was bored by the two-dimensional parts available for women. Her musical about IVF - ‘Lifeforce – the Mother of all journeys’, directed by Lisa Freshwater, won the Sydney Fringe best musical in 2013 and the film ‘Goddess’, based on her one woman show ‘Sinksongs,’ directed by Mark Lamprell, proved popular with audiences worldwide and earned her a Critics Circle nomination for best music in a feature film. Joanna directs cabaret shows and theatre shows in Sydney and occasionally takes on unusual singing students. Her most recent musical play ‘The Secret Singer’ showed at the Eternity Playhouse in Sydney and has been picked up for touring in 2020. In 2019 Joanna will premiere a new work satirising the contemporary art scene – ‘Gallery Girl’ starring emerging talent Jodine Wolman.
Joanna directs two community choirs, Choir Rocks in Miller’s point and The Cleftomaniacs in Waterloo.
More about the Cleffies...
The Cleffies have earned their reputation for professional presentations and adventurous projects. We embrace an eclectic repertoire: pieces as diverse as William Byrd's mass for five voices, Beatles songs arranged by The Kings Singers, adaptations from The Idea of North and Purcell’s 3-act opera, Dido and Aeneas. We also relish southern American gospel music, jazz and world music.
The Cleffies are celebrated for our great blend, attention to detail and infectious energy on stage. We are frequently asked to support charitable causes, festivals, weddings, private parties and public celebrations. We also present our own public concert program and share the stage with other choirs.
Here is a snapshot of some of our engagements:
2015 International tour: In July we returned from a well-received tour of New Zealand where we gave four concerts. We appeared with Tony Backhouse and The Napier Gospel Choir; The Kapiti Gospel Choir; The Wanganui Male Choir; and The Stellar Singers
Festivals: Woollahra, Ferragosto - Five Dock, King's Cross, Randwick Choirfest, Sydney A Capella Festival, Seymour Centre... and further afield in Blackheath, Moruya, Port Stephens, and The Festival of Voices in Hobart
More 'official' gigs: Wedding performances, Australia Day at the Rocks, the Art Gallery of NSW, The NSW Housing Industry Association Awards, Industry conventions and Darling Harbour performances
General performances and just for fun: ’A Really Big Show’ in Waterloo; ‘Sing for the Joy of It’ at Marrickville Golf Club; Bondi Golf Club; ‘Terrific Tuesdays at Chatswood Concourse’; Choir Expo in Parramatta; ‘The Cleftomaniacs and the Sydney Vocal Project’ in Concord; ‘A Cappella Northside’; ‘A Capella with a Twist’ in Waterloo; Randwick Proms; ‘Starbucks Love Fest’ at Mrs. Macquarie's chair; ‘A Celebration of Harmony’ in Chatswood; ABC Choir Competition of the Year; Eastside Arts Club; ‘Love and Tragedy in Waterloo’ – Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas; and winter solstice dance party and concerts
For the Festive season: Christmas parties and carols for the Art Gallery and the City of Sydney, Carols by the Sea at Bondi, and our own "Not Quite Christmas" concert at Petersham