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Just the bare bones!

This program will definitely evolve as determined by the experience of the inaugural event. Any change will be designed to make the experience deeper and more powerful.

17th May - ADELAIDE - Pickup TBA

17 - 20 May - Flinders Ranges - 4 Days - We will spend 4 days rehearsing in this beautiful remote landscape of the Flinders Ranges.

21 - 22 May - MARREE - 2 Days - The old Ghan terminated in this Outback town, where the descendents of Afghan Cameleers still live alongside local Aboriginals. We’ll access Lake Eyre from here and perform on the balcony of the famous Marree Hotel.

23 - 24 May - COOBER PEDY - 2 Days - a fascinating place to explore opal mines and the incredible Breakaways before performing in the underground Serbian Church, one of the most unique devotional spaces on earth.

25 May - INDULKANA - 1 Day - We will stay in Marla as an access point for a workshop in the Aboriginal community of Indulkana, workshopping and singing with the local people.

26 - 27 May - ULURU - 2 Days - Sing the sun down over Uluru before spending a day exploring Uluru [Ayers Rock] and Kata Tjuta. [The Olgas]

28 - 31 May - ALICE SPRINGS - 4 Days - Visit the Macdonell Ranges and rehearse with the Hermannsburg Choir. Perform in the Community Precinct with the Hermannsburg Choir.

31 May - Depart ALICE SPRINGS.



Tony Backhouse

Composer • Vocal Arranger • Singer •Author • Choir Director • Workshop Leader

Tony Backhouse, BA, BMus, is one of the leaders in the Australasian a cappella movement. He founded Australia’s foremost a cappella gospel choir Café of the Gate of Salvation in 1986, and directed it for 21 years. He arranged and composed the bulk of their repertoire and still writes music regularly for them. He founded a cappella choir the Honeybees and has directed and sung with reclusive male a cappella trio Heavenly Lights since 1996. In demand for his inspiring teaching style, Tony has run more than 2000 vocal workshops throughout the world for the public, for festivals, schools, universities, churches, organisations and corporate training events. He currently lives in Napier, New Zealand.

Raymond Hawkins - Tour Leader

Raymond Hawkins - aka The Electronic Swagman - has operated ecletic tours all over Australia for decades. He toured with some of Australia greatest bands - Midnight Oil, Cold Chisel and The Angels as tour manager, lighting designer and/or production manager. He has worked with Opera Australia, The Sydney Dance Company and ran the Audio/Visual Department at the Sydney Opera House. 

Raymond created the Burra Gospel & Soul Festivale, operates and designed the BackRoaders tours and ran the Desert Choir program with Tony for almost a decade.

Aboriginal Communities

The famous Hermannburg Choir in the remote Aboriginal Communities of Hermannsburg has agreed to host us for workshops and joint singing sessions.
As such they are considered part of the team, an integral part as they will provide a chance to connect to an ancient civilization.

We will have serious cultural interactions with local Aboriginal people along the way in Quorn, Leigh Creek and Uluru. This journey offers a profound journey into traditional Aboriginal culture thru the prism of singing. 


Over years of leading choirs into beautiful places throughout Australia there have been many wondrous experiences: recitals in sea caves on the wild coast of Tasmania; pop-up gigs in remote pubs, in outback woolsheds and in lonely churches.

One such experience was so sublime that it has never left me, and it resonates still in the design of Singing to the Heart.

At night the desert landscape of Australia mirrors a Shakespearean set, landscape a principal player, stage lighting provided by moon and stars, theatre props of shadowed rocks and spikey grevillias. All the while a sub-plot underpins the scene, the sense that Indigenous people lived and conducted ceremony here for thousands of years.

In a place like this, just six months from my father’s death, I listened to a choir sing around a campfire. In one beautiful piece my loss found its expression, a universal register for those feelings you feared were yours alone. At that moment ...

... sound was stripped to the elemental, attuned to a stark desert that demands sparseness in all things. At that perfect moment, around that fire, private grief morphed into something universal. It spoke to the transcendent power of song.

Choir Gig and Notes

The tour is for people who want to sing, there is no requirement for people to be professional singers. The attitude of the Choir is an immensely supportive one where practiced choristers and novices sing happily side-by-side.

The gigs will be on a donation-at-the-door and support local causes. They will all be street posted and supported with radio and press. 

Accommodation Notes

High quality mix of motels. Limited single supplement will be available. 


Food Notes

Breakfast and lunch supplied daily plus two evening meals at Marree Hotel. All other evening meals at participants’ expense. This gives a change for people to be a little independent and will allow quicker food preparations.


Coach & Luggage Notes

We will most likely be travelling in 2 x Outback coaches so as to be able to access dirt roads such as Lake Eyre and remote communities. We ask that you keep your wardrobe to the practical side of lavish.


What's in and what's out.

The workshop INCLUDES:

• daily workshops with Tony Backhouse 14 days/ 14 nights twin share accommodation [see below for Accommodation Options] 

• Our cultural liaison, Alison, joins us from Coober Pedy.

• 14 nights accommodation.

• all transport in 4WD Coaches.

• all breakfasts and lunches. 

• two evening meals.

• Aboriginal local interactions.

• all side excursions, National Park fees.

• professionally promoted and stage managed performances and concerts.

• surprises you will just have to take my word for. 



• airfares to Adelaide and return from Alice Springs. 

• evening meals except as indicated above.

• alcohol.

Only $6,500 per person.

Non refundable deposit of $1500
secures your position.

Single supplement $2000*

Not Payable until balance due

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