Noise at a working gold mine is normally pretty predictable — rumbling trucks, crunching rock, the occasional thunderous explosion.
But the arrival of more than 50 singers at Kalgoorlie-Boulder’s famous Super Pit in Western Australia resulted in a different aural backdrop taking hold over the weekend.
In town for the biennial Desert Heart music festival, choirs from Perth, Fremantle, Merredin and other regional towns turned the enormous mine into their personal stage.
While safety regulations prevented them going right to the bottom of the pit, a disused lookout known as Harvey’s Hut proved the ideal position to serenade the mine.
Singers wanted to put city on the map
The plan was hatched late last year by Rosemary Hillier, president of Kalgoorlie-Boulder’s Two-Up, Two-Down choir.
— ABC Goldfields (@ABCGoldfieldsWA) August 21, 2017
“As I’ve been travelling around, I’ve found out most people didn’t know where Kalgoorlie was, or what we do here,” Ms Hillier said.
“So [Super Pit operator] KCGM is probably the biggest thing we’ve got to offer.”
Saturday’s set-list included some eclectic touchstones including Climb Every Mountain from The Sound of Music, Wouldn’t it be Loverly? from My Fair Lady and The Turtles’ 1967 hit Happy Together.
The group opted to finish on a more mining-related note, belting out Working Man by Canadian singer Rita MacNeil.
World record attempt falls by the wayside
Working with the mine and other choirs, Ms Hillier’s original plan was to attempt a world record — either the largest choir, or the biggest number of songs performed in a mine.
Unfortunately, the difficulty in replicating the feat saw them ruled out on a technicality by the Guinness World Record authorities.
But the decision did not bother the singers.
“Smacked down, we were,” Ms Hillier said.
“But it didn’t matter how many songs we sang or how many singers we had, it would have been a record anyway.”
City choirs relish unique backdrop
One of many singers making the 600km trip to Kalgoorlie-Boulder, Fremantle’s Matthew Clements said he relished the unique backdrop.
“It’s awesome. The chance to get down into the Super Pit is really rare, the opportunity of a lifetime,” Mr Clements said.
“I’m not sure if they’ve had anyone sing down here before.”
A singer in Fremantle’s “all-bloke” Voicemale choir, the pit-side performance was Mr Clements’s second music-related visit to Kalgoorlie-Boulder.
“We came to the inaugural festival two years ago, and loved it so much we were first lined up to come back again,” he said.
“There are about 15 of us; 14 got here and the other guy got stuck in Merredin.
“But I think 14 out of 15 is pretty good.”