A Cappella West is a Perth based, 70+ female vocal harmony chorus directed by Joanne Oosterhoff.
A Cappella West Chorus, its director and teams are passionate about the art form, teaching singing and the barbershop style as well as supporting the community and nurturing members, all with an injection of fun. The success of the chorus is ultimately based on the commitment and passion of its leaders and members.
ACW was founded in 2008 as a brand new chorus with practically no experience in barbershop singing. We are affiliated with Sweet Adelines International, and even from our chartering process we were setting records! We had to send back our first Charter document as they hadn’t accounted for our 58 founding members – there simply wasn’t enough room on the page for their names – so they had to remake it and reduce the font size to fit us all in! The incredible atmosphere and welcoming environment at ACW is what drew all these amazing women together, and is directly attributable to our founding director, Lindsey Dyer and the people she brought together as a team to make the chorus happen. Joanne Oosterhoff volunteered to help with the first 6 weeks and found she was hooked! Shortly after our charter in September 2008, Lindsey made Jo her Co-Director and an incredible and irreplaceable partnership was born.
Within 2 years of our first night, we participated in our first National competition (2010), coming 4th place overall. We achieved 6th place in Canberra in 2012 in a tough contest, and were excited to be placed 2nd and achieve the Most Improved Chorus award in Perth in 2013. Only 2 years later, just 7 years after forming, we competed in Hobart and won the 2015 Australian Championship with a score of 626, qualifying our co-directors for Master Directorship (achieved when scoring over 600/800 in contest). This win meant that the chorus flew to Las Vegas, Nevada in 2016 to represent Australia on the International stage at the SAI World Championships. In 2018, we repeated the feat and won another gold medal, becoming Regional Champions for a 2nd time with our highest score to date of 632. This took us to the International Championships in October 2019 in New Orleans, Louisiana.
Sadly, shortly after our return from the USA, we were devastated to lose our founding director and friend, Lindsey Dyer after a 16 month battle with metastatic breast cancer. We now hold a special event on the closest rehearsal night to the 12 February – the first night that our founding members met Lindsey and each other. Lindsey Dyer Day is a celebration of her wonderful spirit – joyful, irreverent, generous and compassionate – and recognises that she is the thread that ties us all together even still. For without her, there would have been no ACW. We will remember you always, Lindsey.
2020 saw the chorus face the difficulties of rehearsals over Zoom, where no-one can hear you…. scream? With virtual projects like our Christmas in July concert and lots of new song learned by ourselves at home, it was wonderful to be allowed to sing together again in October, on World Singing Day. We are so lucky to live in Western Australia and have this opportunity, so we took to the outdoors and gave a concert under the gum trees!
In 2021 we took part in the Singwest A Cappella Fiesta – a contest (judged by the Barbershop Harmony Society) and showcase of all our Western Australian choruses and quartets. With a lead time of only 8 weeks, we prepared our music, got into character and wowed the judges to win Gold! We followed this up with a win in the Open Category of the Fremantle Eisteddfod and achieving the overall highest scoring chorus at the BHA National competition via video. We also performed at the Guildford and Dunsborough Songfests well aware of just how lucky we are to live in Western Australia.