Paola has been the musical director of La La La since July 2004, Paola Bastreri-Grey originally trained as a clarinettist, gaining her B.Mus. and Dip.Ed. from the University of Melbourne. Paola has broad musical experience including orchestral and band conducting, chamber music, orchestral performance and instrumental and classroom teaching.
Since taking up singing, Paola has successfully completed a Dip.Mus. at the Melba Conservatorium of Music and gained her A.Mus.A. in singing from the A.M.E.B. In addition to her work with La La La, she continues to teach clarinet, conducting and singing; directs the a cappella vocal group, Colla Voce; and is Principal Artist and Choral Scholar in the choir of St John’s Anglican Church, Toorak.
Combining her interest in languages and music, Paola lectured for four years in Italian Language and Diction to singers at Melbourne University and the Melba Conservatorium. She has run clinics in Foreign Language Vocal Coaching through Melbourne Youth Music and freelances as a language coach.
In 2023, Stuart will be entering his 20th year as the president of La La La. Representing our tenor section, Stuart's enthusiasm is infectious and his Dad jokes inevitable.
"I started with La La La at the end of 2002. At Easter 2004, the then manager of the choir left to go back and live in France, I asked someone who would take over and was told that I would. Not long after our musical director left us, I found Paola who has been with us ever since. Although composed pieces like Salve Regina and “Calme des Nuits” give me much more satisfaction musically, I love the weird stories you get from the folk tradition and the energy you get from the drinking songs!"
I’m now the only member of La La La who joined at the beginning, in 1998. Our founder, Catrine Berlatier, wanted to pass on some of the songs she enjoyed learning as a child in France. Our earliest members all formed part of an informal group, practising visual art in an old Preston building (since demolished). We learned by ear, and if there was harmony we had to invent it.
Since the choir’s early beginnings our musical ambition and ability has increased substantially, and although we are still a community choir which does not audition, we can now tackle a much more ambitious repertoire under Paola’s direction.
I joined LaLaLa in 2011. I was interested in taking up choir singing again after a long time. I started looking online and I was so excited not only to find a choir but a French one. I had studied French at the Sorbonne and lived in France as a student. I thoroughly enjoy singing in LaLaLa - great people, interesting and varied repertoire and a great director.
My introduction to La La La was in July 2017 when I attended the annual concert recognising Bastille day. Having retired and then devoted 2 years to helping with my baby grandchildren I was ready for some personal time. Having sung in many choirs and loved French at school, the advertisement for the concert was very appealing. The first gig I sang with the choir was just 3 months later and it was such a buzz being back in a choral family - and we are like a family. Three years later I became the Treasurer and here I am today with all those wonderful gigs behind me and many more to come.
I joined the bass section of La La La on the invitation of a friend and fellow choir member early 2020, just prior to the Covid epidemic. Though rehearsals were long interrupted, Paola the director conducted in depth lessons online and the choir received a wonderful musical and linguistic education. I have always loved singing, and long ago briefly joined another choir, but without any training. The opportunity now to sing again with this chorale group is enjoyable and rewarding.
After the Covid pandemic, I wanted to find a creative outlet that was local. So in 2022 I found La La La and was immediately embraced by the members. It has been the perfect combination of music education, language learning and chorale performance experience. As the resident Zillenial, I have embarked on helping the choir build up their social media and online presence
Stuart Wells - President
Anna French - Vice President
Gale Watt - Secretary
Diane Cheong - Treasurer
Chloe Paul & Peter Annear - General Members
Paola Bastreri-Grey - Musical Director