James Rigby Is a full time musician, based in Castlemaine, highly respected in the community and sought-after across the country for his warm inviting leadership style, and great choir arrangements.
He has a knack for finding or writing songs that capture the spirit of a place and believes in the power of song to communicate and reflect issues of our time. These are taught to permanent and ephemeral singing groups in his region and also at festivals, conferences and workshops around Australia. This often means collaborating with other legendary musicians and he has worked with Archie Roach, Gurrumul, Yirrmal, Frank Yamma, Kutcha Edwards, Lamine Sonko and Shane Howard, often teaching lyrics in indigenous languages with the permission and blessing of the songs owners.
He’s also a recording engineer and multi-instrumentalist and performs in a number of bands in a variety of styles.
He currently leads several choirs in Central Victoria with a special interest in singers with special and diverse needs. 2 of these choirs actively recruit members of the community with disability or mental illness along with their carers and staff that work with them.
He also works in schools teaching singing and instrumental music with a focus on inclusivity and fun. In the last 5 years he has worked in more than 50 schools across regional Victoria and NSW.
He was the co-artistic director of Gurrong, the 2014 Boite Millennium Chorus. This is a collection of songs and stories, chosen in collaboration with Shane Howard, Archie Roach, Lamine Sonko and others, exploring the arrival and evolution of culture as it has arrived in Victoria in boats over the centuries. This was first performed by 600 students in Melbourne and Bairnsdale then presented by 400 adults and band in the Hamer Hall in Melbourne. The show was restaged during the 2015 Castlemaine State Festival to great acclaim.
Some examples of James’ work