One away from ABBA

One away from ABBA

Ingmarie Halling and Andy Le Roy smile for a friendly selfie.
Ingmarie Halling (Curator, ABBA The Museum) and Andy Le Roy (That Entertainment Podcast, Welcome Change Media)

Anyone who knows me knows how much I love ABBA.

All the feels came bubbling joyfully to the surface when they released Voyage in 2021, the first listening of which I savoured and blogged for posterity.

Imagine the rush of excitement when I saw the official ABBA logo appear in this year’s Adelaide Fringe guide. This had to be something official, and I couldn’t not see it. Then I though… I wonder if I “had the audacity” to approach the organisers for an interview, what would come of it. I’ve been chatting to artists for this year’s Fringe Festival for That Entertainment Podcast, so maybe I could speak to someone about ABBA.

The Equality Project are presenting the choir, as it turned out, and all proceeds from the choir’s Debut Australian performances are being donated to the charity, which is a national LGBTIQA+ charity that brings together LGBTIQA+ people and our allies to promote a better, more just and fairer society for all Australians.

Now imagine when my humble request to talk to someone about the event was met with an offer to chat to none other than Ingmarie Halling, curator of ABBA The Museum, as well as members of ABBA The Museum/Choir. Chat to someone directly connected to the band? At break-neck speed I politely accepted and was soon in touch with them. Amazing. This was going to be a Happy New Year, indeed!

Did I use too many puns? Did I come across as too gushy? My regular fears came to the surface as this amazing opportunity stared me in the eyes, and as I set my auto-reply on new year’s eve, I was content that in the next couple of weeks I’d be having a chat for my little podcast.

Now, I don’t want to be one of those people who blame technology, but when February came and the conversation had ground to a halt, I figured “oh well, they probably have bigger and better people to chat to. It was a fun idea while it lasted.”

But they were so friendly and quick to reply when we first made contact. It started to bug me, so I looked through my inbox and there was an email from Ingmarie saying she was happy to have a chat and to organise a time with the marketing team so we could find a time that suited everyone whether in Stockholm or Adelaide. There were messages from the choir, brainstorming how we could get as many as possible in the conversation on the remote recording platform. They were with me 100% of the way, but I’d missed the boat because I hadn’t seen the replies, even though auto reply had done its job.

Enter sad face, grumpy mood and harsh inner critic: “see? You ARE useless! This is why you never get very far. You had one big chance and you blew it” etc etc etc.

Man, I hate my inner critic. I was told not to use the H word when I was a kid because it’s so strong. Dislike is preferable. But I can honestly say I hate my inner critic and the opportunities it has dutifully slipped from beneath me like a magician ripping a tablecloth away from a perfectly set table.

And I caught it in action.

Then my cheerleader kicked in: “look, this is really disappointing, but maybe if you send them an email, there might still be an opportunity.”

Sigh. OK.

I wrote an email to the group, apologising, and asking if there was an opportunity to have a chat amongst their busy schedule.

Within a couple of hours, Ingmarie replied. So efficient. Yes. All was good. Chat to Jason, who is familiar with their media schedule. She copied him in and he also replied. They were on a plane to Adelaide… call him after 4:30 and they’d make it happen.


My spirits lifted from self-loathing critic to excited, enthusiastic and incredibly grateful and relieved… all the feels on the opposite end of the scale!

I was expecting maybe five minutes with Ingmarie and a glimpse of the choir in action, but what I ended up with was a wonderful long chat with the curator of ABBA The Museum and a mini concert experience of ABBA The Museum/Choir as they rehearsed with a technical run. I could have stayed longer, they were all so welcoming, but I really wanted to leave some of the set list as a surprise for the night. I’d bought my tickets way back when I saw that logo flash before my eyes in the Adelaide Fringe guide.

Here’s the podcast episode I made from our conversation with some audio footage of the choir, used with permission (just click on the image – I’m getting really fancy with my blogging skills now!)

Here’s a photo of Ingmarie holding the gold cape, one of the costumes that has come back to Australia with her for the first time since 1977. I just had to give that cape a little “boop” with my right index finger, but I’m not going to fan-shame myself.

Ingmarie holds up the gold cape, a costume from ABBA's 1977 Australian tour returning to Adelaide for the first time.
Ingmarie holding the gold cape.

I’ll never not be a fan of ABBA. They’ve been a huge part of my life from my earliest music-consumption memories. I’ve got vague recollections of Tropical Loveland being featured in a Do The Right Thing campaign in about 1976, so that puts me at about four years old.

Their 1977 Australian tour? I sooooo wanted to be there, but Mum wouldn’t let (5-year-old) me go. But every new record of theirs I got was played on repeat ad nauseum, the same way I’d relentlessly played ‘Dancing Queen/That’s Me’ when I got it as a gift for my fifth birthday.

They’re all nice memories, and maybe when I get to Stockholm to visit the museum, I’ll be lucky enough to be standing next to the Ring Ring phone when it sounds and I’ll get to chat to one of the band members.

And do you know what else? After the gift of her time, Ingmarie signed my ABBA Treasures book and gave me a boxed set of ABBA The Postcards.


ABBA The Postcards and an autograph in my ABBA Treasures book.

I’m still buzzing 🙂

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