27 June 2015

Folk to Classical - A long journey!


Next Saturday night the Folk Festival will present the concert 'Folk to Classical'.  The pictures below are from yesterday's rehearsal where the Newport Strings (16 piece string orchestra) was joined by the Newport Bush Orchestra (21 piece bush orchestra) to collaborate on the first of the Bush Suites, 'The Waltzes'.  The Bush Orchestra have been playing together for almost 10 years (they celebrate their 10th anniversary in February next year) and their repertoire focuses on the Australian Bush Fiddle Tunes that were popular during the Colonial Period.  The tunes, and the groups history is available at this site.
Last year, with the assistance of a Hobsons Bay Community Grant, the Folk Club commissioned local composer Silas Palmer to arrange these tunes, and 8 other tunes, for the Bush Orchestra to play with the Newport Strings.  Two of these tunes, the waltzes  'Watching the Cattle' and 'Sweeping the Snows' will be performed at the concert.  The Bush Orchestra have been rehearsing the tunes all year, and so it was very exciting for almost 40 musicians to come together and see what the arrangement sounded like. In a word - fantastic and exhilarating!  Another rehearsal - full dress rehearsal - on Thursday will refine the arrangement and fine tune the staging (40 people is a big group) and then ready for the premier performance.  Come along and have a listen - and if you do .......

You will be able to enjoy a concert that has been at least 12 years in the making.  In 2002 or 2003 a string quartet played in the Substation (I was 2nd Violin) to provide entertainment for the volunteers who were cleaning up the building.  At that stage the was not a singly window in place (every single one had been smashed), the roof was leaking, there was no floor (where the musicians are standing) and it was a real mess.  After we had played for an hour or so we enjoyed sausages, cake and cups of tea and the talk got around to the future of the Substation and some people began imagining a classical concert with a grand piano, an orchestra and some superb singers who will take people's alternately take the audience's breath away and then move them to tears.
In the rubble of the building this seemed like a fantasy of dreamers but the two men who started off the restoration project, Darren Williams and Nigel Edwards, were absolutely confident that it would all come to pass.  And so next Saturday you will be able to witness and enjoy this moment being brought to life - James Russo on the grand piano (Chopin, Mozart), the Newport Strings (Brittten, Sibelius), singers Hayley Edwards (Nigel's daughter) Jodie O'Regan and Daniel Felton, the Newport Bush Orchestra and you (singing along with 'I've Got it on my List).  
Get your tickets before the show is sold out - this is one important show: for music lovers, for lovers of history in the making, and for those who want to be part of the emerging musical culture in Newport.  See you there.  Michael Stewart (2nd desk, 2nd Violins, Newport Strings)



1 comment :

Sam Walton said...

A great article indeed and a very detailed, realistic and superb analysis. Very nice write up. I appreciate you for sharing this..
Australian colonial music

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