Forest scene with cataracts
Calendar, Choral, July 19, Music, Performing arts

Music: Swoons

28 July @ Christ Church Claremont ·
Presented by Perth Symphonic Chorus ·

Divine choral music to take your breath away and leave you wanting more! Our program includes the flirtatious Liebeslieder Waltzes of Brahms, intoxicating Debussy choral songs full of beauty and charm, the best of Duke Ellington and an evocative new work “Uluru” by Perth’s own Rod Christian. This is a light-hearted offering designed to delight both performers and audience alike.

The concert is at 2:30pm on Sunday 28th July at Christ Church, cnr Queenslea Dr & Stirling Hwy, Claremont. Enquiries to Liz on 9245 2975 or Helen on 9246 2423.
Tickets $10-$39 at www.trybooking.com/BCXCK

More info:
www.perthsymphonicchorus.com.au/

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Book resting on spine with pages open
Calendar, Choral, May 19, Music, Performing arts

Music: Once Upon a Time

18 May @ Christ Church, Claremont ·
Presented by Voyces ·

For their first concert of 2019, Voyces present Once Upon a Time, a celebration of music inspired by narrative. Including works by Paul Stanhope, Ēriks Ešenvalds and Luke Byrne, the choir will dive into a substantial but very beautiful and rewarding program. The concert will feature the winning piece from the 2019 Voyces Aspire Choral Composition Competition. This is the first time the competition has been run since 2014, and the choir is thrilled that it has been able to be restarted this year with an additional cash prize.

It’s also not too late to subscribe to Voyces’ entire 2019 season! Not only will you get the best seats in the house, you will also receive a number of great subscriber-only benefits.

Voyces is a West Australian arts organisation whose focus is on the performance, production and promotion  of contemporary choral repertoire, with Musical Director Dr. Robert Braham leading the ensemble through diverse and challenging choral music. Voyces was started in 2011 from a passion for creating and sharing the highest quality choral music in a vibrant and engaging setting that connects audiences and performers.

We would like to thank Trinity College and Happs Wines for their ongoing support.

More info
W: www.voyces.com.au/concerts/upcoming-concerts/
E:  contact@voyces.com.au

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Man standing on spiral staircase, looking upwards
April 19, Calendar, Choral, Classical music, Music, Performing arts

Music: Bach’s St Matthew Passion

16 April @ Perth Concert Hall ·
Presented by St George’s Concert Series and the West Australian Symphony Orchestra ·

The greatest story ever told is retold by one of the world’s greatest composers in Bach’s  St Matthew Passion, conducted by Joseph Nolan. The St George’s Concert Series sell-out performance five years ago was described by the West Australian as “Passion matched with perfection”. Now, thanks to partnership with the West Australian Symphony Orchestra, more music lovers can experience the Passion this Easter.

More info
W: concert-series.perthcathedral.org/event/bachs-st-matthew-passion/
E:  info@perthcathedral.org

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A choir and conductor
Choral, Fringe World, Music, News, Performing arts

For the love of indie tunes

With over 100 members, Perth indie-pop choir Menagerie has no trouble filling an auditorium with harmonies. But what does it take to muster so many voices into a cohesive whole?

Ahead of the choir’s sixth Fringe World show, Odes to the (In)significant, Seesaw chatted to Menagerie director Sally Banyard, AKA Zookeeper 3.0, to find out.

Sally Banyard. Photo: Ian Crimp Photography.

Seesaw: Tell us about Menagerie choir
Sally Banyard: Menagerie was created by our legendary original Zookeeper Claire Coleman in mid 2013.  Anyone was (and still is) welcome – no auditions and no experience necessary – just a love for singing indie tunes! Our philosophy is more-or-less centred around loving indie songs, being enthusiastic, being supportive of one another… and cake! (We do quite like cake.)

One of the best things about Menagerie is that we write our own arrangements, which means we can basically sing whatever we want to sing, and tailor it to suit the choir.  (It also leads to some very amusing score instructions!)

S: How did you come to be the director of Menagerie?
SB: I joined the choir in mid-2015 as a humble alto, after being super-jealous of my friends who had joined the previous season and completely regretting my decision not to join when they did! After my first season, I started writing arrangements – Silverchair’s “Freak” and Supertramp’s “The Logical Song” from for 2016 Fringe show Sounds Like Teen Spirit were my arranging debuts. In my third season I picked up a little conducting, and then when the time came  for Zookeeper 2.0, Kate Newell, to have baby 2.0, I was chosen by the choir and its “control panel” (committee) to be Zookeeper 3.0!

S: What is involved in being the director of Menagerie?
SB: Quite a lot… but I love it! It’s a couple of roles in one – musical director plus administrator – I run rehearsals, conduct, write and edit arrangements, organise stuff and keep the choir informed about what’s happening, amongst other bits and pieces.

Fortunately (and necessarily) I have a lot of help! Throughout the year I work with our “control panel” to run the choir – this group manages the day-to-day choir operations (like money, membership, media and parties…) and plans our non-Fringe shows. From about July to February of each year I work with an additional “creative panel” who create our Fringe show.

S: What do you like most about directing Menagerie?
SB: Rehearsals are always very fun, and satisfying – everyone is there to sing, learn and have a good time,  and I love working together with the choir to make progress on our songs and sound each week. Gigs are also exciting – having it all come together and seeing the thrill of performing on everyone’s faces! Also, as a musician I feel very lucky to have a job where I have a lot of control over the music!

S: And what’s the biggest challenge?
SB: Balancing Menagerie and life… and sometimes remembering that Menagerie is not life! (Hm, who am I kidding?!)

S: Funniest moment?
SB: When I manage to find the worst way to express myself during rehearsal, for example, “Finish loud with a short man!”

S: What is the theme of your 2019 Fringe show Odes to the (In)significant?
SB: Menagerie Choir’s Odes to the (In)significant celebrates tiny things that have a big impact on our lives. From small decisions made decades ago, to everyday subversions, these little things tend to accumulate and reverberate throughout our lives – often giving us courage, or speaking to who we are. For this show we have collected eight songs and paired them with little stories from within the choir – each exploring this idea in different ways.

S: Can you give us any hints about the set list?
SB: Maybe I should say different things each time I am interviewed and make this a “collect all eight”! Our set list is jam-packed  with indie goodness, including favourites from Ben Folds Five, Regina Spektor and The Whitlams. In terms of the original recordings, there are five songs sung by female vocalists and at least four different nationalities, including 2.5 Australian artists… we’re slightly claiming Ben Folds but I’m not sure how he’d feel about that!

S: What is your favourite part of the playground?
SB: The slide (because we like glissandi).

Menagerie Choir’s Odes to the (In)significant plays at Teatro at the Woodside Pleasure Garden from 11 – 16 February.

Want to join Menagerie? There is a wait list – to add your name, use the website contact form

Pictured top: Sally Banyard conducting Menagerie Choir at Fringe World in 2018. Photo: Anthony Tran.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Lady conducting choir
Calendar, Choral, Fringe World, Music, Performing arts

Music: Instachoir

29 Jan, 4 & 11 Feb @ The Moon ·
Presented by Claire Coleman ·

Calling all choir nerds and wannabe choir nerds! Claire Coleman, founder of Menagerie Choir,  brings her Pop Up Instachoir experience all the way from Berlin to Fringe World. Instachoir renders you, and the rest of the singing audience, the stars of a 3 part harmony pop song extravaganza! Each show features a different pop hit. Come each week to collect the entire set! No musical background? No worries! Experience not required, enthusiasm vital.

Week 1:  29 January: The Bangles “Walk Like An Egyptian”
Week 2:   4 February: The Spice Girls “Stop”
Week 3: 11 February: The Beach Boys “Kokomo”

Each show concludes with a tiny spontaneous performance, so please allow 90 minutes for this show.

More info:
https://www.fringeworld.com.au/whats_on/instachoir-fw2019?venue=623100

Pictured: Claire Coleman conducting, credit: Nancy Ludwig

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Vespers at St Mary's Cathedral
Calendar, Choral, Music, Performing arts, September 19

Music: WASO Chorus Sings: Vespers

22 September @ St Mary’s Cathedral ·
Presented by the West Australian Symphony Orchestra ·

Sergei Rachmaninov had a deep and very personal connection  to the sacred music of his homeland, which he expressed most profoundly in his reflective set of choral vespers. Separated into two parts, the evening Vespers and the morning Matins, this sublime work is drenched in rich harmonies that will resonate in the magnificent acoustics St Mary’s Cathedral.

22 September at 2pm

More info
W: www.waso.com.au/concerts-tickets/whats-on/concert/waso-chorus-sings-vespers
E:  waso@waso.com.au

Pictured: WASO Chorus Sings: Vespers

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Choir of King's College, Cambridge
Calendar, Choral, July 19, Music, Performing arts

Music: Choir of King’s College, Cambridge

20 July @ Perth Concert Hall ·
Presented by Musica Viva Australia ·

The Choir of King’s College Cambridge is arguably the world’s most famous choir and the pre-eminent representative of the British church music tradition. Their distinctively pure tone has been honed over centuries in the vaulted stone arches of the College Chapel. Comprising 16 boys (the youngest aged seven) and 15 male university students, the Choir remains a major force by balancing unmatched history and tradition with continual growth and choral excellence.

The repertoire in this program reflects this breadth by showcasingpieces from the Renaissance to the present day. This performance is especially poignant, marking the Choir’s final tour with Stephen Cleobury, after 37 distinguished years as Director.

More info
W: www.perthconcerthall.com.au/events/event/choir-of-kings-college-cambridge
E:  boxoffice@perthconcerthall.com.au

 

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Calendar, Choral, March 19, Music, Opera, Performing arts

Music: The Opera Gala

30 March @ Albany Entertainment Centre, Albany ·
Presented by Albany Arts Festival Season ·

This Albany Arts Festival highlight sees internationally-acclaimed baritone José Carbó and Scottish-Australian soprano Jenna Robertson perform alongside John Martin, one of Australia’s most loved pianists, and special guests; the voices of the Albany Choral Society conducted by Neville Talbot.

With a program including operatic arias and duets by Puccini, Rossini, Donizetti, Bizet, Massenet and Gershwin through to Australian composers, including world-premieres from Albany composer Sebastian Harris, this will be an unforgettable experience for Great Southern audiences.

More info:
tickets.ptt.wa.gov.au/operagala-ptt-aec

Pictured: José Carbó and Jenna Robertson. Image by Will Perez Ronderos

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WASO Northern Lights
Calendar, Choral, May 19, May 19, Music, Performing arts

Music: WASO Chorus Sings: Northern Lights

19 May @ St Mary’s Cathedral ·
Presented by West Australian Symphony Orchestra ·

Scandinavia has always had a rich heritage and tradition of great choral composers. In this concert the WASO Chorus will perform a magical blend of sonorous chant and tenderness by some of the finest composers from Estonia, Norway and Latvia.

Experience the precision and passion of this timeless choral tradition.

Performance time: 2pm

More info
W: www.waso.com.au/concerts-tickets/whats-on/concert/waso-chorus-sings-northern-lights
E: waso@waso.com.au

Pictured: WASO Chorus Sings: Northern Lights

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Choral, Classical music, Music, News, Performing arts, Reviews

A choral Christmas treat

Review: Perth Symphonic Chorus and Perth Baroque Orchestra, Handel’s Messiah ·
Perth Concert Hall, 22 December ·
Review by Leon Levy ·

For some 30 years Handel’s fame had been based on a large body of operatic works. Thus it is arguable that had not changing fashions pushed the composer in the direction of oratorio – for which his dramatic instincts were well-suited – the world might conceivably have been deprived of the masterpiece that is Messiah. For the work responded to the particular texts, drawn by Charles Jennens from the King James Bible and Book of Common Prayer, in a way that yet another operatic libretto was, surely, unlikely to.

Messiah
Advertisement for the first London performance.

The premiere, a charity occasion held in Dublin in April 1772, was well-received. In order to accommodate the expected crowd, ladies were requested not to wear hoops in their dresses and gentlemen to dispense with their swords (a tradition that was respected by the Perth audience on this occasion, along with the custom of standing during the Hallelujah chorus). The reception given to the first London performance, almost a year later, was, however, less enthusiastic: this was perhaps shaped by the belief that the work’s sacred subject matter was not suited to theatrical performance by secular singers. In any event, the work was described merely as “A New Sacred Oratorio”, shorn of its name “Messiah”. But there was no resisting its power, and from 1750 onwards there were regular London performances, followed elsewhere with increasing frequency.

Fresh from an exceedingly fine Remembrance Day concert, Dr Margaret Pride’s Perth Symphonic Chorus was, on this occasion, accompanied by the Perth Baroque Orchestra under Paul Wright. Taking one’s seat, one noted a band numbering just 25, well below the strength of most modern authentic performances. But towering above them was a group of some 125 choristers, many times the number of singers that the composer would have employed! However, any concerns regarding imbalances between instruments and singers were quickly banished, for Pride deployed her choral forces in a way that conveyed a sense of quiet strength, and throughout the performance the singing felt proportionate to the orchestral sound.

And what a fine sound the hard-working Perth Baroque Orchestra produced, setting the tone in the opening instrumental Symphony for all that was to follow. Similarly, tenor Robert Macfarlane established the standard for his fellow soloists, bringing colour and feeling to his “Comfort Ye” recitative, and even runs and convincing decorations in the following “Every Valley”.

“But who may abide” proved to be a less than successful introduction to bass James Clayton and counter tenor Tobias Cole, whose contrasting voice-types did not sit well together in the shared aria. Each, however, went on to contribute enormously to the evening: the counter tenor rapidly establishing his credentials in his next recitative and aria, and demonstrating well-matched duet-singing with the soprano in “He shall feed his flock”, and again in Part II with a heartfelt “He was despised”.

Clayton, too, went on to great things, revealing wonderful vocal splendour throughout, and using ornamentation, firm line and clear diction to bring life to all of his singing. And in “The trumpet shall sound” his vibrant projection was fully matched by Jenny Coleman’s gleaming and excitingly decorated trumpet accompaniment.

Soprano Janet Todd may have been a late replacement for two successive ailing soloists, but she rose splendidly to the occasion. With a fresh and pure tone, words feelingly articulated and a lovely stage presence, she met the most taxing of challenges.

The choir reflected all of the trademarks of Pride’s training. “Since by man” was just one of many examples of their pedigree, but throughout the evening their contribution brought unalloyed pleasure.

If it may be considered an honour to have brought a year of fine music-making in Perth Concert Hall to a conclusion, this truly fine Messiah was deserving of that distinction.

Pictured top is Perth Symphonic Chorus, conducted by Dr Margaret Pride, performing Handel’s Messiah at Perth Concert Hall (NB this photograph is not of the 2018 performance).

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