Wednesday, January 03, 2007

My sojourn in Victoria

• Melbourne was - as always - hospitable and funky in the two weeks I recently spent there. I caught up with various old chums in the a cappella/roots music/choral worlds including Roger King and Therese Virtue from the Boite, Stephen Taberner and Tracey Miller; plus I got to hear several choirs, always an educational experience.
The Sweet Mona's performed brilliantly at their 10th Anniversary show, and I was impressed by the extent of their presence in the Ballarat community, encouraging singing, teaching singing, and organising their young childrens' choir the Mini-Monas. Their choral outreach includes getting me there to work with the choir and with 120 members of the community who came to a 2-hour workshop and then sang with me on the night. Thanks to Dani, Anna, Stella, Barry, Zach and Geoff and all of the SMs for looking after me so well, it was an honour.
Hurtling from Ballarat to Melbourne, I hit the South of the River Community Choir's CD launch just in time to be asked to join them on One Morning Soon, a treat for me though I suspect the lack of any kind of rehearsal mitigated against it being an overwhelming experience for anyone else. Their performance was great, good sound and energy, and I was honoured to be part of the program - thanks Annemarie and Debi for your generosity and good taste. Photos of the night are at:
After a series of workshops in Melbourne and Queenscliff, I finished my stint in Victoria singing some solos with the Melbourne Singers of Gospel in the Spiegeltent in Melbourne, and loved that - Phil Heuzenroeder and his 80+ voices are a warm and uplifting mob and sounded pretty thrilling. (A pleasure to hear Diana Wolfenden and her girls in the Gospel Belles at the same gig.) Thanks to Phil, Cora, Jelena, Sheira, Will and all.
I ran (notionally) two a cappella arranging workshops under the auspices of Community Music Victoria (a great organisation). I didn’t get as deeply into this as I’d hoped – partly because of time restraints, partly because I didn’t understand where the participants were at until too late. I gave them homework at the first session, and was amazed when we met the second night at the high level of skill and ideas they came back with. I outlined a lot of techniques, starting points and gospel devices, we sang some stuff and discussed a lot of ideas - and in having to articulate what it is I do in the arranging realm I got a lot out of it, and I hope the participants all got something useful. Thanks to Nerida, Christoph and Nimity for providing me with this opportunity.

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