2015 marks the 37th year the ESK COMMUNITY CHOIR has been showcasing their talents as their music has resonated with audiences around halls, hallowed walls and open spaces near and far. On Sunday, 15th February, the 'Opening Concert' at Alexandra Hall, Toogoolawah was yet another afternoon of uplifting pleasure, delighting the small band of dedicated supporters old and new who came to enjoy.
While this venue evoked memories of glory days enjoyed by many long standing members of the Choir, for others, along with the next generation of little Choristers, The Semitones, it was an opportunity to walk in the footsteps of past performers, as on this day they all took to the stage for an entré of uplifting sacred songs heralded by The Semitones' stirring delivery of the Anthem.
The much loved I Don't Know How to Love Him from Jesus Christ Superstar will remain so following Patrina McLeod's sublime solo performance and Kathleen Watts and Sue Walker's punchy rhythms and sweet harmonies during their duet Every Time I Feel the Spirit was truly uplifting as was the pure clarity of multi-talented Matthew Lukritz's rendition of the African/American Spiritual, Let Us Break Bread Together.
Evidence of the Choir's versatility continued as the 10 member Choir Ensemble gave an ethereal performance of Trees, the song inspired by the illuminating words of poet Joyce Kilmer, and the tender delivery of the diminutive Katie FitzGerald's debut solo I Praise You Lord was further proof of her gigantic musical future. Always inspiring is Handel's The Lord's Prayer and Roland Cox did it fine justice, leading in solo, supported by the Choir for the stirring crescendo of final words.
Her unquenchable love of music and her infinite talents had Alexis FitzGerald flitting from her role as the eloquent emcee de jour, Choir Director/Conductor to her outstanding performance in piano duet with Choir Accompanist, the incomparable Margaret Philp, as they gave, on duel pianos, a passionate performance of Sanctuary of the Heart together with an interjection of chocolaty choral sounds from the Esk Choir Men. Perhaps following this day, the RSPCA might rethink their advertising following 10 little Semitones' bright and beautiful arrangement of All Things Bright and Beautiful complete with bandages and one very cute, seemingly well-fed wombat called Joshua!
Unbeknownst to an audience, rarely does a Concert run to plan but, as a wise man once said...'when
one door closes,
another one opens', and on this occasion it happened to let in one Ms Emiko Ota, a gifted pianist,
recently relocated with her partner
to the Somerset Region. After 33
years of performing, for the most part in and around her country of birth,
Japan, and in the earlier years, under the tutelage of the highly regarded
classical pianist, Yoko Tohei, Emiko's passion for music has continued to be
inspired by others who simply love music.
On this day, Emiko's dynamic piano performances of two of Claude
Debussy's provoking compositions will surely be just the beginning of a
wonderful collaboration with the Esk Community Choir and their mutual desire to
connect with appreciative audiences.
A fitting finalé to a magical afternoon of music was the Choir's rendition of Sing for Joy...because that is what they do.
by Susan Walker