Tuesday, May 9, 2017


Consider Yourself  - Soloist Kerrie Corbet

Toogoolawah’s Alexandra Hall was alive with the sounds of music on Sunday 7th May when Alexis FitzGerald presented Fanciful & Familiar 2, a mosaic of beautiful melody and song performed primarily by many singing students and others of the Esk Community Choir.  And what more fitting a day for such music than that of the birthdays of celebrated composers, Johannes Brahms and P.I. Tchaikovsky, whose Nutcracker Suite Ballet Score filled the hall while concert-goers found their seats.  

Now far-beit to assume that the implication of the compilation was an indication of the maturation of the congregation, but a quirky version of My Favourite Thing was sung by the entire audience, the lyrics appropriately adapted by Julie Andrews for the occasion of her 79th birthday.  And so with the tone aptly established, it was on with the show!


And if your favourite things happened to be the sounds of Musical Theatre, then the pre-interval performances were perfect.  Kerrie, supported by a Choir chorus made everyone feel at home with Oliver’s Consider Yourself; Sue Cox’s upbeat rendition of I’m Gonna Wash That Man Right Outa My Hair left no man questioning her intentions and the tiny but talented Nedi Granzien’s performance of Animal Crackers left no one doubting her musical future. 


 Nola’s wonderfully colourful characterization of Why Am I Always a Bridesmaid? never fails to produce the laughs, though barely a breath could be heard when Maree followed with her heartfelt performance of Don’t Cry for Me Argentina.   

Erica (AKA Eric von Nida)

And then came ‘Erica’!  Poor Unfortunate Souls may have been the song of choice from ‘The Little Mermaid’ but moreover, a label to be placed on anyone who failed to be part of the audience on this day. Quite simply, a stunning performance by Eric von Nida, both visually and musically, ably supported by Nedi as the little mermaid.

Following interval and the drawing of the many lucky raffle winners came a change of pace with the Classical Section of the programme.  Making her piano performance debut, Ruth Skippen together with the consummate talents of Alexis, played duets by Rubenstein and (the birthday boy) Brahms.  An outstanding performance by this prodigious pair of pianists… hopefully the first of many.


Jo Robbins, Marina Crichton and Sue Walker gave highly expressive demonstrations of Italian composer, Guiseppe Concone’s vocalises or exercises for the voice, followed by Gail’s beautiful rendition of Haydn’s Hark What I Tell To Thee.  Marina and Sue, together with Di Chaplin then shared the stage and the singing of the iconic Nymphs and Shepherds, all these performances a small measure of the depth of talent and commitment by the singing students.   

Kathleen Watts captivated with her saucy torch song, On a Slow Boat to China, then with the first of a Seven Brides for Seven Brothers medley, Carolyn declared in a most brilliant way what a Wonderful, Wonderful Day.  The multi- talented Matthew Lukritz, fronting a chorus of choir men, completed the medley with Bless Your Beautiful Hide.  His performance of The Exodus Song in collaboration with the corps of choir members was a stirring finale which brought goose bumps and conclusion to a brilliant afternoon of music.

Exodus - soloist Matthew Lukritz

This Choir would so like to sing the praises of its many unwavering supporters who rarely fail to show up to performances, others from behind the scenes and all for whom the Choir continues to exist; of the unconditional generosity of Damien FitzGerald’s Castell Park Boutique Meats and all the other fabulous raffle prize donors whose contributions help keep the Choir’s coffers afloat; of Mr Bernie Snep whose support of the Choir is unquestioned and whose skill behind his recording device once again will allow us to save this one for posterity; and finally but never least, of Alexis, who lit the flame for this event and made it sparkle.


Carolyn - Wonderful, Wonderful Day

Matthew - Bless Your Beautiful Hide
Eric and Di
Nedi Granzien - Animal Crackers in My Soup

Maree - Don't Cry For Me Argentina
Sue Walker, Marina Crichton, Jo Robbins

Piano Duet - Alexis and Ruth
Sue Cox and Chorus - I'm Gonna Wash That Man Right Outa My Hair
The Mischief Makers !!

Kathleen - Slow Boat to China

The Sound Team - Owen and Greg

Number One Choir Supporter - Bernie Snep
Marina with Dorothy Moyle
More Mischief Makers !!!
The Star of Mischief.

Saturday, April 29, 2017


Flt Lt Howard Robinson (ret) taking the salute at the ANZAC Day march in Esk.

At the going down of the sun, and in the morning.  We shall remember them”.  This the promise adhered to every year on April 25th by those of us given the privilege of being part of this important anniversary when we commemorate the mateship, loyalty, courage and sacrifice of our forefathers and all those who have followed in their footsteps in the service of our Nation, whether in times of war or peace.  

This ANZAC spirit was evident again in 2017 when huge crowds lined Ipswich Street, Esk or gathered early at the Cenotaph at Esk’s Memorial Park where, having marched to the beat of the wonderful Brisbane Brass Band, the parade of veterans, their descendants, community groups and clubs congregated with members of the public and special guests for a moving tribute hosted by Esk RSL’s President, Charlie Elwell, to all who have served their country with distinction and honour.

Flt Lt Catherine Freind (RAAF)

Following Charlie’s welcome and the National Anthems of Australia and New Zealand sung proudly by our own Maree and Susie, a tribute to the ANZACS by Mayor Graeme Lehman and Father Hegarty’s prayer for the fallen, guest speaker, Flt Lt Catherine Freind (RAAF) spoke of those ‘great’ events in history not necessarily remembered for that which they are but for the qualities of the human spirit, the determination, mateship and sacrifice displayed and the values placed on the freedoms for which they were fought. Margaret Shepherd’s emotional delivery of her poem ‘The Cenotaph’ surely embraced the poignancy of the occasion for all.  Equally heart-felt, though perhaps on a somewhat different level, was the flyover by the RAAF’s F/A-18F Super Hornet which had all faces turned skyward for that brief thrill of supreme power and throughout the morning was the beautiful singing of hymns by the choir led by Alexis and accompanied by both Margaret and the Brisbane Brass Band, our own Janette Thomas’s son a significant part of this ensemble of talented musicians. 

Many came forward for the Laying of Wreaths as the Band played Waltzing Matilda/The Last Post and during the Choir’s rendition of “Soul of Australia” the Veterans gathered in respect of their fallen.  Following Matthew Lukritz’s always faultless playing of The Last Post and Reveille and the ceremonious departure of the Catafalque Party, people dispersed to savour the events of the morning and feel grateful.

Eighty- three nations around the world have war graves in which Australians have been laid to rest. In 1934 the President of Turkey wrote in a tribute to those who died at Gallipoli; “You are now lying in the soil of a friendly country. Your sons are now lying in our bosom in peace.  After losing their lives on this land they have become our sons as well”.  That these soldiers were able to suppress a determined enemy and by doing so, enrich the lives of the nations in which they served is honourable and a sacrifice unparalleled.  ANZAC Day is an opportunity for  all to reflect with gratitude all those who have served our nations, to think about those lost and appreciate those whose company we can now enjoy and treasure.


Karen Chin and Jan Jennings had the honour of laying the wreath.

The Choir ready to participate in the ceremony

The Thomas's

Tuesday, April 18, 2017



‘Music to lift you out of your life; To carry you into a world of delight’; this, the phenomenon that was at the Somerset Civic Centre on Sunday afternoon when the Esk Community Choir presented their Opening Concert for 2017 ‘And So We Sing’. 
The Choir’s opening bracket of songs made palpable the joy of singing whilst showcasing the talents of three wonderful singers from the Choir, Maree, Gail and Robert who in trio, prefaced the choir’s performance of the beautiful ‘Give Me Wings’.

A further leap into that ‘world of delight’ presented itself when Janet Brewer, Julie-Anne O’Reilly and Robert Truman who are ‘The Pacific Trio’ came to the stage.  Both their pre and post-interval performances were simply a masterclass of musicianship when, with Janet on piano, Julie-Ann, violin and Robert, cello, took the audience on a magical musical journey from the fabulous tango, ‘Jealousy’ through the powerfully energetic ‘Czardas’ featuring Julie-Anne on violin to places where barely would there have not been a foot flailing to Scott Joplin’s iconic ragtime masterpiece ‘Maple Leaf Rag’ with Janet at the piano. Then followed some Mendelssohn magic from the oratorio ‘Elijah’ and finally, the Saint-Saens emotive piece of charm and logic, ‘The Swan’, so perfect for cello.   

Following the Pacific Trio and wired for sound, Sue Walker and Eric von Nida, accompanied by Alexis, filled the auditorium with the beautiful sounds of the Schonberg, Boubil, Clark duet, ‘Live With Somebody You Love’.   While purists might argue that microphones might compromise the sounds of un-amplified voices and instruments, few could deny the magnificence of the sounds subtly enhanced throughout the Civic Centre through the Choir’s now 'own audio equipment'.


With many happy winners, raffle prizes in hand, it was on with the show when the chorus line of choir ladies in shades of the Black ‘n White Minstrels put smiles of faces with the Irving Berlin classic ‘I Love a Piano’ followed by a change of pace when the Choir men came together for a heart-stirring rendition of that  A.L.Webber favourite, ‘Love Changes Everything’.

The Cy Coleman ‘Rhythm of Life’ could not have been more trans-formative for audience and performers alike when the Pacific Trio alongside the Choir’s own flautist, Suzanne Clemence came together in a collaboration of pulsating rhythm and song and a perfect finale to a memorable afternoon of musical delight.
‘Completely wonderful!’…’fabulous afternoon!’ were just a taste of the comments passed around as the audience ‘chewed the fat’ over a delicious post performance afternoon tea.  To have enjoyed the brilliance of The Pacific Trio who have now managed to encourage so many more ‘first-timers’ to jump onto the Classical Music bandwagon; to have the encouragement of Concert goers and supporters who continue to enjoy the Choir’s shared love of singing; to have the exquisite talents of choir Accompanist, Margaret Philp and the indomitable, indefatigable genius of Choir Director, Alexis FitzGerald who has made all this possible, the Choir and a community are unflaggingly grateful.

by Sue Walker