Friday, April 29, 2016


Charlie Elwell leading the ANZAC Day Parade in Esk 2016

A century ago, 1916, the focus of the First World War turned to the Western Front where the battles and victories helped define the War and ultimately define early Australia.  Also a century ago, the streets of Brisbane were lined with throngs of ordinary people...mothers who had lost sons, children who had lost fathers and brothers; wives, their husbands.  It was a time and place where officials were keen to recognise the country's, and especially Queensland's, sacrifices to World War I but equally keen to maintain that staunch British stiff upper lip and to further recruit young men for the war in Europe.  Somewhere within this intersection of grief, shock and commemoration lay the meaning of ANZAC Day, the structure of which was initiated by Chaplain-Colonel David Garland and which still endures to this day. 
The spirit of Anzac, with its stories of courage, mateship, and sacrifice, continues to have deep meaning for our sense of national identity and pride and this could not have been more deeply felt when guest speaker at Esk's commemoration ceremony, Corporal Stewart Alpert a former soldier with 6RAR, gave his profound and heartfelt address recounting insights of his experiences in Afghanistan.
Huge crowds lined Esk's main street or  gathered early at the Cenotaph at Esk's Memorial Park to watch RSL President, Charlie Elwell lead the parade of  veterans, their descendants, community groups and clubs all marching with distinction to the beat of the City of Brisbane Pipe Band.  From Charlie's always welcome address followed by the singing of the Australian and New Zealand's National Anthems, sung proudly by Maree and Sue, interspersed with the beautiful singing of hymns by the choir, poems read, the laying of wreaths, and prayers by Fr. Hegarty, through to Matthew Lukritz's faultless bugling of the Last Post and Reveille and the ceremonious departure of the Catafalque Party, the huge crowd felt the solemn protocol this day of remembrance evokes.  Humbled by the recount of events the crowd dispersed to celebrate their freedoms, to savour the memories and perhaps to feel a little of that which may have been felt in the hearts of those who have risen to the challenges of wars then and since, and feel grateful.
 By Sue Walker

Cpl Stewart Alpert

Thursday, April 21, 2016


Beatles' music is knowing the tunes, most of the lyrics and getting lost in the memory of a time when the 'Fab Four' were transformative; when 'Beatlemania' caused hearts young and old to race.  And so it was on a Saturday night in April at the Somerset Civic Centre, Esk, where the fabulous band ' Pitch Black'  together with Phil Caffin's eloquent and informative narration, had concert goers doing just that as they rocked their way through a musical timeline of the timeless tunes of John, Paul ,George and Ringo.  For many, frocked in the fashions of the '60s, much water had flowed under the bridge since the boys from Liverpool had sung their way into their hearts but it was evident that time had not dulled the passion as many were moved to let loose on the dance floor or bounce to the beat of the Beatles around the appropriately decorated ' Yellow Submarine' tables.

Performances by the ESK COMMUNITY CHOIR are for the most part, of their own making.  Occasionally, they are moved to commit to assisting others with their fund raising as was the case on this occasion when the Esk State School P & C Committee prevailed upon Alexis and her Choir to organize the catering and contribute to the musical performance along the way.  This we did with gusto, our efforts culinary and choral, conducive to a wonderfully energetic and stirring Saturday night.


Saturday, April 2, 2016


Esk Community Choir with soloists Robert Hardy and Kathleen Watts - Danny Boy / Air From County Derry

What is it about that Ol' Emerald Isle which inspires its people to sing?  Judging from the expectant faces amongst the audience at the Somerset Civic Centre on March 20th, it was evident there was no shortage of Irish ancestry floating through the Auditorium as even from each side of the closed stage curtains; the sounds of singing were unstoppable during Matthew Lukritz's faultless trumpet rendition of Australia's National Anthem.   Then, from behind the drawn curtain,  a sea of green and the smiling faces of Alexis FitzGerald's  ESK COMMUNITY CHOIR and SEMITONES greeted the eager concert goers who came in numbers, many in costume, to enjoy 'The Wearin' o' the Green', a celebration of music from Ireland.
Adding another layer of loveliness to the massed choral sounds was the Sunshine Coast's DAVONSKI CONCERT ORCHESTRA who, alongside the paragon of the piano, Margaret Philp,  provided for this bracket, the uplifting orchestral accompaniment.

Davonski Orchestra from the Sunshine Coast

"Top of the Mornin'' by the Choir and Semitones,  ushered in by the lovely tenor voice of soloist Eric Von Nida,  set the giddy mood for what was to follow.  Though the meaning behind the words to "Danny Boy" can be somewhat less joyful, there was nothing but euphoria felt when Kathleen Watts and Bob Hardy each paved the way in sublime solo, their voices then uniting with the Choir for the singing of the words of "Air from County Derry" penned and, at another time, sung for Princess Diana's funeral in 1997.

The Semitones

Trevor Davis

And what would be an Irish Concert without the heady sounds of the Bagpipes?    Piper Trevor Davis certainly did not disappoint with a display of his extraordinary talent, equalled only by his stamina, so vital for such an emotive performance as this was.

Lloyd and Carolyn King

"My Irish Song of Songs", the duet sung by Carolyn and Lloyd King told so beautifully its story through its  lilting Irish sounds and  with Irish sounds of a different kind, Alan Roughan's comical quips, the logic of which have become synonymous with the Irish,  kept the audience thoroughly entertained.  The talented little group, The Semitones could have jumped right off the pages of an Irish storybook so cute they were as they took to the stage.  Katie FitzGerald and Nedi Granzien each were outstanding  in duet with "A Little Dash of Dublin" and with Shillelaghs in hand, the Semitones brought laughter, smiles and many Kodak moments as they performed brilliantly their rousing songs, their confidence and talents  seemingly growing on a par with their  numbers.

With a  twist on tradition, each section of the Choir was instructed to prepare and perform their own musical selection and so it was that behind closed doors, the Altos, Basses, Tenors and Sopranos each put their sectional heads together to come up with  enough shenanigans and a whole lot of blarney, the enjoyment of which was not only felt by the audience but by their fellow choristers and perhaps a Choir Director who may possibly be having second thoughts of a similar scenario at next year's concert!!

Robyn, Gail, Nola, Judy (Altos)
Karen, Iris, Sue, Yvonne, Lynette (Altos)
Judy, Elaine, Kerry, Christine, Desma, Jan behind (Altos
Eric, Trevor, Phil, Roland and Lloyd (Tenors)

The Magician of the Lagerphone
Tom, Roger, Alan, Wally, Bob, Steve & Andy obscured.(Basses)

Only the Sopranos can get away with Football Socks and Boots as accessories to an Evening Gown. ☺

Raffles were drawn and won and interval over it was the turn of Davonski's Cellist, Graeme Souster together with the gifted Anne Bowyer on piano, to perform their sublime rendition of "The Swan", the grace and melody of this piece playing out the tranquillity of its visual sounds.   Maestro Lloyd Robins and his Davonski Concert Orchestra then took their places on stage and in a display of the mastery and professionalism by which this wonderful orchestra has achieved its acclaim, had every foot in the house tapping to the well-loved tunes by Wagner, Gershwin, Lara and Myers, culminating in the inspirational overture to "Pirates of Penzance" by Arthur Sullivan.  A standing ovation and an √©ncore performance spoke volumes of the joy this wonderful orchestra brought to those who came to listen.
The concert culminated in a final fabulous collaboration of voices and orchestra with what was "A Great Day for the Irish"... and for each and every captivated concert goer that day as they headed off to the sumptuous afternoon tea tables to prolong what was a magical afternoon of music.

To Alexis FitzGerald go bounteous bouquets, affection, admiration and too many superlatives to fit on this page, for her patience, talents and dreams which make all things possible.  To Margaret Philp, friend, and accompanist, who is as generous with her time as she is a genius at the keyboard and to all our Choir followers and supporters including Boutique Meats, Harcourt's Real Estate, Bribie Island and The Somerset Newspaper, goes our undying gratitude for your continual belief in us.

By Sue Walker

Winners: Kevin Kruger & Joy & Warwick Grewcoe. ☺