|Bob Hardy and Tom Byrne,|
It might, according to the old Irish song, be a long way to Tipperary, but on Sunday, March 15th many hearts were just as happy to be present at the Somerset Civic Centre, Esk for the Esk Community Choir's Irish Concert, 'The Wearin' o' the Green'. Whether people were gearing up for St Patrick's Day or not, it was a happy bunch of concert goers, many decked out in the colours of Ireland, who rollicked and recalled with the Choir, the Semitones and Guest Artists, many of the much loved Irish tunes.
A measure of the talent for this day was the superb rendition of the National Anthem by Matthew Luckritz on trumpet followed by the talented little Semitones, looking quite the part in their Irish clobber, their cuteness only surpassed by their enthusiastic singing. With three spirited welcoming Irish songs they set the tone for what was to come.
The Choir's opening bracket included the lilting Irish melody 'If We Only Had Old Ireland Over Here", a song 'gifted' to the choir by Cay Cooney, the 2014 Touring Choir's custodian, guide, and now friend
Despite the lovely outfits and many shades of green seated in the audience, the lack of a smile would have been impossible when The Semitones' Nedi and Ticky Granzien, two little rising stars, gave their sublimely confident performance of 'You're Never Fully Dressed Without a Smile' from the musical "Annie".
With a sound as Irish as Dingle Pies, Ashley and Madeleine Ambrey together with Suzannah Pegg make up the trio, 'With One Accord'. Their foot-tapping tunes and sentimental ballads went hand in hand keeping the audience thoroughly entertained as they played on fiddle, button accordion and banjo.
|With One Accord in action|
Lively might be one way of describing 'The Irish Lads', John, Bob, Tom, Roger and Lloyd, five men of the Choir as one has never seen them before, when they took to the stage with a touch of blarney while 'Courtin' in the Kitchen'. Accompanied by the multi talented John Caffin on Guitar, they lit up the stage with their hearty singing and colourful costumes. Proof also of the robust nature of women's pantyhose!
Truly memorable will be the superb piano performance by Guest Artist, Emiko Ota. Music by Debussy and a medley of Irish tunes, enriched by her own arrangements, were outstanding. Emiko's ability to communicate the pieces through her artistic touch was inspiring. With Emiko and her partner now welcome residents in the Somerset Region it is hoped that her collaborations with The Esk Community Choir will be many and varied over the years to come.
Even the audience became part of this afternoon's performance as they joined with the Choir for some evergreen Irish songs. The final Choral bracket of Irish tunes, including the sweet sounds of the ladies 'In the Valley Where Wishes Come True', and a menagerie of 'God's Creatures' who really do Have Their Place in the Choir, had audience members full of the joys of singing as they headed off to the sumptuous afternoon tea tables to prolong what was a magical afternoon of music.
It is said that goals without planning and practice are just wishes and this account of yet another dazzling display of musical entertainment cannot conclude without mention of the extraordinary talents of Esk Choir Director/Conductor/accompanist/emcee de jour, Alexis FitzGerald who, with patience and jolly hard work, is constantly converting her goals and dreams to reality. Her passion for music and for bringing it to audiences is unparalleled. To Margaret Philp, Choir Accompanist, whose mastery at the keyboard and her commitment never stop at 9pm on a Tuesday night and Suzanne Clemence whose sublime accompaniment on flute always adds such richness to the Choral sounds go many blessings.
Events such as these are never possible without 'a little help from our friends' and so to Boutique Meats of 'Castell Park' ( firstname.lastname@example.org) for a constant supply of enticing raffle prizes and to Harcourts Real Estate, Bribie Island, for the endless source of printed matter go much gratitude.
by Susan Walker
|Sopranos- Jo, Leah, Mikhaela, Kathie and Lynne|