Wednesday, May 25, 2016


THE ESK COMMUNITY CHOIR were living with gusto their motto 'Service in Song' when, following a blithesome bus ride, they took to the stage at the Good Shepherd Lutheran Centre, Noosaville, for 'A Concert- Tranquillity'.  Along with a cast of many and boosted by the sponsorship of a number of local businesses and the support of a capacity audience,  this was an event organized by long-time Choir friend, Iain Mclean, to raise much needed funds for the opening of a new Sunshine Hospice, affectionately called ' Katie' ...previously known as  'Katie Rose Cottage'.

Ian Mackay

The Choir's chorus of beautiful Classical and Sacred opening choral items translated to a captive audience the joys of Choral singing and left them wanting more.  Poet Ian Mackay amplified this audience reaction, stating the difficulty of his following such an inspiring performance.  However, Ian's modesty was only surpassed by his extraordinary gift of eloquence and poetic humour having the entire audience sitting in the palm of his hand from the outset.

Toukie Wood
Sunshine Coast's Toukie Wood, a gifted young violinist, mesmerized concert goers with her performance of two uplifting pieces by Mozart and Massenet.  Internationally acclaimed, highly gifted and impressively credentialed mandolin player, Sue Flower, who has amongst many, had the honour of performing at both the Royal Opera House in Covent Garden, London and the Somerset Civic Centre, Esk,  gave yet another fabulous performance of well loved upbeat songs with a Latin flavour alongside the rhythmic strumming of her talented partner on guitar.  With the drawing of raffles completed, the Choir's final performance of 'Sing for Joy' let it be known that it is just what this Choir does.

Upbeat music with a Latin Flavour with Sue Flower.
 Choir performances are at times, not of Alexis's own instigation and this was one to which her Choir were invited to give their gift of song.  The soon-to-be Sunshine Hospice run completely by volunteers who give so generously their own gifts to those who have reached their final stages of life will be a living testament to the energy and drive of some truly generous souls and this Choir has been honoured to be a small part of that journey.

By: Sue Walker

Sue and Roland Cox
Lloyd King and Tom Byrne enjoying the hospitality

Saturday, May 21, 2016


ONE: -  Sue Cox, Desma Brown, Nola Niemeyer, Karen Chin, Peter Curtain, Susan Walker,
Roland Cox (hidden) Marina Crichton, Kathie Watts, Jo Brown, Maree Lansdown.

By anyone's definition 'success' was the word of the day at the variety concert 'Fanciful and Familiar' held on Sunday May 15th at the Somerset Civic Centre, Esk, hosted by Choir Director Alexis FitzGerald OAM and  performed predominantly by members of the Travelling Esk  Choir.   The fusion of musical sounds ranging from the Classics to Musical Theatre and the Andrews Sisters was entertainment plus and thoroughly deserving of the numerous accolades by concert goers as they gathered around the afternoon tea tables with songs still resonating and to delight in the delicious aftermath.
The sparkling opening from 'A Chorus Line' by members of the Ensemble suggested that this was not going to be an afternoon of restraint.  Sanity was temporarily restored with the Choir Ensemble's beautiful  rendition of Elgar's  'Fly Singing Bird' sung to the equally beautiful accompaniment by Margaret Philp on piano,  Iain Maclean and Alex Pattri on violin and the Choir's own Suzanne Clemence on flute.

Fly Singing Bird: - Marina, Janette, Leah, Susan, Jo, Maree, Kathie

It was then that the audience was transported to the sounds of Musical Theatre with stunning performances by Jo Robbins and the dynamic duo, Lloyd and Carolyn King, with their spirited as well as tender interpretations of songs from 'West Side Story'.  

 Susie Walker, with her dramatic rendition of 'With One Look',  became Norma Desmond, the larger than life character from the movie 'Sunset Boulevard'.

The Sailors from South Pacific

 Then, with some well loved excerpts from 'South Pacific', the audience couldwell believe  Janette Thomas was 'In Love With a Wonderful Guy' and the d'lovely  'Bloody Mary' aka Gail Webster will let it be known that she actually does have 'tender skin' and uses ' Pepsodent' , not  'betel nuts'  as embraced by that bawdy bunch of talented Choir Men disguised as U.S. Navy sailors who  happily ' lost in the middle of a foggy sea' were definitely of the opinion that 'There's Nothing Like a Dame'.

Yet another change of pace saw Kathleen, Carolyn, Maree and Susie, the sassy 'Sweethearts of Song' sashay on stage and with their harmony of sounds had concert goers bopping to the beat of evergreens from the Andrews Sisters.   

 The mood created by Roland Cox's  beautifully romantic rendition of Camelot's 'If Ever I Would Leave You' was soon spent as two colourful alley cats, Susie and Kathleen,  appeared on stage rifling through a rubbish bin and through their harmonic rendition of Rossini's 'Comic Cat Duet' concluded that the cute centrefold did trump the wine bottle!   

 'The Rose',  the soul stirring song written by Amanda McBroom never fails to tug at the heart strings and so it was for Sunday's audience when Di Chaplin paved the way in sublime solo to be united with the voices of the entire ensemble.

 It is at this juncture that this writer wishes to acknowledge the unparalleled joy that being a member of this Choir brings to its members. The person responsible is Alexis FitzGerald who, for 38 years has been inspiring her Choir to be the best that they can be; whose talents are immeasurable.  On this day, concert goers were not only treated throughout the afternoon to hours of Alexis's glorious accompaniment but to the rare privilege of her taking centre stage for her pianoforte performances of Mendelssohn's 'War March of the Priests' and the quiet introspection of A G Potter's 'Romance', her passion for her playing almost tangible alongside the violins of Iain Maclean and Alex Pattri who added an extra level to the lovely.

 'You'll Never Walk Alone'  from Carousel was the entire ensemble's parting gift in song led so beautifully by the dulcet tones of soloists Janette Thomas and Peter Curtain.

Just as they say 'it takes a village to rear a child'  so it is that events such as these do not happen without the support of many and it is to these that the Esk Travelling Choir wishes to extend their sincere gratitude.  To Harcourts Real Estate, Bribie Island, 'The Somerset' Newspaper, the volunteer catering, programme printing and ticket selling teams and to the 'Roadies', all whose considerable contributions are worth their weight in gold; to John and Phil Caffin, our sensational sound men who make us sound so much better than we can hope for and most especially to our fans and followers old and new for whom this Choir continues to exist.

Lloyd King
Peter Curtain

Elaine Brown and Karen Chin

Photos courtesy of Daryl Green Photography, Laidley.

Tom Byrne

'For the deeper things men think and feel,
God gave the poet words to reveal.
But for the heights and depths that know no reach