Saturday, May 19, 2018

MUSIC TO HEIGHTEN THE SENSES AT TOOGOOLAWAH’S ALEXANDRA HALL

Eric von Nida & Chorus - 'We're Gonna Put on a Show'




They sang it with style.  They matched it with flare.  They ‘put on a show’ with ‘LOVE IS IN THE AIR’.  It happened at the Alexandra Hall, Toogoolawah on Sunday May 6th and following Alexis FitzGerald’s heart-felt welcome to an expectant audience of ESK COMMUNITY CHOIR friends and followers, Eric von Nida, top hatted and tailed, strutted to the stage, eager to entertain.  Backed by an equally energised chorus, it was obvious from the outset that this showcase of talent by choir members was not going to be an exercise in restraint.   And so it was on a glorious Sunday afternoon when that beloved old hall came to life with a kaleidoscope of musical genres from Broadway to Bizet; Arias to ‘Oliver; Evergreens to Elvis and lots in between. 

Loaded with lashings of sass, a colourful chorus line of vivacious choir vamps strutted on stage singing All That Jazz followed by a distinct change of pace with the magical sounds of Caccini’s Amarilli, Mia Bella beautifully sung in trio by Gail, Ruth and Marina.   Georges Bizet may have flipped had he heard Oscar Hammerstein had hijacked his music to give life to the lyrics for the musical Carmen Jones but surely would have approved of Alexis’s stunning accompaniment when Sue Walker and Chorus kept the day’s theme alive with Dat’s Love.  
 
'Amarilli'  -  Marina, Ruth and Gail

It wasn’t Hello Dolly but hello Carolyn and Lloyd King when they tugged at heart-strings with It Only Takes a Moment from Jerry Herman’s acclaimed 1964 musical and Eric and Gail Webster cleverly brought the satirical wit and whimsy of Gilbert and Sullivan back to the stage with their stunning duet ‘So Go To Him and Say To Him’ from ‘Patience’.  If concert goers were not already loved up enough by then, the tenderness of Ruth Skippen’s ‘As Long as He Needs Me’ would surely have had heartstrings at full stretch.

'It Only Takes a Moment' - Lloyd and Carolyn
Tosca - Kathleen



All the passion prescribed by Puccini for his operatic aria Vissi d’Arte, from Tosca was delivered by Kathleen Watts in a truly sublime performance and equally emotive was the plea for God’s forgiveness in Gounod’s ‘Final Trio from Faust’ in a sensitive performance by Susie, Bob Hardy and Roger Woodman.

Final Trio from Faust - Susan, Roger and Bob















The drama and pathos on stage soon gave way to the Ladies’ Ensemble with their glorious melody Evergreen putting ‘love’ back in the air and to add to the atmosphere, Elvis Presley’s Can’t Help Falling in Love With You by a harmony of mixed voices from the choir certainly sealed the fate.
What be a theme of ‘love is in the air’ without the George Young/Harry Vander song ‘Love Is In the Air’ and so to the backing of John Paul Young, the hall rang out in a chorus of audience and a conga line of choir members for this glorious finale to a fabulous afternoon of musical entertainment. 

By: Sue Walker


Gail and Eric - 'So Go To Him and Say To Him'


'Dat's Love' - Susan Walker and Chorus
 
'All That Jazz' - Carolyn, Grace, Sue, Joann, Desma, Jan, Caitlin, Kathleen

Doing the Bunny Hug - Carolyn & Grace




Friday, April 27, 2018

ANZAC DAY IN ESK 2018


2018 ANZAC Day parade led by Brisbane City Brass Band.




Aria Edwards - Guest Speaker  2018 ANZAC Day Esk

I know it is considered erroneous to be writing in the first person but on April 25th  having attended another deeply moving ANZAC Day commemoration at the Cenotaph in Esk’s Memorial Park, driving home in the silent safe cabin of my car, my brain swallowed up by the rhythm of the road, I couldn’t help harking back to those many young lives cut short in someone else’s country, defending it as if it was their own, but for their own, with no obligations only their youthful courage taking them to  places where they never could have imagined what it was going to be like.  It was through their experiences and scribbled notes in letters and diaries, that they created a history by writing theirs.  That their sacrifices and inexplicable courage will never be forgotten was so beautifully expressed by Toogoolawah High School’s Captain Ariah Edward’s in her truly eloquent address.



Led by the strains of Brisbane City Brass Band, the parade was always going to generate goose bumps until, right on cue, that supersonic roar of the RAAF’s F/A 18 Super Hornet soaring at what seemed like rooftop altitude had my heart doing a jig somewhere in my chest.  And what would be an Esk ANZAC Day commemoration without the unwavering passion and unique oratory of Esk’s RSL Sub-Branch President, Charlie Elwell who was true to form as he gave a warm welcome to what appeared to me to be an unsurpassed gathering of  guests including Mayor Graeme Lehmann, Father Ross Cameron, Moreton District’s President and Secretary,  many returned servicemen and women, veterans of subsequent wars along with all-comers who found rare spare spaces to observe and pay their respects. 
Esk RSL Sub Branch President Charlie Elwell



The 2/14th Light Horse Troop were unwavering in their formation of the Catafalque Party and Maree and I were again honoured to be invited to sing the Australian and New Zealand National Anthems.  How fortunate is this town to have Matthew Lukritz whose bugling of the Last Post and Reveille continued to stir emotions seemingly on a par with that felt at the gathering in respect of their fallen, of the Veterans around the kaleidoscope of coloured wreaths layered at the base of the memorial.  While many of our Choir ladies were a notable presence amongst the masses, it was the Choir Men who, guided by Alexis and with Margaret’s faultless accompaniment, did us proud with their stirring rendition of “Who Are the Brave”.




And so as I chewed up the tarmac, I wanted to think that those past generations, often bruised and battle-scarred but well-rounded, wiser and wilier for it, will have been the springboard for our future generations to remember the legacies left as they make their own way.  I know that mistakes will always be made and from them, lessons learned but it is hard after being part of such a wonderful ANZAC Day commemoration in Esk not to feel optimistic…that’s what I’m thinking.
By: Sue Walker