Monday, June 8, 2015

LAUNCHING INTO ANOTHER EUROPEAN TOUR: T16


Eager Travelers for the Tour of Europe 2016

With Many of the globetrotters still with visions of Leprechauns dancing in their heads, 28 members of the Esk Community Choir are once again about to launch into preparations for another European Tour in October, 2016, once more bringing the reputation of the Somerset Region and the music of this amazing Choir to places far, far away. 





The coffee wasn't the only thing percolating at the Touring Choir's Meet and Greet on May 31st. Hosted by Alexis at her  Coal Creek home, the serenity of the colourful surrounds belied the excitement bubbling over in anticipation of the Traveler's receiving their first glimpses into the repertoire for the tour along with a window into the journey the tourists will be taking. 

The next 16 months will be full of the joys of perfecting a repertoire which will surely be for Alexis a labour of love, for her choir, a wonderful echo of their dedication and a showcase of some beautiful music reflecting amongst the diverse repertoire, the talents of inspiring Australian song writers. 

With fund raising now a focus, the first off the mark will be Starlets and Sparkles , a concert filled with dazzling variety. Commencing at 2.30pm on Sunday the 19th July at the Somerset Civic Centre, the quality of the performances will resonate alongside some amazing jewellery pieces for sale creating an excitingly fresh dimension to Concerts on a Sunday afternoon.
by Sue Walker



A Beautiful painting of a Queensland Beach donated to be raffled.

Let's Fly Away - Marina and Ellise ready for the adventure



Monday, April 27, 2015

ANZAC DAY CELEBRATION IN ESK



by Sue Walker
Though the population of Esk may be tiny compared to the thousands who lined the streets of Capital Cities or filled the places at magnificent shrines now standing in Gallipoli and France, the spirit of the ANZACs was no less felt by the record numbers who attended the commemorations held at the Cenotaph in Esk Memorial Park on April 25th.
Paying their respects to the soldiers of war, many locals attended the Dawn Service which signaled the beginning of a day to mark the 100 years since those Australian and New Zealand soldiers scrambled ashore on that Turkish beach. Soldiers whose spirits have moved generations ever since.  As the sun rose over Mt Brisbane to shine on the day, the parade of local veterans and descendants of men and women who fought on the many fields of war, marching to the beat of the brilliant City of Brisbane Pipe Band, made their way down the main street to join the record numbers who gathered for the very moving ceremony hosted by Esk's RSL President, Charlie Elwell.
A flyover by F/A 18 Super Hornets from the RAAF, Amberley, heralded the singing of the Australian and New Zealand Anthems by Maree Landsdown and Sue Walker, followed then by the heart-felt welcoming addresses by Charlie Elwell and Mayor Graeme Lehmann. Prayers and inspiring poems were delivered alongside the Esk Community Choir who paid tribute in hymn and song. Included in these was the singing of "The Soul of Australia", a stirring piece written by Brisbane's Tim Sherlock, a song also sung this year by his own Choir to the masses who gathered at Gallipoli.
Father Hegarty's moving Prayer for the Fallen was followed by an address by Guest speaker, Dr Tony FitzGerald, Esk's longest serving member of the Esk Sub-Branch of the RSL and a time honoured and respected resident of the town. Dr. FitzGerald eloquently delivered a poignant reflection of the courage of the ANZACs during which he alluded to the heroism of soldiers from Esk. The gravesites of these men were recently sought and identified in a field close to Villers Bretonneux, France, and their names are proudly engraved amongst the many on Esk's truly magnificent monument. The Vale was followed by a solemn Laying of The Wreaths and the always emotive act of remembrance, The Last Post, followed by Reveille, played faultlessly by Matthew Lukritz. Father Hegarty's final benediction and the ceremonious departure of the Catafalque Party saw the crowd disperse to enjoy the day ... to reflect on history and to rise to challenges made easier for many by those who in 1915 and since, courageously rose to theirs.

LEST WE FORGET
















                                                    





The ANZAC Day march through Esk led by Charlie Elwell







   City of Brisbane Pipe Band
                                                                             



    Esk Community Choir


                                                                                 



Recreation of Simpson and His Donkey - Joshua
                                                             

The Riderless Horse, ANZAC Parade Esk 2015
                                                   

Sunday, March 22, 2015

MANY IRISH EYES WERE SMILING IN ESK AT 'THE WEARIN' O' THE GREEN'



Bob Hardy and Tom Byrne,

"Courtin' in the Kitchen"

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


Nedi and Ticky Granzien
Joshua FitzGerald


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


 
Suzannah Pegg, with Ashley and Madeleine Ambrey








 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!
 
John Caffin, Bob Hardy, Tom Byrne, Roger Woodman, Lloyd King "Courtin' in the Kitchen"



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.
 
Iris Tune "All God's Creatures Got a Place in the Choir"


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' ( boutiquemeats@bigpond.com)   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

 
The Tenors - Eric, Trevor, Russell

 
Winner of the Wearin O the Green

John Caffin


Sopranos- Jo, Leah, Mikhaela, Kathie and Lynne
 
Esk Community Choir

Friday, February 27, 2015

SINGING IN THE 'NEW CHOIR YEAR' IN TOOGOOLAWAH



2015 marks the 37th year the ESK COMMUNITY CHOIR has been showcasing their talents as their music has resonated with audiences around halls, hallowed walls and open spaces near and far.  On Sunday, 15th February, the 'Opening Concert' at Alexandra Hall, Toogoolawah was yet another afternoon of uplifting pleasure, delighting the  small band of dedicated supporters old and new who came to enjoy.
While this venue evoked memories of glory days enjoyed by many long standing members of the Choir, for others, along with the next generation of little Choristers, The Semitones, it was an opportunity to walk in the footsteps of past performers, as on this day they all took to the stage for an entré of uplifting sacred songs heralded by The Semitones' stirring delivery of the Anthem.


The Semitones



Patrina McLeod
Matthew Lukritz
The much loved I Don't Know How to Love Him from Jesus Christ Superstar will remain so following Patrina McLeod's sublime solo performance and Kathleen Watts and Sue Walker's punchy rhythms and sweet harmonies during their duet Every Time I Feel the Spirit was truly uplifting as was the pure clarity of multi-talented Matthew Lukritz's rendition of the African/American Spiritual, Let Us Break Bread Together.




 
Katie FitzGerald
Evidence of the Choir's versatility continued as the 10 member Choir Ensemble gave an ethereal performance of Trees, the song inspired by the illuminating words of poet Joyce Kilmer, and the tender delivery of the diminutive Katie FitzGerald's debut solo I Praise You Lord was further proof of her gigantic musical future.  Always inspiring is Handel's The Lord's Prayer and Roland Cox did it fine justice, leading in solo, supported by the Choir for the stirring crescendo of final words.  

Her unquenchable love of music and her infinite talents had Alexis FitzGerald flitting from her role as the eloquent emcee de jour, Choir Director/Conductor to her outstanding performance in piano duet with Choir Accompanist, the incomparable Margaret Philp, as they gave, on duel pianos, a passionate performance of Sanctuary of the Heart together with an interjection of chocolaty choral sounds from the Esk Choir Men.  Perhaps following this day, the RSPCA might rethink their advertising following 10 little Semitones'  bright and beautiful arrangement of All Things Bright and Beautiful complete with bandages and one very cute,  seemingly well-fed wombat called Joshua!
Unbeknownst to an audience, rarely does a Concert run to plan but, as a wise man once said...'when
Emiko Ota
one door closes, another one opens', and on this occasion it happened  to let in one Ms Emiko Ota, a gifted  pianist,  recently relocated with her partner  to the Somerset Region.  After 33 years of performing, for the most part in and around her country of birth, Japan, and in the earlier years, under the tutelage of the highly regarded classical pianist, Yoko Tohei, Emiko's passion for music has continued to be inspired by others who simply love music.   On this day, Emiko's dynamic piano performances of two of Claude Debussy's provoking compositions will surely be just the beginning of a wonderful collaboration with the Esk Community Choir and their mutual desire to connect with appreciative audiences.
A fitting finalĂ© to a magical afternoon of music was the Choir's rendition of Sing for Joy...because that is what they do.    
by Susan Walker