Friday, September 23, 2016


Unseasonal falls of rain made Sunday, September 18th seem fairly ordinary though many country folk would not agree.  However, there was nothing ordinary, nor was the wet weather a deterrent to a whole host of Esk Community Choir friends and supporters who came to the Somerset Civic Centre to enjoy a 'Farewell Concert'; a snapshot of the songs their Esk Touring Choir will be taking to audiences in some of Europe's beautiful cities, towns and villages in October.

Sue, Ruth, Di

From the outset when members of the Choir, regaled in their brand new performance outfits, welcomed in song the capacity audience, through songs both sacred and secular including the rollicking sounds of Australian Folk Songs to some audience collaboration in the singing of Peter Allen's emotive 'I Still Call Australia Home', the music created a language of its own which somehow, managed to wash away any woes of the weather and, in a musical sense, just make life taste better.

Finlay Rose and Alexis

 During the proceedings it was with great pleasure that the Esk Community Choir $1000 Bursary was presented to a very worthy recipient, Finlay Rose. Well done Finlay. We wish you every success in your musical pursuits.

The delicious afternoon tea served around tables following the performance was a place where members of the Choir and concert goers alike could share their appreciation for the joy of this music on a Sunday afternoon, shower warm wishes for a successful tour and the Choir in turn, treasure the gifts of friends and the support of a Community.
Thank you for your support.
Our very competent accompanist, Margaret Philp.

Bon Voyage  !!

Monday, September 12, 2016


That is, of course, Esk's 'T16 Choir' which will be taking off in October to places very far away in Europe.  And so it was, by way of a keepsake, a reminder of a glorious repertoire almost two years in the making, that a recording session took place at St Agnes Anglican Hall on Saturday September 10th.

"Good Gracious Brian, This choir sounds amazing".
 Mr Bernie Snep, still spirited at 89 and who has been broaching his retirement for ages, is a long time treasured friend of the Choir and recording exponent extraordinaire who has over many years enabled the sound of the Choir to be shared with everyone through his CD recordings.  Bernie jumped at the opportunity to once more favour the Choir with his skills behind his recording equipment.
For many who are unfamiliar with the protocols required at a recording session, or more precisely, a recording session with Bernie Snep, a picture must first be painted.  The microphone must be positioned precisely, ideally by himself, for the optimum balance of sound from both Choir and piano;
The sound recordist must:-
 * have a chair with arm rests by which he is able to hoist himself upright should this be     
*  be situated behind a table
*  have a list of order of songs and Song Titles,
*  have the recording device situated exactly at his discretion   
*  sustenance -  sandwiches and tea cup. 

At his explicit instruction of, "Stand By!"  followed by a 5 second pause both before and following the singing, there must be unmitigated silence...not the squeak of a chair nor an explosion from any bodily orifice whatsoever,  for to do so would provoke the wrath and irritation of a perfectionist at his craft. 
On this occasion, however, 'Louie' the blow fly was not to be intimidated and from the outset, the sound of silence was filled with his irritating buzz. 'Well it is a somewhat Aussie touch' was the comment by Roger from the Basses to dispel the tension.
No sooner had 'Louie' been dispensed with when it was from the ceiling that a watery fluid of questionable origin began spilling onto the Soprano 2 section.  However, it didn't take the skill of David Attenborough to recognize that the distastefully smelling drips originated from an errant possum, possibly disturbed by the singing and decided to take a trip to her bathroom. Then, giving new meaning to the Lionel Ritchie song 'Dancing on the Ceiling',  possum number 2 let it be known that a disturbed sleep does not go down well in
Possum-land and both began their own discordant dance within the roof cavity.  It took an unscheduled tea break and a few swift blows to the ceiling with the elaborately carved and decorated largerphone to dispel and dispatch the disorderly duo.
Between droning flies, pesky possums, sporadic groups of weekend warriors on motor bikes igniting Ipswich Street, some re-takes of bloopers...but not too many...  and the exertions of a large portion of the Choir still suffering the effects of coughs and colds, the recording session completed.  It was to the utter satisfaction of the T16 Choir's patiently unflagging Choir Director, Alexis, their consummate accompanist, Margaret, ably assisted at times by Suzanne on flute, a Choir now getting jiggy with excitement at the prospect of their upcoming tour and above all, Mr Bernie Snep who couldn't help but join in the euphoria and anticipation of a successful outcome.
For those who miss the opportunity to purchase this sublime CD of your own Choir's Choral singing at their 'Farewell Concert' , copies will be available for purchase at the Choir's Christmas Variety Concert at the Somerset Civic Centre, 2.30pm on December 4th details of which can be found on the Choir's wonderful website

Farewell Concert  - Sunday 18th September at 2.30pm - Somerset Civic Centre Esk .

Wednesday, August 31, 2016


Suzannah Pegg and Michelle Rose receiving congratulations from adjudicator Mr Brendan Scully

There is a certain reluctance for this writer to announce final results,  for it was that yesterday's performances at the SOMERSET MUSIC AWARDS were not about placings but moreover, about the opportunity for the young and young-at-heart to perform beautiful music; about receiving the benefits of constructive recommendations via adjudications; about finding places within to deliver performances beyond expectations to an encouraging audience; about building confidence and performance skills and learning to grow with a love for music in its many forms.

A large audience at St Agnes Anglican Hall, Esk on the morning of Saturday 27th August was treated to a mosaic of colourful performances by a whole host of talented music makers ranging in ages from under 7 to over 70, the genre of music, performance skills and musical experience being just as diverse.  There was little Grace Jardine who made with poise her public solo debut on piano followed
Grace Jardine
by Bennet, Hannah and Meredith, three more little under 7s whose solo vocal performances were equally as self-assured. There was tiny Ticky Granzien, wonderful on trumpet  as was her sister Seoneidin on clarinet;  11 year old Finlay Rose's beautiful touch on piano with Beethoven's 'Fur Elise' and in another section his brother, Callum's confident clarinet performance, all perhaps a portent of the birth a future orchestra for the Region?  Hard to top were the comparatively experienced solo voices of Seoneidin, Katie FitzGerald and Sophie Lawrence whose talents belie their tender years.

The morning warmed up on a par with the levels of courage in the more advanced age sections for instrumental and vocal.  As each took their turns in front of the audience and adjudicator, the highly credentialed Mr Brendan Scully, it was evident from his smiles and obvious enjoyment that his task of choosing winners was not going to be an easy one.

Obvious too was a shared love of music when Brad Jeffs, Jo Robbins and their children Bennet,  Ayla, and Georgie made it a family affair with their solo and duet performances.  Another's was Michelle Rose, a previous winner of the open vocal section, who at the time when her boys Callum and Finlay commenced lessons,  decided to resume piano lessons of her own  and on this day, again showed the diversity of  her musical talents.   Barely was there a foot not unconsciously tapping to the beat of the Button
Suzannah Pegg
Accordion when Suzannah Pegg gave the gifts of her talents, gaining her firsts in two sections. Bringing the lilting sounds of a  foreign language into the mix,  16 year old Chloe Arentz' rendition of  Giordani's ' Caro Mio Ben' was an insight into a promising musical future.

The open solo and duet sections offered up the delights of musical styles ranging from Sacred to Musical Theatre and lots in between.  Noel Coward would have been smiling when Eric von Nida brought back this composer's genius with an amazing performance of 'The Stately Homes of England' and again in duet with Gail Webster, Gilbert and Sullivans' wonderful words and music from' Patience'.  This open section was an exercise in never being too old or too late to make one's solo debut and it was for some, courageous performances which gained huge audience acclamation.  However, as difficult for decision making as the programme was diverse, it was Maree Landsdown's beautiful rendition of 'Don't Cry for Me Argentina' which gained a first.

Maree Lansdown
Eric von Nida


Whilst much of the credit for the success of an event such as this must go to Mr Brendan Scully for his unquestioned acceptance of a request to adjudicate, to all the entrants for their performances and who, together with their wonderful teachers, accompanists, mentors and parents have patiently put in the long hours honing and polishing in an effort to reach this level, it has been through the enduring efforts and instigation of Alexis FitzGerald O.A.M. that this event was initiated back in 2002 and with the assistance of the Esk Community Choir continues to exist.   Always in all ways Alexis has devoted much of her life's work to the creation of opportunities for all ages to grow with a love of music, and for these a community and regions way beyond can be forever grateful. 

Prizes, certificates and medals awarded to the place getters in each section were enabled through the generous sponsorship of St John Biarra Lodge, No.73, and the continual support of Esk Caravan Park, Esk Newsagency, Toogoolawah Pharmacy, Ray White Rural, Esk and Toogoolawah, Esk District Co-operative, Julie's at the Rectory and the Somerset Newspaper for whom the Esk Community Choir is continually indebted. 

The 40th year of the Esk Community Choir's existence will be marked in 2018 and already anniversary celebrations are in the pipeline including plans for the next spectacular Somerset Music Awards and so many other events during what will be a year of amazing musical experiences.
by: Sue Walker

Ayla Jeffs
Bennet Jeffs
Kate Coleman
Sophie Lawrence
Meredith Jell
Katie FitzGerald
Hanna Bien

Roland Cox
Marina Crichton

Kathie and Jan