Tuesday, September 22, 2015


The Semitones Opening the Concert in Irish Costume and a lilting Irish Tune

The ESK COMMUNITY CHOIR's  'Excerpts from Les Misérables- In Concert'  has been on a journey of late, opening with the Choir's May 5th  performance at the  Somerset Civic Centre  in Esk, on then to the South Burnett at Blackbutt, returning on Friday, September 11th  to Toogoolawah's Alexandra Hall where  they again won over another capacity audience.  

The Choir performing Irish Melodies

In light of the Concert theme, the opening bracket of songs from Ireland was not meant to baffle or bewilder but to make welcome the 2014 Esk Touring Choir's Cork host and special guest, the delightful Cay Cooney who, along with her long time friend Maggie, were flushed with excitement at their warm Somerset reception.   So much of the Irish heritage is celebrated in its music and though the cutest little line-up of Irish clad 'Semitones' with their heart soaring  Irish welcoming songs  and the talented Nedi  Granzien's sublime rendition of  'Dear Little Shamrock' surely were hard acts to follow, and  follow the Choir and soloists did with some liltingly uplifting  Irish favourites.  
A short intermission followed during which Concert goers intermingled and imbibed on complimentary hot drinks and delicious sandwiches.  Sated and again seated, the audience hushed to the strains of the anthem of 'Les Misérables' as a cast of Victor Hugo's colourful characters...the poor and oppressed, the prostitutes, criminals and street children of a nineteenth century Paris...processed to gather on stage before the  brilliant backdrop and barricade.  This is setting for this stunning performance.
With the accompaniment of a small but highly accomplished 'orchestra', from the angry insurgents' cry  'At the End of the Day' through Bob Bigg's eloquent narration interwoven with  the pathos and power of many of the Schonberg/ Boublil/Kretzmer immortalised  solos, duets and chorus numbers, the audience were captivated.  The final wishes of the now departed trio of Fantine, Jean Valjean and Eponone was the beautiful overture to the  soul-stirring chorus of  'Do You Hear the People Sing' which climaxed  a performance  which  in  its entirety brought the audience as one to its feet in  rousing  acclamation.
To Alexis FitzGerald OAM who has for almost 38 years brought her Choir to a place of unparalleled joy with a shared love of singing must go bountiful bouquets for this performance.  Again on this night, Alexis, alongside the undeniable skills of choir accompanist Margaret Philp, was superlative in both accompaniment and direction.  The dulcet strains of violins and guitar added yet another layer of beauty to the music of 'Les Misérables' and for the gift of their talents goes much appreciation to Sunshine Coast musicians Iain McLean and Chrissy Davis on violin  and Logan McIvor for his pulsating rhythms on electric bass.

by: Sue Walker

Leon and Carol Toms with guests

Joy and Warwick Grewcoe and guest

Tom Byrne and Roland Cox enjoying an Irish Coffee and a joke

Emily FitzGerald

Tom Byrne and crew singing 'Master of the House'

Another day and another task for the Esk Community Choir members. A fund raising BBQ at the Toogoolawah markets. Thanks go to a fabulous team of workers who rose early to get the scent of onions and sausages sizzling through the crowds and drawing them into the shelter for the compulsory Australian snack.

Attending to the BBQ at the Toogoolawah Markets
Carolyn King, Christine Caldwell, Roland Cox

Meanwhile, not so far away, the members of the Cork Touring Choir gathered to catch up with Cay Cooney with feasting and drinking and of course a song, "Lachlan Tigers",complete with lagerphone  accompaniment. 
A reunion with our Irish Tour Guide, Cay Cooney and her Australian/Irish friend Maggie.

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