13 December 2009

Carols Night at the Substation

What a fantastic event! The Substation was full to capacity, and with a 30-piece orchestra, 45-member choir and 250 people singing together, it was a huge sound!

Piper Paul Anderson started things off in fine style, MC Jackie Kerin gave us a warm welcome and we launched straight into a couple of old favourites - Away in a Manger and Good King Wenceslas. The carol singing was interspersed with performances from Sisters Dahl, Tiya Beggs, Parapluie, Rob Durbridge, Bruce Williams and Greg O'Leary, the Barbershop Chorus and the Combined Choir (Newport Community Choir and Willin Wimmin). And leading us through the whole evening was the Newport Carols Orchestra, 30 musicians gathered specially for the occasion by NFFC President Michael Stewart.

The only disappointment was that Danny O'Connell was too ill to sing the programmed item Jerusalem. Those of us who heard him sing at the rehearsal were blown away by his superb voice, but even then the 'flu was beginning to affect him. Maybe next year!

This combined effort by the NFFC, The Substation, City of Hobsons Bay and Outlets Co-op was a wonderful community event. To me it seemed to capture the true spirit of Christmas. Well done everybody!
Photos to come...

10 December 2009

High Life at Breizoz

The last Breizoz for the year,with only our local performers playing was, for me, one of the best I have attended. I sat back and enjoyed polished performances from people who a year ago needed to be strapped to a support just to stay onstage and never stopped apologizing for being there.
Not so anymore.
Every performance was enjoyable and each added to a night of convivial entertainment not second to anything.
Some highlights for me:
Rob Durbridge singing 'Life is Like a Mountain Railroad', one of the great trad songs I first heard on a Carter family album.

Ted Smith nailed 'New Memphis Blues', beautiful fingerpicking.

Gerry Nelson's 'Swing on a Star' parody is worth a regular listen, his fingerpicking is amazing.

Tiya Beggs superb version of 'If I Only had a Brain' with great backing by Gerry and a tour de force of improv by Gerry as Tiya toyed with a medly of gospel tunes.

The Barbarians all remembered to sing the right notes which was very exciting for us and it sounded good to me.

Bruce Williams after opening the proceedings with his super fingerpicking and magic tricks backed Leonie Kervin and Michigan Rob.
Leonies' 'Cluck Ol' Hen' was perfect and the music just poured out of her. Fantastic!

Michigan Rob is getting a serious taste for the stage although he don't know it yet. His voice is huge and gets better at every outing. It is a funny thing that although I was playing behind the songs and enjoying them as we went I can't remember what they were, only that it was enjoyable to be scraping away to the sound of Robs' voice.
Greg Jenkins poems were amazing, I usually try to think of ways of going to the toilet when any form of poetry starts, but this time I held on (and really enjoyed them). 9 pound hammer was done with such passion I wanted to find a southern prison guard and bash him (in time with the song of course).

Mike, Bruce and I tackled "Footscray" and what can I say? We were great. Mikes' patter revealed that I can be sometimes grumpy but mostly loveable, at least that's my reading of it and it better be right.

Georgina Stewart, fresh from her vocal triumph at the great Victorian Bike Ride, sang a Jo Stafford song, 'You Belong to Me', a big hit at present in Old Age facilities. She tells me she got it from Taylor Swift. Who the hell is Taylor Swift?
Georgina just keeps getting better and better.

Ted Smiths' barking deserves a mention if only for the fact that it scared me.

Dave Isom rattled off Cushie Butterfield, a Geordie version of Pretty Polly Perkins, which suprisingly a lot of folks knew. Very rollicking!

Did I miss anyone? It all got a bit blurry at the end.
So this ended a great evening, one I looked forward to and was not disappointed. For me it is the way music is enjoyed best, homegrown and unadorned,where friends and performers are one and the same.
I thank Greg Hammond, Simon Leverton, Christine McDonald Wendy Durbridge for an excellent night.
Grumpy Greg O'Leary

04 December 2009

Newport Carols Orchestra

The carols orchestra came together last night under the baton of Michael Stewart for the first rehearsal for the carols night.

It is sounding good... I can't wait for the 12th Dec! ... Steve

01 December 2009

NFFC at Willi Town Hall

Hobsons Bay Council put on their annual Senior Citizens Luncheon on Sat 28 November at Williamstown Town Hall, and members of the NFFC were there to get the entertainment started for the event. Greg O', Michael S, Bruce, Maryanne and Steve performed a variety of tunes and songs and even had a few of the oldies (and the volunteers) dancing between the tables.

It is always a great feeling to get up to play on a real stage in such a beautiful old building.

Newport Bush Orchestra Nov 30

We missed our little invasion of pint sized virtuosi this week. Zion couldn't drive them.
We persevered however with our nautical theme with Rhonwyn taking the tiller and teaching us The Sailor's Hornpipe in G. We recombined with the rhythm players and tackled O'Neills' march and Captain Pugwash. Until we put the music on the website the shett muisc is avaiable at Session.com

30 November 2009

Club Night November 2009

From the number of instruments being lugged in the door at 7:30 we knew it was going to be a great night. Alan started things off with The Water is Wide, and most of the crowd quickly joined in. There were plenty of willing performers including Jackie with Leaving On a Jet Plane, Suanna and Simon with original songs, Bill and Miriam with County Down, Adrian with John Lennon's Love and Gerry with Winter Wonderland.

One of the highlights was Richard's performance on the musical saw. This is an old Australian bush tradition - it's an ordinary panel saw, played with a bow. The level of skill required to get a tune out of it is quite remarkable and the whole audience was spellbound as Richard played a couple of tunes. It's an eerie sound, reminiscent of the Theremin. Unfortunately we weren't able to take a video but there are some photos and you can see and hear other players of the musical saw on YouTube.

Poetry too was well represented with Dave giving us How McDougall Topped the Score and The Man From Ironbark. Dave's comic timing and delivery is just getting better and better and there was much laughter to be heard. Ted also amused us with a poem called Similar Cases by Charlotte Gilman, which takes a light-hearted look at Darwin's Theory of Evolution.

There were lots of new musical collaborations, with Moira and Rick combining for Allie's Waltz, Frank, Steve and Moira getting together for a wonderful calypso number, and Tiya and Adrian combining for Here Comes the Sun and Tiya and Gerry on Georgia. There was a bit of a Lennon/McCartney theme going, with a new performer (forgotten his name, sorry...) doing a lovely version of I'm So Tired.

Greg J gave us Glenn Cardier's Water Finds its Own Level in his usual energetic style, Jordan performed a lovely instrumental from Grizzly Bear and of course the Bush Orchestra folks came up with a couple of brackets of dance tunes.

It's amazing how new items find their way on to the repertoire; last week the combined Newport Community Choir and Willin Wimmin invited Michael, Steve and Richard to come along to a rehearsal to accompany them on Bourree for Bach. They took the music home and brought it along to Folk Club as an item, and very good it sounded too. Think of it as a sneak preview for the carols night on 12 December.

We wound up as usual with The Parting Glass at about 11:00 but nobody wanted to go home and it took another hour or so to pack up and clear the hall. A great finish to the regular club nights for 2009 but there is still plenty more music in Newport to fill in the days before we resume club nights in February 2010.

29 November 2009

Newport Bush Orchestra Mon 23 Nov

to be posted

Newport Bush Orchestra Mon 16 Nov

To be posted

Bo at the RSL Nov 25

After the Maritime Gigon the wilder members of the BO went to the Newport RSL where the regular Wed night bash was on.We did a set of tunes and songs, embarrassed Kathryn for the second time that night by singing her happy birthday and partied for ages and ages.
All was impromptu and very well received .... Again!
We are cooking!
I cant remember who was there but we lost a few and acquired Danny and Leonie i think.

Maritime Heritage Society Performance Nov 25

Renowned maritime author Kate Lance asked the Bo to play at the beginning of their Christmas function at the Port of Melbourne Authority Education Center near Pier 31. This followed on from our efforts on the Polly Woodside and was a real success.
We played our little hearts out with as nautical air as we could aided by Mike de Valle, dressup king and Dave isoms' lower deck look. One hour of intense playing and singing later we received a rousing, rolliking applause from the patrons. It was a hoot watching the tugs and freighters sail past our vantage point and fill up our view.
Present: (and this is just a stab) Dave,Anette,Mike deV Alistair,Wendy,Chris and Christina, Simon, Marilla, Bruce, Greg, Kathryn, Llyn, Nancy, Rhonwyn, Rob R.We have an offer of another gig in feb from this.
well done

21 November 2009

Cup day at Willy Life Saving Club

Rather belated post sorry!
On cup day The BO played a bush dance at the Willy L.S.C. , Kathryns' mum having invited us a month before. The weather was hot and much of the activity was outside, but after the race we revved up and did our stuff. There was a petite 3yo Irish dancer who thrilled us all with her dedication and enthusiasm and she inspired a bunch of folks to come in and try it out. We rattled on alternating dance and song till there was no-one standing and then we went home.
very pleasant way to spend cup day.
present were: Mike S and Mike deV, Llyn, Wendy, Alistair, Greg, Steve, Dave, Annette, The Pope and Nelson Mandela.

Bush Orchestra Invades Nelson Place

Well, invade is not really the word!
A somewhat reduced but incredibly vibrant BO provided music for The Anti Cancer Council Relay for Life event held at the Rotunda in Commonwealth Reserve, Williamstown. Very much like the speech given by Rowan, the keynote speaker and cancer survivor, we, in our small way turned a series of setbacks into a joyful and productive evening. Over 60 mm of rain tried to dampen the proceedings, which had already been shifted twice and made the reserve a rather soggy spot for our audience to picnic. Someone had the idea of inviting everybody up onto the rotunda to hang out with the band. We just turned around and reversed our direction and Bob's your uncle, we created an intimate gathering that defied the rain (much needed tho it is) and we partied hard.

Present: Kathryn, Annette, Rhonwyn , Mike Stewart, Mike de Valle, Dave Isom, Steve Martin, Greg O'L, Nancy. We hammered away as usual, the vibe generated lighting up the whole reserve, fingers flashing and bows shivering, Mike de Valle dressed as Sherlock Holmes, Annette straight from the Melbourne Theatre Company dressing room, lipstick blazing and eyes shining. We pulverised em with polkas and even some songs.... Garry Adams Foootscray and the rather ironic You Are My Sunshine. We wowed em with walzes and jollied em with jigs, had em rolliking with reels and then......... paused for the piper.
Speeches came next and Rowan told us something about his travails and described the effect they had on him. I don't particularly like speeches but this one was so real, relevant and profound that I found myself overwhelmed with his uplifting message. There is nothing like getting it from the horses' mouth and I think we all wonder how we will shape up when our test comes. Rowan in a few simple words gave me at the least, hope that I will not let myself down and even hope that such adversity will make me a better person. He even said he enjoyed parts of it!
I think I can speak for the whole Bush Orchestra, when I say it was a privilege to be asked to play for this event and I have a feeling we all got much more out of it than we expected. The poignancy was further enhanced as one of our members has been on a similar journey to Rowan. We all have been touched one way or another by cancer and it was an honour to be asked to help do something positive about it.
Music makes me smile and more so in the company of friends and I positively beam when we can make it to entertain others.
Thanks to all who made the effort to come ....it was not wasted.
Greg O'L

p.s. a couple of frames from the short video:

Click to see the short video on Youtube

Music in Newport 21 November

Once again the music was on at Paine Reserve for the second of our "Music in Newport" events. We were determined to give the young ones a go this time, and they lived up to the challenge. First up were the Sisters of Zion, a young group who have been turning up with their fiddles to Bush Orchestra for a few weeks now. They played dance tunes and Christmas carols with great style - we look forward to having them back again.

Following them were Georgina and Morgan, two teenagers who brought us lovely vocal harmonies and a great sense of humour. They've been working on a bracket of songs for a while now and it was great to see them in front of an audience in the park on this beautiful cool morning.

Finally we heard Parapluie - experienced performers now, who can even take a malfunctioning keyboard in their stride! As always their vocal harmonies were beautiful and their stage presentation is just getting better every time we see them.

Fantastic to see that the next generation of musicians are coming up and taking their place on the stage - well, the patch of grass - and gearing up for the future!

15 November 2009

Music in Paine Res

Saturday morning, 14 Nov 09 and the NFFC provided a variety of free music for shoppers, library visitors, bus patrons and passers-by. Thankfully a nice breeze kept things cool for performers and those enjoying the performances.

Neil and Maryanne started things off - they were the only act to receive some coin from a passer-by for their efforts.

see a clip of Neil and Maryanne performing
Next, performing some Celtic and Gaelic tunes, were Rick and Nicola who invited Steve to join in with some bass.

Finishing up was a group dubbed the 'Newport Sound' consisting of Tiya on vocals, Gerry Nelson and Michael on guitar, Greg O' on fiddle and Steve adding in some bass once more. Thanks to Greg for providing sound, and to Tiya for making the trip over the bridge in difficult traffic.

Watch out for next week, when the youngsters put on their show. Parapluie, Georgina Stewart and others will be serenading the shoppers and crooning to the commuters - same time, same place.

11 November 2009

Photo albums from Maldon

Many thanks to Peter, Marilla's other half, for providing all the photos he took over the Maldon Folk Festival weekend.

I have set these up as three slide shows for
the rotunda,
saturday night in the main street,
and sunday at the pavilion.


p.s. 18/11 just added some photos from Ann's camera.

10 November 2009

Newport Bush Orchestra Monday 9/11/09

After the big last couple of weeks - Maldon Folk Festival and the Melbourne Cup - it was back to work for the Bush Orchestra.

Prior to the break, Greg took the Abatayo family for a session on Jingle Bells, Paddy's Return and Black Cat Piddled in the White Cat's Eye. Bruce and the rest of the group worked out an arrangement of 'Midnight on the Water'.

We also welcomed Sean, a lovely gent visiting from Canada. He adapted well to the 'Bush Orchestra experience' and we all had a great time,both in the lesson segment of the night and the informal jam that followed.

Present: Greg O, Bruce, Sean, Michael, Simon D, Greg J, Rob R, Nancy, Christine H, Christine McD, Chris K, Rob D, Marilla, Alasdair, Pam, Annette, Kathryn, Leonie, Mary Anne, Zion, Evelyn, Czarline, Czarina, Gyrah, Zymone, AJ.

A Few Photos from Maldon Folk Festival

Top: The crowd gathers for the street jam session.
Middle: The great gig with the wonderful Gay Charmers.
Bottom: The Bush Orchestra getting set in the Maldon Band Rotunda.

04 November 2009

Maldon 2009

It was great fun being at Maldon with the Bush Orchestra...
but who were these blokes in the black hats?

- they seemed to appear everywhere we went.


Newport Bush Orchestra at Maldon Folk Festival - A Quick Reflection


Just winding down from the Maldon festival so I want to thank all for a very successful performance on both days as well a terrific session in the street on Sat night. The barbershoppers also went down a treat. I will point out again, that although it appears that we are making it up on the spot (and indeed we are to some extent), the ability of the group to operate under very different circumstances was amply demonstrated on the weekend for the very reason that we can adapt on the run.

This adaptability enabled me to include all sorts of people, many of you have never met before and of all different levels of ability, giving you and them a chance to meet and get familiar with each other. It will in the future open up many opportunities for musical growth. These beginning friendships might go on for a lifetime.

My enthusiasm sometimes ran away with itself and  got us into musical difficulties a couple of times but it paid off! The audience appreciated the ad hoc spontaneity...........I think! So what we do may look and even sound a bit shambolic but that is the very quality that makes us accessible and believable and encourages positive reaction and new members.

I walked up and down the main street on Sat night  and as I did I said hello to a score or more of people who I have built friendships with over the years doing just this sort of thing. I used to be one of those people who thought (sub-consciously) that the only way to elevate my own social status was to bring other people down (a terrible family trait). Not a nice thing to admit to but happily I changed as I belatedly observed it was those who congratulated others on their skills, abilities and achievements who were having the better time of it. Some of those people who influenced me were there at Maldon. Harry Gardner, Tom Walsh, Maggie Duncan, all the Gay Charmers and their partners, Peter Ellis to name a few and that is why I was so keen to get you to play with them. For me the real payoff of these festival is the wonderful people I meet and interact with. I have long since stopped worrying about seeing the hottest new band or meeting the latest hot fiddler, but I do enjoy playing with talented, likable, emotionally centered people and I love searching for them.

In a similar vein, you might not have seen her, but at the pavilion concert Sarah Busuttil came and played with us for an hour . Sarah is highly trained classical fiddler who was at the festival in the Wishing Well band. Have a look at the site and the video, Sara lets loose at the end.  http://thewishingwellband.com/  What motivated her to come down to play with us? Well she is one of the most positive, open and friendly  young people I know and she seems to think we and the whole folk club as well are OK.. If only I had had her attitude at her age. I find it humbling  to be inspired by  people younger than me.

I also found it inspiring to hear the sound we were making. It was excellent, warm and invigorating. I must have received 30 comments from the listeners over the course of the festival.

One last thing, we had a low key jam in the main street at 6pm Sunday. As we were winding down a woman sat down at a nearby table. I jokingly asked her if she was waiting for a bus or some such thing. She replied that she and her partner had been searching for a place to have dinner when they heard us playing and decided to have it listening to us.

One last thing which is not a criticism, but I want to keep things in perspective, so I will point out......  had we paid for tickets, brunch (which I hope you got to)  and camping, the cost would have been around $2600. So although real money is not in the equation we need to remember that the organizers expect a certain outcome. I am proud and pleased to say they I think they got it in spades.

So well done everybody!

Greg O

Hope to get some photos up soon.

01 November 2009

Club Night October 2009 - Halloween!

It was a night of people trying new things - always fun, sometimes surprising, sometimes challenging.
Alan and Christine had a go at All I Have To Do Is Dream in 2-part harmony, which worked...some of the time...and then everyone joined in for Jambalaya. John led us all in a swing version of Swing Low Sweet Chariot with some nice harmonies emerging from the crowd. Frank, famous for his self-penned witty songs, gave us instead some instrumentals with Moira doing the honours on fiddle - there was one nice little tune called Nice Little Tune, and another one whose name wasn't quite so obvious, so I've forgotten it.

With the Spring Racing Carnival coming up, of course Jackie's poem Phar Lap The Wonder Horse was an obvious choice, and beautifully performed too.
Adrian gave us Neil Young's Heart of Gold, which got many of us singing along.
An impromptu gathering of the string players (double bass, 2 cellos, viola and 2 violins) gave us a delightful rendition of Handel's Arrival of the Queen of Sheba and a couple of Irish tunes.
It was a good night for poetry with Dave recounting the famous rivalry between Henry Lawson and Banjo Paterson in the pages of the Bulletin in the late 19th century. He recited Paterson's Clancy of the Overflow and excerpts from Lawson's The City Bushman. After the break he gave us the "7 ages of man" speech from Shakespeare's As You Like It, using audience members as living examples of the various ages from the "whining schoolboy" to the "justice in fair round belly" and beyond.
There were lots of join-in songs, from Chris K's Country Roads, Alan's Wimoweh, Christine's Mighty Quinn to Greg's I Remember You. Great to see (and hear) quite a few of the Bush Orchestra people there, especially since they were all off to Maldon the following morning for a couple of gigs. Another night of great music and socialising, with lots more musical events coming up in the next few weeks, too - see the calendar.

28 October 2009

RSL Wed night 28 Oct

'Blackwaterside' aka Neil, Maryanne, Greg Hammond and Steve performed at Newport RSL last night as part of the regular program of Wednesday nights and monthly Sunday BBQ gigs organised by Don Gula. Thanks to performances by many artists, including a good number from the NFFC, the RSL has been able to keep out the dreaded pokies and still survive financially by attracting a crowd to enjoy these free music events.

Last night, Maryanne was sporting a new banjtar or guitjo - ? I am not sure what to call it. I think she will need a pair of overalls and change her name to Daisy-May to go with that new hillbilly sound (sorry M-A, I couldn't resist that cheap shot!).

The Newport RSL made us all feel very welcome as usual, and made sure we did not go hungry or thirsty. These gigs are a great way to get some practice at playing with an audience. I am sure Don will be looking for more volunteers next year, and I hope the NFFC can provide some fresh talent to fill the bill as players improve their performance skills at the club nights and gain the confidence to venture outside the Newport Hall.

I hope to see some of you at Maldon this weekend. Have a good one!

Steve M

19 October 2009

Newport Bush Orchestra in Growth Mode?

The Newport Bush Orchestra had a different feel tonight - 5 new fiddlers came along to check out what was happening. As you can see from the pictures, they were happy to be playing along with the team, and at the same time decreased the average age of the NBO by a significant number of years. Let's hope they become a regular part of the Newport Music Making on a Monday night.

Present: Greg O, Bruce, Simon D, Christine H, Christine McD, Nancy, Wendy, Marilla, Annette, Kathryn, Dave I, Michael S, Michael de V, Alasdair, Leonie, Mary Anne, Chris K, Pam, Rod D, The Abatayo family: Evelyn, Zion, Czarline, Czarina, Gyrah, Zymone, AJ.

The rhythm crew ran through some of the American repertoire including: Old Joe Clark, Over the Waterfall and then had a look at the lovely waltz Midnight on the Water.

The melody group ran through Old Joe Clark.

After the break we all got together and played Old Joe Clark. As a finale, Michael S led the way in a 'folkey' line dance - the 'Nixie Polka' - backed by fiddles. Talk about bang for your buck - free dance lessons thrown in!

14 October 2009

Choir 14 October

Christmas still seems a long way off but we are already preparing with Silent Night now sounding great after only 2 rehearsals and another carol on the agenda for next week. Lovely to see the familiar faces and welcome to newcomer Marilla, already getting into the swing of it amongst the sopranos.

Our South African number Sinje-Nje-Nje is really coming together now after a very productive rehearsal focussing on the tricky pronunciation and trying out a new arrangement.

Keeping up the language challenge, we also worked on Dimna Juda - always challenging for new singers but simple enough after a bit of practice. It really has some dynamics now and sounds great. We finished up with Shut De Door, an oldie but goodie ...one of these days we'll sing it absolutely perfectly but it sounds fantastic just as it is!

Any basses out there who are thinking about having a sing? We'd love to have you! Norm and Mark are doing a great job but another bass or two would give us a perfect balance. See the Activities page for details.

Bush Orchestra Monday 12/10/09

Present: Bruce, Simon D, Christine H, Nancy, Rhonwyn, Wendy, Marilla, Annette, Kathryn, Dave, Michael, Greg O, Alasdair, Christine McD, Leonie, Mary Anne, Chris K.

Tonight we all worked on that classic old timey and bluegrass tune 'Old Joe Clarke' in A.

After the break we ran through a wild medley of 'Old Joe Clarke' (A), 'Jambalaya' (D), 'Bonaparte's Retreat' (D) and finally 'Over the Waterfall' (D).

After the official finish for the night the informal jam session kicked off with the following:

Leonie and Bruce - 'Cluck Old Hen' (A)
Michael - 'Kiandra'
Simon - a great old Irish song that I forgot to write down
Greg O then played a banjo tune - but my pen broke and I couldn't write it down (and now I can't remember what it was - or what else was sung. I'm still too upset over the busted pen - and wondering whether anyone is actually going for these sad old excuses). 

Next week I'll have new pen in hand and promise to faithfully jot down all tunes that are played.


06 October 2009

September was another great Club Night get-together success - a turn out of about 45 people, very surprising considering it was a very wet night and Grand Final Eve. Christine and Alison arrived early just before 7.30pm to open up with at least 8 peple already waiting outside. Thr troups got to work immediately setting up chairs and the night kicked off at approx. 7.50pm. Interestingly most of our regulars weren't there - Alan ha a choir gig but arrived just in time for the 'Parting Glass'. Michael was overseas this month and in his abscence Christine hoted the night with the support of Alison and Jackie keeping tabs on 'who sang what'. The night finished just after 11pm with about 20 people stil keen to kick on. By 11.30 'closing time' had to be called - that's always a sign of a good nitht! More details of the night still to come - stay tuned.

05 October 2009

Steve's travels

Hi All,

sorry I missed out on the September meeting and NOSH for October. Ann and I were on holidays in Broken Hill and the Flinders Ranges, and yes! I took my bass with me. Echuca is the furthest it has travelled, so it was keen to come along, plus I could have some practice to avoid getting too rusty.

Towards the end of our travels we arrived for a night at the Prairie Hotel, Parachilna, which is on the edge of some real outback country. Ch 7 were doing some filming there that night with Ernie Dingo and John Williamson. Socky (one of the locals) started playing guitar out the front of the pub around sunset, so I joined him for a play, and soon we had a bit of a session going.

Once the filming was finished, Ernie Dingo borrowed the guitar and we started to reel off a huge variety of songs - he is quite a singer, and they went down very well with the locals. Then as Ernies voice started to fade, John Williamson graciously took over, and reeled off Old Man Emu and a few other requests. By this time, the whole pub was dancing and whooping it up. What a night!

The publican Jane has asked that if anyone from the NFFC comes up to Parachilna, be sure to bring an instrument!

Steve Martin

The BO at the opening of Gov. Latrobe's Cottage

Bush Orchestrarians
The Latrobe Cottage event was a success all round.
present: Annette, Kathryn, Rhonnie, Mike le Valle, Pam, Marilla, Wendy, Alasdair, Greg, Dave.
The performers dressed in an amazing panoply of equipage and frippery of the period and this was really appreciated by the organizers.
We rattled off our collection of tunes, coaxing applause from the snooty gathering for a couple of hours, interspersed with speeches (mumble,mumble) from the re-enactors. The sun shone and birds twittered, curious bystanders noseyed around and all in all it wasn't a bad day.
The original brief of the BO from the Victorian Historical Society who funded the first year was to teach the orchestra authentic Australian tunes and to perform them in public. Well it couldn't get any more appropriate than this. The original opening of Victoria's first Government house had music provided by a party playing jigs and reels. 170 years later we did the same thing at the re-enactment with a repertoire as close as possible to the original.
Thanks to everyone and well done!

Bush Orchestra Monday 5/10/09 Like the man said - Back to Work!

Present: Greg O, Bruce, Mary-Anne, Annette, Alisdair, Christine  x 2, Simon, Marilla, Pam, Nancy, Rhonwyn, Katherine, Michael, Wendy, Leonie. 

Well, the hols are gone and we're all back at the coalface! Greg started the session by handing out a list of 81 tunes we know (or have known) and play, rated into the following categories: 'core', 'ok-sort of', 'dodgy' 're-teach'! One goal for this term is to get some of the lesser played tunes on the list up and running again. Another goal is to broaden our tune and song base.

We also discussed the possibility of the group attending and playing at the Fiddlers Convention next year. 

Both the rhythm and melody groups worked on that wonderful old Hank Williams tune 'Jambalaya' in D and it went down a treat once we found the right pace.

We then had a session free for all with members performing the following tunes/songs:

Lonesome John - A
Clinch Mountain Backstep - A
Planxty Irwin - G
Inisheer - G
Wind that Shakes the Barley - D
Bonaparte's Retreat - D
Marie's Wedding - D
Blowing in the Wind - G
Come Over the Sea Charlie - G
Lord Let Me See - D
The Old Schoolmaster - D
Cock of the North - D

All in all, a great night was had and we're all quite happy to be working on this particular coalface!!

Newport Bush Orchestra - Term 4 2009 - Back to Work!

The Newport Bush Orchestra is back at work on a Monday Night for Term 4. Last Saturday was another triumph for the NBO - this time at a celebration of Australia's History at La Trobe's Cottage. All in costume, and the music made the day. Tonight though they are all playing along and having a great time. The pictures tell the story! Its always fun and if you are interested in joining the group come along - 7.30 Monday night to the Outlets Newport COmmunity Centre 45 Mason St Newport. Bruce will keep you posted as to what they are playing and Greg will be reporting on the gigs that are coming up so come and drop in to the blog each week and see how the story goes.

15 September 2009

Bush Orchestra Monday 14/09/09

Present: Greg, Michael, Annette, Kathryn, Pam, Rhonwyn, Marilla, Rob D, Wendy, Christine, Lynne, Neil, Chris, Simon D, Mary-Anne, Alasdair, Dave, Bruce, Nancy.

We had a great turnout for the last Bush Orchestra meeting for the Term. The melody crew worked on Captain Pugwash (the Trumpet Hornpipe) and the reel Wind That Shakes the Barley. The rhythm group worked on the 4 brackets that we'll be playing at the High-Vibes festival next Sunday (see info below). After the break, we ran the entire set for the dance again with all in. From where I was sitting it sounded pretty good!

High Vibes Festival Info

NBO playing the Northcote Town Hall
189 High St, Northcote

Sunday 20/09/09

More details: 

Firday 11 September - NBO plays at the opening of 32'nd Annual Hobsons Bay Art Exhibition

The Newport Bush Orchestra had them waltzing among the watercolours at the Rotary Club of Altona Inc. 32'nd annual art exhibition and sale on the weekend. The event was held at Seaworks in Williamstown and a great time was had by one and all.

Here's a short message from the Bush Orchestra's Grand Grump Greg O'Leary regarding the event:

I think the organisers were happy, we provided the perfect vibe for the eating areas and got a few ears to prick up, particularly the Gervasoni waltzes, Watching the Cattle and Capt. Pugwash. Again we coped well in a difficult environment for sound. Sorry about insistently insisting we get closer together, but at one point we had 2 orchestras, one on either side of me! Thanks Rhonwyn for having the bottle to perform with me as a duet, naked and out front so to speak. Thanks mightily for the members who dressed up. It makes such a difference to our overall presentation. Next time we will try to put the rhythm players in the centre and split the melody players either side so we keep better time. I will look around for a sensitive bodran player to help keep the beat. Thanks heaps to Neil who had the unenviable job of singing un amplified in a huge space. We will try to fix that next  time.

Signing off

Grumpy Greg O

08 September 2009

Bush Orchestra Monday 07/09/09

The Bush Orchestra group had a great turnout this evening. 

Present were: Greg O'L, Michael S, Michael (from Selby), Chris, Pam, Annette, Rhonwyn, Marilla, Greg Hammond, Kathryn, Rob Durbridge, Wendy Love, Simon Dew, Nancy, Mary-Anne, Leonie, Bruce and Alisdair.

The rhythm section group worked on Loch Lomond and Rd to the Isles and did a quick review of the jig set: Clare Jig, Herb's Jig and Cunnamulla Jig.

Greg's group worked on a new tune: The Wind that Shakes the Barley in D

After the break we all got together and played the following:

The Wind that Shakes the Barley D
Captain Pugwash (also known as The Trumpet Hornpipe) G
Blow the Man Down G
Loch Lomond and Rd to the Isles G
Bonaparte's Retreat D

We then jammed on the following tunes:

The Swimming Song G
She'Beg She'More   D
Whisky Before Breakfast D
Clinch Mountain Backstep A
Hard Times D

29 August 2009

August Club Night

Before we could start the music we had to get the formality of our AGM out of the way. It didn't take long. Our Committee was elected unopposed, as follows:

President: Michael Stewart
Vice President: Alan Davies
Secretary: Alison Dew
Treasurer: Sue Davies
Ordinary Members:
Christine McDonald
Rick Sidgwick
Steve Martin
Greg Jenkins

Sue Davies presented our financial report, which shows a healthy bank balance.

Then it was time to start the music.
(Here's a slideshow of photos, just click on it if you want to see larger pics.)

Bruce got things going with Bob Dylan's You Ain't Goin' Nowhere, a good singalong song. This was the first of a few echoes from the highly successful Bobfest at Breizoz a couple of weeks ago.
There were lots of first-time performers (first time for the NFFC, anyway) and the first of them was Shane who gave us a lovely classical piece on the guitar. We folkies tend to forget that the guitar has a long classical tradition too!

Michael had travelled all the way from Selby so we gave him a go early in the piece. He wasn't too keen to be a solo artist but of course there were plenty of others ready and willing to join him in The Black Cat Piddled in the White Cat's Eye, Rita Baker's Polka and The Railway Hotel.
After his excursion to the exotic East last month with Omar Khayyam, Dave returned to the Australian bush tradition with Henry Lawson's The Fire at Ross's Farm. Greg J reprised his brilliant version of Dylan's Leopard-skin Pillbox Hat that went over so well at the Bobfest. Raymond (another new face at the NFFC) gave us an original, Who Needs Reality?...good question! Dave (another one) sang Lee Kernaghan's A Bushman Can't Survive followed by Christine with yet another Dylan song, the great classic Blowin' in the Wind.

Simon probably blew his chances of admission to the priesthood after belting out the satirical Jesus' Brother Bob to the amusement of all...well I think so!
Norm and Jordan (surely our first grandfather/grandson combo?) teamed up to give us Don McLean's Wonderful Baby, followed by our old mate Frank, back again this month with The Sun is Yellow, requested by Michael last month and Frank did not disappoint, with one of his finest songs. Georgina gave us a sneak preview of her support spot at next month's Breizoz gig with You Belong to Me.

Then it was time for everyone to get stuck into a gigantic chocolate cake to celebrate another significant event - our fifth birthday! As somebody remarked, after we had all had a slice or two of this decadent treat, the remains looked like yesterday's battlefield!

The fiddlers (Michael, Moira and Nicole) along with Richard on cello and Steve on double bass ushered in the second half with a bit of Mozart, played with lots of energy and flair, and in typical NFFC fashion little or no rehearsal! Very enjoyable, especially the facial expressions as the performers tried furiously to keep up with each other.

There was so much more but I will have to continue this another time as I am about to turn into a pumpkin when the clock strikes midnight. Please leave a comment if you were there, or even if you weren't...

17 August 2009

Mondays in Newport - Music of Course!

Every Monday night in Newport there is the sweet hum of Australian folk tunes being played by the Newport Bush Orchestra. When I was passing by last night I was drawn to the sound of music - lovely sweet melodies played by fiddles, flutes, whistles and mandolins, backed by a strong rhythm laid down by guitars and ukes. The group get going at 7.30 and except for a short break at 8.30 they concentrate on playing music. The Newport Bush Orchestra, under the direction of GReg O'Leary and Bruce WIlliams, is focussed on preparing for their next gig at the Northcote Festival and then they are playing all weekend at the Maldon Folk Festival. Both gigs should be lots of fun and if you are there make sure you go and have a listen to the NBO - if you are a local with a yen to play music on a Monday night call in and check it out - very friendly people who love playing music together. The photos show the reverie that comes from playing a 20 minute bracket of tunes!

12 August 2009

Annual General Meeting

Committee nomination form available for download, see below.

As we are now an Incorporated Association, we need to hold our first AGM and formally elect a Committee. The AGM is expected to last only half an hour and will coincide with our usual monthly club night.

Date: Friday 28 August
Time: 7:30pm
Venue: Newport Community Hall
15 Mason St
Newport 3015

Agenda: 1. Election of Committee

The following Committee positions will be filled by election:

    • President
    • Vice-President
    • Secretary
    • Treasurer
    • 4 ordinary members

2. Financial Report

Nominations for Committee

Any financial members can nominate for a Committee position.
Nominations must be received in writing by Friday 21 August.
Nomination forms must be signed by 2 Club members and the nominee.

Download nomination form.

If you need to have one mailed to you, please call Alan Davies on 9391 1103.
Please mail or deliver the nomination form to:

9 Anderson St
Newport 3015

If there are insufficient written nominations to fill all the vacancies, additional nominations may be received at the AGM.

Only financial NFFC members are entitled to vote.

03 August 2009

Lots of Festival Photos

There is now a big gallery of photos from the Newport Folk Festival available for viewing on Picasa.
Thanks to photographers Kevin Dunn, Nancy Belyea, Christine McDonald, Michael Reynolds, Zoe Davies and one anonymous person, if you see your photos leave a comment to tell us who you are...

See the photos

July Club Night

It was one of those nights where we had to keep getting out extra chairs to fit everyone in! There were 4 piano accordions, at least 10 guitars, 2 cellos, about 6 violins and a viola, not to mention the recorders, tin whistles, ukuleles, banjo and percussion instruments. Michael even banged out a few tunes on the piano up the back, but that wasn't until much later...

Alan got things started with I'll Fly Away which everyone promptly joined in. Nola's group from Altona gave us a couple of good old songs including their own unique version of Oh Susanna that got the audience going. It was really a night for joining in...I think everyone in the hall was either singing or playing along to The Water Is Wide.
It was great to have our Canadian friend Jill there for one last session before she goes back home, and a bracket of fiddle tunes - Canadian and other - was enjoyed by all.

Another familiar - and very welcome- face was Frank, who was a regular a few years ago. He brought his mate Russell along this time on piano accordion, and gave us a couple of his original songs. Welcome back Frank, hope to see you again!

There were a few new faces too. Jordan played the Beatles classic Blackbird - he invited anyone to sing along but he was so fast I couldn't get in! Another newcomer (didn't get his name) also took me back to my musical youth with Neil Young's Needle and the Damage Done.

Of course there were plenty of Bush Orchestra people there and Kathryn got them going with a few classic dance tunes. Dave departed from his usual Australian bush verse and gave us a few excerpts from The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam.

During the tea break we admired a large collection of photos from the Folk Festival shown as a slideshow on a couple of laptops. More Festival photos coming soon to this blog.

After the break the string players got together for an interlude of classical music, including The Queen of Sheba. With violins, recorder, viola, cellos and double bass it was a big sound! Danny wowed us all with his superb tenor voice as he sang The Minstrel Boy with string accompaniment and lyrics hurriedly sourced from the Internet.

It didn't even seem late when Alan wound things up at about 11:15 with the traditional Parting Glass and even then a determined group gathered around the piano for a few swing tunes before finally clearing out at about midnight.

It seems the Festival has created a new surge of interest in live music in Newport, and we hope to see everyone back next month for another big night!

30 July 2009

Letter about the Folk Festival

We spotted this letter in the local paper (Williamstown Advertiser) from James Howard - good on you Jim, thanks for the support! (Click on the letter to see a larger version.)

26 July 2009

Roddy Read Songwriting Award

Since we have quite a few songwriters around the club, this might be of interest.

One of the events associated with the Maldon Folk Festival is the Roddy Read Songwriting Award.

Entries close on 11 September.

Interested? See the Maldon Folk Festival website for details.

21 July 2009

Newport - NAIDOC and the Buddhists of Sunshine

The 'Newport Convention' bush dance band represented the NFFC at a highly
multicultural event last weekend. An Aussie bush dance was arranged (in
place of the ball held in previous years) for NAIDOC week. And it was held
at a Buddhist temple in Braybrook!

The band consisted of Neil Jolly (guitar, vocals, dance caller), Maryanne
Charles (guitar and vocals), Greg O'Leary(fiddle and mixing desk), Bruce
Williams (mandolin) and Steve Martin (double bass). We walked into the hall
past bushes which were trimmed into the shape of deer grazing on the lawn.
The organizer, Helen Rzesniowliecki (from iramoo.org) and the temple's AV
expert, Tony, quickly made us feel welcome. Thanks, the band were well
looked after.

The hall had an impressive sound system which Tony tapped us into, and he
helped us out by controlling the dance floor sound from his huge mixing
desk, and working the stage and hall lighting during the dance. What a

The hall looked great with paper lanterns festooned above the dance floor,
contributing to the multi-cultural flavour of the evening.

Neil and the band quickly got things warmed up with some songs and then Greg
explained how aboriginal musicians at Cape Barren Island had shaped a couple
of the Bush Orchestra tunes - which we then duly ripped into.

It was time for the dancing to get going, with Neil going up and down from
the stage, teaching the steps, getting the shy ones to join in, and calling
the dances.

The crowd took a couple of breaks for supper of turkish bread and dips (for
an extra dash of multiculturalism) and then muffins and slices for dessert,
all washed down with a nice cup of tea or coffee.

By the end of the evening the crowd had learned the barn dance, heel and toe
polka, circassian circle ('kangaroos and emus') and Blaydon races. The night
finished off with the Chicken Dance and the Troika (why leave the Russians
out of it?) just for a bit of fun.

It was great to see the smaller kids at the edge of the stage fascinated by
the instruments, and asking about them in the breaks. And one comment from
an adult that 'you don't hear that kind of music anymore'.

Steve Martin

ps. The Quang Minh Temple has a market each Sunday - well worth a look.

17 July 2009

Newport LIbrary at the Folk Festival

The Newport Library made us welcome in their space on Saturday morning. Dharma and I rarely get the change to work together and when we do we have a ball.
We discovered each other at the NFFC some years ago and quickly discovered a mutual passion for working with small people. So here we are at the Folk Festival singing and telling stories to no one above knee height.

WORDS, WORDS, WORDS, at the Newport Folk Festival

4 July, the Newport Bowling CLub was the venue for WORDS, WORDS, WORDS. THis open mic event was organised by the Storytelling Guild, (Vic) for the Newport FOlk Festival. Throwing caution to the wind, I MC'd the show with the help of Michael Reynolds and SImon Kerr - poet and teh man behind Passionate TOngues at the Bruncwick Hotel (who is also a photographer). For this I am thankful as I accidentally deleted all my pics from the day.
THe enthusiasm for events like this is overwhelming and I am in no doubt that we have WORDS again in 2010.
Our guests recited and sang - Lawson, original works, invited us to join the John SHaw Neilson Society, they tolk fairytales and chanted Aussie bush verse - we had it all!.
Special thanks to Stephen Whiteside for rearrangin his life to take a spot at the mic, JJ, Imelda, Claudette, Josie, Jim, Wnedy and Helen and Kala. SImon Kerr for his songs and Viv WIles, Mary Jane Wylie, James Howard, Matteo, Anthony Carey, Dave Davies and Lish

Jackie Kerin

09 July 2009

Newport Folk Festival - Many Thank Yous

The Folk Festival was a really good weekend of music dance and lots and lots of fun. We didn't get much sun, but we got lots and lots of music and many people reckoned it was well worth the effort to come over the Newport to enjoy what was on offer.

See photos on Picasa.

The RSL was jumping the whole weekend. I went in at 11pm on both Friday and Saturday and the place was full. Not a bad achievement given that Simon Leverton and the Black Forest Rogues got things going at 11 am on Saturday (thanks Simon) and Anthony Carey started things up midday on Sunday (thanks Anthony). Don Gula and Amelia Nada organised all the music, kept the show moving, invited Gerry Hale and his 2 bands (Uncle Bill, Innocent Bystanders) to play on the same terms as everyone else (for free), and they were still standing and smiling on Sunday night at the wind down session. Fantastic, and Don and Amelia are already on to the marketing of next year's event. With this sort of enthusiasm for live music the festival will continue to grow and grow. Thanks Don and Amelia – you have made a huge contribution to the festival and also to developing Newport as a cultural hub. Top stuff!

The Newport Bowls Club also proved to be a top venue. This year we had the opening session there, and then we were back for Saturday from 12 - 7.30. It has good acoustics, lots of space and, like the RSL, the drinks are at a very reasonable price. Thanks to Valmai Lewis and her committee for making us so welcome. Of course the performance items were the key to the venues success and I would like to thank Christine McDonald for organising the welcome session on Friday night, Jackie Kerin, Carla Nelson and team devising and organising the WORDS, WORDS, WORDS session (people came from all over Melbourne), to Gail Horsley for organising the Uke session and bringing Melbourne Ukulele Kollective over to Newport (even bigger and brighter than last year!) to Rob Durbridge for creating and running the 'Songs of Love and Resistance' session (one hour clearly wasn't enough and we will make sure it is a 2 hour session next year), and to Rob Broatch and Brendan Shearson for organising and playing in the Gyspy Django session (and of course to the other players - Steve Martin, Greg O'Leary, and Mark Donnelly - what a lovely way to relax at the end of a long festival day. To finish off the evening we enjoyed the music of Red Cat - many thanks Mike, Rob and Kerri for your entertaining and enjoyable performance to close the session. Many thanks also to all of the unnamed people who made sure that the tea and coffee were available, the dishes were done, and the sessions flowed easily and on-time. 'Many hands make light work' was certainly the case at the Bowling CLub and we are most grateful that people saw jobs to do and did them without being asked.

The Substation is an iconic building of Newport and it is a delight to see it being used as a community arts centre. We are very fortunate to have the Substation Market on the same day as the festival as this brings in its own crowd. A special thanks must go to Christine McDonald and Leonie Kervin for creating an exhibition of photographs of the Folk Club downstairs. These were a lovely selection of photos from the folk club's resident photographer (many thanks Kevin Dunne) and everyone who saw them enjoyed looking at the pics. What was not obvious was that Christine and Leonie spent hours and hours (working till 5am one morning) selecting, printing, mounting and hanging these pics. Next time you see them give these girls a hug - it was a huge effort and typified the spirit of the festival. Well done, and very professional.
The music in the Substation linked the various art forms on display and it was lovely to have such a variety of music and styles on show. Thanks for The Barber Shop Chorus (Danny O'Connell, Greg O'Leary, Bruce Williams, Alistair McCallum, Rob Durbridge, Ted Smith, Rob Richmond), Jill Dawson and Friends, Ted Smith, Jules Hutcheson, Suzette Herft, Gerry Co (Gerry Nelson, Barry Stillman and Tiffany Ball), Briar and the Rose (Maryanne and Neil), Russell Barret and Stump Jump (Steve Martin and MS) and the Willy Philly (Wilva & Anton Teese, Wilva, Barry & Tess Righetti, Nigel, ). Almost continuous music from 10 am - 4pm was a marvellous organisational achievement and we must thank Christine McDonald for keeping the show flowing and on time, and thank you to Greg Hammond for doing such a marvellous job with the PA - the sound floated throughout the building and it was just lovely.

Once the market was packed up Rob Broatch, Isaac Kervin, James Loveridge and Simon Dew got the PA's moving for the Bush Dance - thanks gents for doing the heavy lifting! This kicked off at 7.30 with some songs from Simon Leverton, Neil Jolly and Dave Isom throughout the night. The music for dancing was provided by our own Newport Bush Orchestra. Neil Jolly got people up and called the dances (great job Neil - thank you) and the Bush Orchestra was one heck of an orchestra numbering no less than 18 players who played the night with not a single sheet of music between them. Thank you to all of the players including Ronwyn Chesney, Alistair McCallum, Marilla Howkins, Rob Richmond, Dave Isom, Cathrine Tompkins, Greg Hammond, Chris Knoop, Bruce Williams, Wendy Love, Leonie Kervin, Lyn Shoobridge, Maryanne Charles, Steve Martin, Simon Dew, Simon Leverton, and our Canadian guest Jill Dawson. The music was great fun to dance to with a strong clear rhythm - it was a real credit to the Bush Orchestra and a special thanks must go to leader and teacher Greg O'Leary. Well done Greg for creating this unique cultural institution in Newport - more power to you! Another special thanks must go to our sound man on the night - Brendan O'Neill. Many thanks Brendan - the enjoyment on the dancers faces gave an indication of way in which you created a clear sound in a difficult soundspace - well done.

The Substation then came alive again on Sunday with The Choirs Festival- there was a big crowd (300+) in a big venue (the Substation) with lots of Choirs (9), lots of reverb even without the PA, and provided lots and lots of enjoyment - fantastic effort by Alan Davies for conceiving the idea, and then drawing so many people together and making the session a huge success. (I received a txt from my nearest and dearest YOU MUST GET OVER HERE! Which summed up the feedback I got about the gig). Well done, a big thank you to all of the choirs who supported the event and a thank you to Simon Kerr who MC'ed the event. And what next? (a Christmas Choirs Concert??)

Paine Reserve was again the venue for lots of music over the weekend. We didn’t get great weather but people came and played, and the audiences came out on both days, though not in such great numbers.
Thanks you to the Newport African Drummers for getting Saturday going with such strong rhythms out on Mason St. Many thanks to Peter Mile and the Hyde St Youth Band – what a great performance by this institution of the Western Suburbs who continue to produce and develop fine musicians. They got Paine Reserve swinging. Thanks to Nola Wilson and the children and parents of Newport Lakes Primary School – your set was absolutely lovely and quite polished. It wasn’t only the parents who thought you were great!

Then we had Gary Adams and the Adams Family Bands – Gary is very entertaining (and a little bit risqué) and those who came along for the show enjoyed Kylie’s #### and other Clip Clop Favourites. Thanks to the band of Steve Martin on Bass, Barry Stillman on Drums and Rob Broatch on the rockin’ electric guitar. Gary was followed by, a greatly contrasted with the sweet sounds of Parapluie – Tessa Clark and friends Bridget Meaghan and Angeline Armstrong – their own songs, three part harmony and plenty of confidence. They were followed by Georgina Stewart who played a solo set and then was accompanied by Bruce Williams and her dad for a couple of songs at the end. All is well with the world when young people are so skilled and enjoying sharing their music in public, and it augurs well for the future of the folk club. These young performers were followed by The Sisters Dahl with Rick Sidgwick, Alison Dew, Dharma and Llyn Shoobridge for a lovely set of old and newer tunes. Thanks to all of those performers.

Meanwhile back at the Senior Citizens Hall we had Russell Barrett and Anthea Davis who performed the Blue Balloon for the children, and also (at the Library) Jackie Kerin and Dharma told stories and sang songs to our youngest audience and their parents. These sessions really rounded out the program and ensured that we catered for all age groups and covered many of the art forms. Thanks Jackie, Dharma, Russell and Anthea for your energy and thank you to Rosemary Clark and the staff at the Newport Library for being such a supportive partner to the festival.

This year the tea dance was a real success. Ted Smith again threw himself into the organisation, marketing and dancing and we got people from all over the place who knew the dances, knew what they wanted (what about a St Bernard’s Waltz?) and really enjoyed the session. The Newport Dance Orchestra was lead by Greg O’Leary and included Rhonwyn Chesney, Brendan Shearson, Jill Dawson, Terri Hamilton-Smith, Eamon Spillane, Steve Martin, Christine Hunter, Llyn Shoobridge. It was a really strong dance sound, the dancers were happy and so was Ted! Thanks to all the musos, thanks Ted and thanks to the Kitchen brigade lead by Alan Davies. Well done.

What else? The 2 step dancing session lead by Pria Schwall-Kearney were fantastic. A small but enthusiastic group got a taste for moving to the fiddle tunes (thanks Greg for the accompaniment) on both Saturday and Sunday. Thanks Pria for coming over to our festival. The line dancing session on Sunday was another big success with the Newport Line Dancers, lead by Janis Farrugia. Thanks Janis – we really appreciate you being a part of our festival. It is good fun, includes a whole other group of people and really gets the energy of the festival moving. Many thanks. Of course there was also the Choir Workshop – Alan Davies lead a group for singing in his very professional way. This session was the catalyst for the starting of the Newport Choir and we hope to see some more people move from the workshop to the choir this year. Thanks Alan for another vibrant session of song.

There was also an un-timetabled ukulele workshop on Sunday morning that proved to be a hit. Thank you Nancy Belyea for asking for and organizing the session and thanks to Rob Richmond and others who stepped up to make sure that it was a success. Thank you.
We also had a songwriters workshop lead by Bruce Williams in the Community Hall. This was another session that quietly went about its business slightly ‘off Broadway’ but tapped in to people’s desire to play and share their music. Thanks Bruce for organizing and running this session – it is fantastic for musos to have a venue to try out and share their original material.
We (almost) finished off the festival with the concert in the Senior Citizens Hall. It was a lovely variety of musical styles featuring fiddlers Jill Dawson and Pria Schwall-Kearney, Georgina Stewart, and Angeline, Bridget and Tessa from Parapluie. Thank you very much for your performances. The concert finished with our guest artist, Anthony Leonard and his band. We have already seen Anthony’s playing at last year’s festival and it was a delight to have him back with his band. Many thanks Anthony for such a great show and please pass on our thanks to the band – Wendy, Jenny and Dave.
While we are at the Senior Citizens, I would like to thank Ray Whitehead and all of the Senior Citizens for welcoming us into the Hall and making us again feel so welcome. It is a really good hall to perform in and we appreciate having the use of the hall for the weekend. Thank you Ray.

Of course the festival would not have gone ahead without the support of our sponsors. We are very grateful to the City of Hobsons Bay Council for their support as our major sponsor, and in particular we thank Janet Dawes and Hazel Finnie for their morale and in-kind support leading up to and during the festival itself. Thank you very much.
We also thank the Newport Traders Association who again provided financial support for the festival and organized the Traders Market on the Sunday. Thank you very much to Elliot Daniel and Therese McKenny-Campbell for your continued support of the festival and we look forward to working with you throughout the coming year.
We thank Wade Noonan and his office for supporting the festival and his ongoing support of the Folk Club throughout the year, especially with regards to printing (this enables us to play the same notes at the same times). Many thanks Wade.
We would also like to thank Outlets Cooperative in Newport, and in particular Therese McKenny-Campbell, for being such a strong supporter of the folk club. Therese provides advice, support, and all manner of things to make sure that the Newport Fiddle and Folk Club develops and prospers. Thank you Therese and we look forward to working with you in the years ahead.

A final thank you to a couple of people who worked constantly over the weekend
– Wendy Durbridge was on deck washing dishes, organizing food and doing what ever needed to be done – thanks Wendy.
- Chris Knoop took on a couple of big jobs (getting, storing, erecting, pulling down and returning the Council marquees). This was no small commitment and Chris was still always ready to give a hand where needed – thanks Chris
- Sue Davies managed the money, spent much of the weekend on the information tent and was a huge part of making sure that things went smoothly. A sterling effort Sue and we thank you very much.
- James Loveridge is an Events Management student who offered his services for the weekend. Arrived both days at 9.30 and worked all day on whatever needed to be done. Thanks James and I hope you enjoyed the experience.

Last but not least of course is the folk club committee – Alan Davies, Sue Davies, Christine McDonald, Neil Jolly, Alison Dew, Chris Langshaw and Rick Sidgwick. The Committee has been together for a couple of years and have now organized two festivals. In that time we have developed into a cohesive group that is able to work together, draw on each others strengths, and help develop the folk club into a stronger organisation that is able to manage our growth and the challenges that come with extra demands. Well done and thank you.

It’s almost a week since the festival and we have all had to digest the weekend. If you have any thoughts, feedback or suggestions for next year they would be really appreciated, particularly if they are couched in terms of ‘we could do this’ or ‘have you thought of this’. The committee did a fantastic job, helped out by all of the supporters listed above, and so any positive comments you have would be also gratefully accepted. We are already looking forward to next year, and ways in which the event can be more engaging and more fun. If you have any ideas, we will take them on board (particularly if you have the skills to move from ‘why doesn’t the committee do ….’ to ‘I am able to do ……….’ and I could make it work. This is how the WORDS WORDS WORDS and the CHOIR FESTIVAL emerged.

Let’s see where this takes us next year


08 July 2009

Newport Folk Festival @ the RSL (a note from Don Gula)

G'day all,
Again I'd like to thank the people that organized, facilitated, attended and/or helped out with the 2009 Newport Folk Festival and I'd especially like to thank all those musicians that performed at the Newport RSL during the festival:
Angus Wynd
Anthony Carey
Simon Leverton's "Black Forest Rogues"
Blackwaterside (Neil Jolly, Mary-Anne Charles, Greg Hammond & Steve Martin)
Brendan Shearson
Bruce Williams
Coolgrass(Angus Golding, Bruce Packard, Doug Wallace & Jim Golding)
Craig Smith
Darren Steele
Edward Nass
Fat Chance & the Bluegrass Playboys(Andrew Barcham, Blair Webb, David Aumann)
Greg Hammond
Graeme Fletcher
Gerry Hale's "Innocent Bystanders"(Kim Wheeler, Mim Varden, Gerry Hale, Max Allen & Shane Ryall)
Jim Golding
John Boothroyd
Kenny Joe Blake
Kevin Parsell
Little Miss Country & the Kick Ass Kowboys(Jan Dandridge, Angus Wynd, Brendan Shearson & Don Gula)
Mary-Anne Charles
Maureen Beggs
Michael Stewart
Mick Coate's Johnny Cash Sun Sessions(Mick Coates, Oliver Dear & Don Gula)
Rattling Strings(Karen Doyle, Alan Blyth & Steve Doyle)
Rob Durbridge
Rick Taylor
Simon Leverton
Suzette Herft & band(Suzette Herft, Chris Lazarro, Colin Macleod & Don Gula)
Tim Hannan
Gerry Hale's "Uncle Bill"(Kim Wheeler, Gerry Hale, John Gray, Max Allen)
Vanessa Craven
Won't Go Quietly (Flora Lord, Bob Lord & Don Gula)
the Wind-Up White-Board Jammers . . .Anthony Carey, Anthony Leonard, Bruce Williams, Chris Lazarro, Colin Macleod, Dan O'Connell, Georgina Stewart, Gerry Nelson, Greg O'Leary, Katherine Tomkins, Leonie Kervin, Lyn, Michael Stewart, Newport Fiddle & Folk Club, Rob Richmond, Simon Dew, Simon Leverton, Steve Doyle, Steve Martin, Suzette Herft, Ted Smith and those that I can't remember (sorry).
The 2nd Newport Folk Festival was absolutely fantastic! Great musicians, great listeners, everyone contributed and had a fabulous time. If you missed it then you'll have to wait until next year's Newport Folk Festival which should be even bigger and better (if that is possible).

28 June 2009

June Club Night

It was great to see a few new faces in the circle as we sat down to get things rolling for the evening. Alan started things off with Minnie the Moocher, complete with "hi-de-hi"s from the crowd of course. Ted as always entertained us with some masterful finger-picking, on this occasion a Scott Joplin number called Meditation Rag. Even though only two of the Voice Male vocal quartet were there, they still got up and sang Wild Mountain Thyme and John Barleycorn.

Soon it was time for the Newport Community Choir to get up and do a bracket. They sang an old 'shape-note' hymn called Canaan's Land, a quodlibet (four songs all sung at once...strange and wonderful), a song from the Balkans called Dimna Juda Mamo and a beautiful Israeli chant called Aliyah. The choir always welcomes new members, have a look at the Activities page on the website for more details.

Moira showed the fiddle flag with a couple of American tunes, forming an impromptu orchestra clustered around a single music-stand. Not bad considering most of them had never seen the music before! The Newport Bush Orchestra kept the fiddling going with a few old favourite dance tunes that saw just about everyone joining in. Dave kept the old-time bush theme going with a dramatic recitation of Banjo Paterson's Mulga Bill's Bicycle.

There seemed to be a bit of a soulful, meditative theme to the songs, with Leonard Cohen's Dance Me to the End Of Love from Leonie and Christine, and Sisters of Mercy from Rick, followed up a little later with Neil Young's Comes a Time from John and Helpless from another band put together on the spot by Rob, Robyn, Karen and a few others. Robyn and Karen started off shyly in the corner but by the end of the night were leading us all in new tunes - great to see!

Bruce really got things humming with Clinch Mountain Backstep and Rob followed up with The Battle of New Orleans, a song from the war between the US and Great Britain that was fought between 1812 and 1815.
Many more songs were learned and shared, more than I could possible remember, before we wound up as usual with The Parting Glass at about eleven, with a few parting plugs also for the Folk Festival next weekend. See you there!

08 June 2009

Newport Bush Orchestra Takes to the High Seas!

The Newport Bush Orchestra gets around quite a bit these days. Not content with a weekly gathering in Newport, a few bush dances and the occasional festival, the NBO has now officially launched itself from land to water. The Polly Woodside was having a celebration of nautical life and so called the NBO to provide the vibe and the music. With a week's notice Captain Greg and his crew learned 'Sailors' Hornpipe', 'Drunken Sailor' and a set of hearty seafaring songs, got their sailors's garb from the closet (or opshop) and off they went. The 2 hours of music they played provided the perfect backdrop for all the visitors to this historic sailing vessell. A bit of ocean swell didn't deter the crew whose sealegs enabled them to take up a commanding position on old Polly. A great day was had by all - and the fame of the Newport Bush Orchestra keeps spreading further and further afield. The Colonial Dance at the Festival is coming up - Saturday July 4, 7.30 at the Substation - will be a piece of cake after this rollicking performace. (Thanks Leonie for the top shot!)

29 May 2009

May Club Night

This was a really outstanding night of entertainment, with many of our regulars plus a local barbershop quartet doing their first performance, storytelling, comedy, poetry, new people, new instruments, the famous 9-member 'barbershop chorus' and much more!

See more photos on Picasa.

Alan kicked off the night with The Water is Wide (everyone else seemed to know it too!). Then there was Greg H with his original song based on a Dorothy Hewett poem (there was a bit of a Dorothy Hewett theme as Dave later gave us a dramatic recitation of her poem Clancy and Dooley and Don McLeod.
Gail sang a lovely version of the Beatles song And I Love Her and then it was time for Kathryn to lead the Bush Orchestra in a set of dance tunes including Brown Jug Polka and Rita Baker's Polka.

Rob seems to have a great ear for songs that really work, no matter what the era or genre the song comes from, and tonight was no exception with a spine-tingling version of Dire Strait's Romeo and Juliet.

Then we heard from a new group - a barbershop quartet from Williamstown who have been rehearsing for a few months and chose us for their first public performance. They were great, hope they come back for another go!

Mira had brought her piano accordion this time and once again invited Greg O to join her in a medley of songs - what a wonderful sound!

The barbershop theme continued as we heard from the Barbershop Chorus (they can't really call it a quartet because there are nine of them). A big sound with some great harmonies and lots of good humour.

Speaking of humour, then it was time for the comedy writers who had attended Gary Adams' Comedy Writing workshop the night before to get up and do their stuff. They did not disappoint, with some wicked satirical references to recent news stories that filled the hall with laughter. Great to see our workshop program and the regular club nights come together like this.

Then there was Suzette with a medley of famous American songs, John with Summertime, Jackie with The Drover's Boy (a beautiful and poignant song by Ted Egan) and then a wonderful collaboration between Jackie and Greg J - Jackie told a story of the land-based whalers in NSW who for many years caught and killed Humpback Whales with the help of a pod of Killer Whales, then Greg followed up with a song of the NSW whalers.

At about 11pm we finished off as usual with everyone joining Alan in The Parting Glass. Its a great song to end the night, and this time we sang it in memory of Maurice Frawley (1959 - 2009), from Elmore, who was well known to those of us who have had a couple of trips up to Colbinabbin. Vale Maurice. http://www.messandnoise.com/news/3615654

It was an exceptional evening of jamming, joining in, playing, listening and laughing - and remembering. May there be many more such nights ahead.

25 May 2009


The Newport Bush Orchestra have a reputation that is spreading far and wide. After a successful year - appearing at 3 festivals, 2 bush dances and lots of smaller gigs, the NBO looks set to enhance it reputation as a truly international bush orchestra this year. Apart from playing at the Colonial Bush Dance at the Substation as part of the festival (Saturday July 4, 7.30 - dress 1880's style) they are now fielding enquiries from the other side of the globe. Yesterday they got an email from Anjo, Japan (Hobsons Bay's sister city) asking for a cd of their music and an instuctional video so that the good citizens of Anjo can learn the steps of the Australian bush dances. Bloody marvellous - we can just imagine the revellers hunting down their op shops to find appropriate gear and then get into the heel and toe polka. Neil Jolly is not in the photo - apparently he was heading off to Japan to call a dance next week (actually it might be next month by the time he swims all the way there (without a gps). Remember to say Konichiwa before each dance Neil. For those of you who can't get the Japan, the NBO will be at Polly Woodside this weekend, Federation square in June and of course at the the big Newport Folk Festival . The organisers of the event are pretty confident of getting a crowd - the Bush ORchestra is the crowd? Anyone interested in joining this now internationally recognised group can contact Greg O'Leary on greganol@optushome.com.au. Its good clean fun and you get to choose your own outfit!

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