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!

11 May 2009

Both Sides of the Newport Bush Orchestra

Monday nights in Newport seems to work beautifully for people who want to play music. The Newport Bush Orchestra has been going from strenght to strenght - 3 years after being established the group has performed at Folk Festivals, Bush Dances, Historic Celebrations for Steam Train, at the Folk Club and of course on the internet at youtube. While building a now substatial repertoire (with not a piece of sheet music in sight) the group has just quietly been attracting a couple of new players (a flautist here, a guitarist there, and a few more fiddles just for fun). Now whereever they go they are guaranteed a crowd (they are the crowd) and a heck of lot of fun in the bargain.
Greg O'Leary (with banjo) has been developing and refining their performance skills and Bruce WIlliams (mando - centre) has taken over the role of sound engineer as the NBO work on their first CD. Apart from having fun the group is getting seriously prepared to have more fun at the Newport Folk Festival in July this year, where they are centre stage at the Colonial Ball at the Substation (pictured right - check it out at thesubstation.org.au). This will be a highlight of the festival but also a great highlight for all of the people who have been working so hard to turn the building from a derelict shell to the Arts and Performance Centre that it now is.
The building has had its official opening (last December, has had art festivals and show, and now has its monthly Arts Market (first Saturday of the Month) but this will be the first time the place will be a venue for a community dance. So the Bush Orchestra will provide the vibe, Neil Jolly will call the steps and the place will be rocking!

So both sides of the Newport Bush ORchestra? One is the quiet, sit around and have a play, life is easy and mellow side. The other is High Performance, Dress Up and Entertain. Indeed the group has the Ying and Yang of Australian Bush Music well and truly covered. If you are interested in joining email Greg O'Leary at greganol@optushome.com.au. Also have a look at this blog next week - another picture of the group who will be dressed in full colonial gear (with Simon Dew who missed this week's photo shoot!)

04 May 2009

Newport Folk Festival July 3 4 5 2009

Planning is well underway for the second Newport Folk Festival and there is an air of excitement around town as the ideas area developing into a festival program. We have an international muso and great friend of the folk club, Jill Dawson, coming over from Canada specifically for the festival. Jill, pictured here with her violin at Niagra Falls, can claim responsibility for the time of the festival. She taught over here 4 years ago and when there was talk of 'one day' putting together a festival, Jill was insistent that it take place in July when Canada has its summer holidays. So she finishes school on the 30th of June, packs her bags and fiddle and will be in Newport to get things underway. Jill taught us the Canadian tune "Waiting for Emilie' and so we look forward to playing it with her again in Melbourne.

In addition to our overseas visitor the folk club has found come young local talent. Tess Clark and her group 'Parapluie' have been performing their own compositions around the traps for a couple of years and so we are very pleased to have them join this year's festival. THe group is pictured sheltering from the rain without their parapluie.

What else? The Festival is again sponsored by Hobsons Bay CIty Council (principal sponsor) the Newport Traders Association, and our local member Wade Noonan, and auspiced by Outlets Cooperative We are very grateful for the support of our community including the Newport Bowling CLub, the Newport Senior Citizens, the Substation, the Junction Hotel, Newport RSL and OUtlets Cooperative. Like all festivals it takes the community to work together to achieve something like this and we are pleased to be part of such an enthusiatic community in
Other news - the Newport Bush Orchestra (now numbering 20 players) is recording their first cd under the direction of Greg O'Leary and Bruce WIlliams. The cd will be released at the Festival and available for purchase (so the pressure is on). The Bush Orchestra will play for the dance on Saturday night (July 5 at the Substation) so this is certainly one for the diary. Apart from that, lots of other projects are going on (drawing, workshops in Mando, Fiddle, Comedy, Dance) which will lead to contributions at the festival and the draft program should be available online within a week. Should be great fun!

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