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

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