24 February 2010

Blackwood fiddlers weekend

The Blackwood Fiddlers Convention was held last weekend, and the NFFC was represented there by many of the usual suspects. I dropped by on the Sunday afternoon, and saw Greg O' Leary who had just finished a workshop, Marilla and Annette relaxing and soaking up the vibe, and Bruce, Leonie, Isaac, Michael de V and (Christines brother) Gerard having a bit of an old-timey jam next to a camper van. We got up and did a small set in the blackboard concert, with special guest spot from 'Lester' the wooden tap-dancer.

see photo (taken by Ann)

Lester is pretty shy - he is hiding behind a mike stand.


23 February 2010

Music In Newport - Lots Happening in March

A note to remind you that the first monthly session of the folk club is on this Friday night. After the sell out concert of Bruce Williams at Breizoz it seems there is plenty of interest in live music so we can expect a big night.

Alan and Christine will lead the music (I have work commitments so my apologies) and during the break they will canvas ideas for a Chalk Board session (once a term, once a month?) so if you have any ideas they would love to hear what you have to say (esp if you are interested in helping out with the organisation of the night. The Newport Scout hall has been proposed as a possible venue – hopefully after discussions on Friday night a decision will be made re a time and place.

Other news of music in Newport
- Greg O’Leary was featured in an article in The Star newspaper last week (see the blog for story and photo links)
- The Bush Orchestra is off to Williamstown to welcome the Tall Ships into Melbourne. If you don’t get down there (11am docking time at the Pirates Tavern site near the police station) there’s a chance the ships and the music will be featured on the news
- We have confirmed our 5 workshops for the year. These are Gypsy Violin (Sarah Busuttil) 5 String Banjo (Peter Somerville) Intro to Uke (Alison Dew) Stage Craft and Performance (Jackie Kerin) and (you asked for it) a Yodelling Workshop (Mel Webb). We are very pleased to be able to offer workshops with such talented people and we are confident that they will each add to the skills and enjoyment of music in the club. Workshops will be May / June and dates to be confirmed by the end of the month.
- The Newport Lakes Bush Dance is well into the planning stage – keep Sunday March 21 free
- Parapluie is going into the studio to record their first cd – after their performance at the Carols night they received an invitation to record their songs professionally so this could be the start of something really big for the girls (who are also playing at the Run for Life event coming up in March
- Lots of trios, quartets and other collections of people getting together to make music this year – lots of new music to look forward to
- Nick Charles and Georgina Stewart were off to Breizoz today to do a photo shoot for the next Breizoz (2nd Thursday of March). On the evidence of last month’s effort it might be very wise to book a seat (the booking system should be up and running this month so if you are booked you will be guaranteed a seat – if you are not booked you mightn’t get in!)
- Don’t forget the Substation Market first Saturday of the month – lots of great music to pass the time as you look at the stalls and enjoy Newport’s landmark building.
- And the RSL is always firing with good local and live music – every Wednesday night from 7.30 and then the second Sunday of the month for Music and BBQ from 12.30 – always a good atmosphere and lively hospitality.
Lots on for music lovers over this way.
Have a top night Friday and I look forward to reading all about it and seeing the pics while I am away
See you around for some music some time soon

BO at the Tall Ships

Tbe BO did us proud today at the docking of the Tall Ships. 16 members found a way of ducking work to be there, all costumed up to provide a really fat and rollicking sound. Nearly all our material was Australiana and the tunes slotted together seamlessly. Songs by Simon Dew, Dave Isom, Mike Stewart, engaged a broader public and the tunes had crew members doing jigs on the deck of the Stad Amsterdam. A perfect day.
Thanks to Mike S,Alan,Dave,Annette, Marilla and her tooth,Rob R, Alasdair,Wendy,Rob D,Chris and Cristina (very nautical),Bruce S, Christine McD.,Kathryn.
I always hoped we could provide a more authentic feel to these sorts of ceremonies by playing more appropriate tunes. Jim Seymour, one of Australia's earliest recorded trad musicians, as a child in the 1890's, played "What Shall We Do With the The Drunken Sailor" to visiting tall ships on Station Pier. Our version was carrying the tradition forward by 120 years....not bad!

22 February 2010

Tall Ships and the NBO - A beautiful morning in Williamstown

Bush Orchestra Monday 22/02/10

Present: Leonie, Kathryn, Rob R, Chris K, Christine McD, Christine H, Pam, Annette, Helen, Bruce S, Greg O, Wendy, Alasdair, Simon D, Bruce W, Gyrah, Czarline, Zion, Zymone, Czarina, Athaliah, Mary-Ann, Rhonwyn, Rob D, Dave I.

In the first half tonight we ran through Moonan Flat, Gardebylaten, God Bless You and Bugger Me, Sally Sloane's Mazurka, Sofala Cuckoo.

After the break we ran through the above as the full orchestra and then moved to a nautical theme for the big Tall Ships gig tomorrow. Tunes included the Captain Pugwash Theme, and the old favourite What Shall We Do with a Drunken Sailor.

Click on this link for further info on the Tall Ships Festival.

As a finale, Mary-Anne sang a great tune about young boys leaving school to work in the mines, Dave sang an oldie, but goldie...Feelin' Cheryl McGraw and Leonie finished with the Crawdad Song.

That's it for this week. Yo heave ho and avast ye landlubbers! See you at the Tall Ships.

Bruce W

21 February 2010

Greg O'Leary featured in "Star" Newspaper

You may have noticed Newport Bush Orchestra leader Greg O'Leary featured in the pages of the Star newspaper recently. If not, here is the article online . Thanks to Anonymous for the tip about the photos, here they are. Great stuff Greg!

15 February 2010

Bush Orchestra Monday 15/02/10

Present: Leonie, Kathryn, Rob R, Chris K, Christine McD, Christine H, Pam, Annette, Helen, Bruce S, Michael d V, Greg O, Wendy, Alasdair, Simon D, Bruce W, Gyrah, Czarline, Zion, Zymone, Czarina, Athaliah, Marilla, Mary-Ann

Tonight we worked on Sofala Cuckoo and also ran through Jack and Lil, Syd Briggs, White Cockatoo, The Gervasoni Waltzes, The Gallopede, Black Cat, Drover's Dream, God Bless You & Bugger Me, Sally Sloane's Mazurka, Railway Hotel, Old Schoolmaster, Rita Baker, Waltzing Matilda, Watching the Cattle, Herb's Jig, West Clare Jig, Cunnamulla Stocking Jig.

Greg also announced that he will be doing a fiddling workshop this at 12 noon, Sunday at the Blackwood Fiddlers Convention

11 February 2010


The joint was jumping last night as Bruce 'Bubba' Williams and friends tore apart the Nelson Place pancake eatery and put it back together with their own brand of Rockabilly glue. Ably assisted by his pals, Greg on drums and guitar and Chris raging on pyrotechnic mouthharp with Don Gula riffing and popping on bull fiddle they rocked the absolutely packed out house with their mix of home grown blues and jug rock. The scintillating and inspired picking of Williams set the scene for a great couple of hours of partying, letting the good times roll and roll and rock some more.
Also nestled in amongst that maelstrom of music was the fiddle of Grumpy Greg O'Leary and the superb banjo of Jim Golding of Coolgrass fame.
Bruce moved to Newport to get more involved in the musical activities that are becoming a hallmark of Western Suburbs culture, and last nights' contribution and the amazing turnout shows how well he has succeeded in becoming a local hero.
This was the first in the series for 2010 and based on last night it would be wise to book ahead for the next one. Bruce will be back as a member of our very own Barbershop Chorus and as co- leader of the Newport Bush Orchestra, both scheduled to perform at Breizoz later in the year.
Greg OL

Breizoz 11 Feb 2010

A huge night to kick off 2010! I have posted this short clip of Bruce William and friends

cheers, Steve

08 February 2010

Tall Ships - and Music of Course!

The last week in February brings the excitement of Tall Ships to Hobsons Bay. The big news this year is the arrival of the Stad Amsterdam which calls into Melbourne as part of an around the world voyage essentially recreating a journey made by Charles Darwin.The Stad Amsterdam is an impressive ship, one of the finest in the world.

The Stad Amsterdam is joined by the Young Endeavour from Sydney, the One and All from South Australia and Melbourne's own Enterprize.

A sailing spectacle is assured when the Stad Amsterdam arrives,http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stad_Amsterdam (conditions permitting at 11.00am on Tuesday 23rd February), the Young Endeavour, One and All and Enterprize are aiming to go out in the bay earlier in the morning to greet her, so that they can sail into Williamstown together.

The ships will be welcomed by the mayor, local dignitaries and of course the Newport Bush Orchestra who will be there with bells on (actually, and more appropriately dressed in colonial sailing wear) and playing the exact same tunes that were played on the docks of WIlliamstown 100 years ago welcoming visitors to this great land. It will be a hoot - byo cameras as there will be lots and lots of photo ops.

For further information on the ships schedules and viewing times visit or call the Hobsons Bay Visitor Information Centre, Commonwealth Reserve, Williamstown.
LOCATION: Seaworks, 82 Nelson Place, Williamstown
CONTACT NAME: Hobsons Bay Visitor Information Centre PHONE: 9932 4310
EMAIL: visitorinformation@hobsonsbay.vic.gov.au
WEB: http://www.tallshipsvictoria.org

Bush Orchestra Monday 08/02/10

Present: Leonie, Kathryn, Rob R, Chris K, Christine McD, Christine H, Rhonwyn, Pam, Dave, Annette, Helen, Bruce S, Rob D, Michael d V, Greg O, Wendy, Alasdair, Simon D, Bruce W, Gyrah, Czarline, Zion, Zymone, Czarina, Athaliah

We reviewed God Bless You and Bugger Me and Sally Sloane's Mazurka prior to the break.
After the break we got the rhythm and melody groups together to play both tunes.

We also ran though the general repertoire including: Black Cat, Railway Hotel, Old Schoolmaster, Watching the Cattle, Gervasoni Waltzes, Rita Baker, Herb's Jig, Cunnamulla Stocking Jig, The White Cockatoo,West Clare Jig and finished off the evening with a few old time tunes including, Clinch Mountain Backstep and Whisky Before Breakfast.

Many thanks from Greg, Bruce and Michael for the certificates of appreciation presented to them by the Sisters of Zion Fiddle Group!


04 February 2010

Choir in fine voice for 2010

It was a great start to 2010 with 18 people at the first Newport Community Choir rehearsal. Much as we miss the space and atmosphere of the Baptist Church, it's kind of fun to be back where it all began at Outlets. Old hands and newcomers alike settled down to the business of warming up our voices, reviving a few old favourites such as Pick a Bale of Cotton and the All Night, Swing Low Quodlibet and starting on a new song, Roof Rack. Looking forward already to our gig at the Williamstown Festival!

Bruce Williams at Breizoz

Hi folks,
Come and hear our own Bruce Williams and friends at Breizoz in Williamstown.
7PM Thursday 11th Feb.
Going to be agreat night. GregH

02 February 2010

Bush Orchestra Monday 01/02/10

As Michael mentioned the Bush Orchestra kicked off with a bang for 2010.

Present: Wendy, Marilla, Pam Rhonwyn, Kath C, Kathryn, Dave, Simon, Chris H, Chris K, Rob R, Rob D, Helen, Leonie, Bruce W, Bruce S, Llyn, Alasdair, Greg, Annette.

Tunes played: Black Cat Piddled in the White Cat's Eye, Rita Baker, West Clare Jig, Herb's Jig, Cunamulla Stocking Jig, Gardebylaten, Gervasoni Waltz 1 & 2, Syd Briggs Lead Up

We also discussed the general direction for this year. Here is the gist of it:

As an experiment we will run 2 nights this year

Monday 7.30 to 9.30

General Bush Orchestra - organised as follows:
First half 7.30 to 8.20 split into 2. Bruce works on Rhythm
Greg revises melodies from our past repertoire for the present anyway
Second half 8.45 to 9.30
All together work on tunes and orchestration and songs. Build and strengthen repertiore.

Tuesday 7.30 to 9.30

Beginners night to build ear skills in beginners and teach tunes.
All are welcome to both sessions. beginners pay same as regulars. The only proviso is the emphasis
Beginners session goes at the pace of the slowest (within reason)
Our Monday session assumes a modicum of skill.

Upcoming Events - Bush Orchestra and otherwise

Feb 19/22 Fiddler's Convention Blackwood
March 13/14 Echuca Celtic Festival weekend
March 21 Newport Lakes Bush Dance - Newport Bush Orchestra
Easter National Folk Festival - Canberra -

Whew... that's about it for now. I'll try to list Bush Orchestra attendees, tunes played and other relevant info here on a weekly basis.

Bruce W

01 February 2010

Bush Orchestra kicks off for 2010

Well here's the evidence - the music has well and truly started in Newport for 2010. Greg O'Leary and Bruce WIlliams and by my reckoning almost 20 players got stuck into the terms work of playing music and having fun. The group always takes great pics after they have been playing for an hour and these photos give some sense of the fun that is the Newport Bush Orchestra. The Bush Orchestra seems to have been around for long enough to be called a local institution (not of the lock up kind) but on checking the records the first public performance of the NBO was in April 2006so it is just coming up for 4 years - and going very strong. The NBO already have a gig booked up in Northern Victoria this term for what looks like another busy year of playing and contributing to the local and wider communities. If you are intersted in joining the NBO come along on a Monday night and check it out - guaranteed to get the blood coursing through the veins.

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