An apology to those followers of this blog who just received a post entitled ‘Sydney Sings Messiah 2016’. Due to an error in the publication process this post had appended to it several unreviewed and unedited paragraphs that appear to date from a similar performance several years ago.

Please ignore them – they have no relationship with last Sunday’s performance.

On the blog web site itself, the SSM 2016 post has been edited correctly, and stands.

We hope you enjoy the – correct – article!

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On 13 November, the Choir organised its seventh Sydney Sings concert, a massed choir performance of Handel’s Messiah in the Sydney Town Hall, under the title, ‘Sydney Sings Messiah’ with support from the City of Sydney  This was the fourth time we had presented Handel’s popular masterpiece  in this format, the others being in December 2007, November 2010 and December 2012.This major undertaking will no doubt be the subject of audience reviews, not to mention internal reporting by our management team.  The present report is merely an impressionistic account by a participant, writing in the immediate aftermath of the event itself.

It was very noticeable that a real feeling of familiarity has grown up around the Sydney Sings events.  The Choir has come to regard the great old building as a home from home and the guest singers have developed into an informal wider community of the Grads.  They came from as far afield as Victoria, Canberra, the Southern Highlands, the South Coast, the Blue Mountains and the Central Coast. Many of them had sung with us before and the fact that they continue to return is a tribute to the musical experience provided by Christopher Bowen, the friendly welcome extended by the Grads, and the conscientious technical support offered from 2007 to 2012 by Catherine Crittenden (alto) and now by Marilyn Gosling (soprano).  The Joubert Singers of Hunters Hill, to whom I also belong, provided ten members of the guest choir, and they once again enthused about the experience. We have built up a reservoir of goodwill with our guests and it should stand us in good stead, as we look ahead to next year’s Verdi Requiem and An Australian War Requiem by Christopher Bowen on Remembrance Day 2018.

The guest choir numbered some 320 and, from inside the performance, seemed to do an excellent job, given the limited rehearsal time (on the morning of the performance – Christopher Bowen had, however, directed a program of detailed rehearsals for the Grads themselves over the prior 8 weeks) and the technical problems set by Handel’s score, with its long semi-quaver runs, so tough for a large body of singers.  There were many favourable comments from both members of the audience and choristers on the clarity of the choral sound and, in particular, the way in which the wide distribution of the choir all across the stage and up into left and right balconies allowed Handel’s choral lines to move around the hall in a strikingly stereophonic manner. Perhaps most dramatic during the final ‘Amen’, this was also most apt in ‘For we like sheep’ where we were not far short of needing  volunteer shepherds at the exit doors.

It is unusual to single out individual choristers but one member of the complement of Grads must be mentioned on this occasion: our music-loving Patron, Professor the Hon. Dame Marie Bashir AD CVO, had from time to time over the years expressed an interest in singing in a performance of Messiah.  Having laid down her responsibilities as Governor of New South Wales and Chancellor of the University of Sydney, she felt able to take our President’s invitation to join the Choir for this performance and did so with evident relish.  She was assiduous in attending rehearsals and studious in the concentration and effort she put into them. It was an honour and pleasure to have Professor Bashir sing with us and we look forward to her doing so again in the future.

An excellent quartet of soloists was engaged:  Anita Kyle (soprano), Tim Chung (alto), Andrew Goodwin (tenor) and David Hidden (bass). Anita had sung in our Israel in Egypt performance in December 2014 and our “Saxon Baroque” concert in August this year.  Tim had sung in an earlier Sydney Sings Messiah with us. Andrew had sung in our 60th Anniversary performance of Mendelssohn’s Paulus in May 2012, while David had also sung in Israel in Egypt.  These four singers sang beautifully and made a splendid contribution to the success of the performance.

A small but expert orchestra was engaged for the performance.  Kirsten Williams (Concertmaster) played with us in the Town Hall for the first time and she was joined in the first desk of the violins by the SSO’s Stan Kornel.  Michele O’Young and Inge Courtney-Haentjes completed an excellent First Violin section. Regulars, John Benz and Margaret Machamer (cellos) and Paul Laszlo (double-bass),  played once again, as did Duncan Thorpe and Anna Rodger (oboes).  Stan Kornel’s wife, Monika, played the harpsichord, while Peter Kneeshaw was the organist.   The Last Trumpet was sounded challengingly and faultlessly by Colin Grisdale.  Once again, the orchestral players gave an outstanding performance.   The Town Hall showed itself again to be an excellent performance space.

Christopher Bowen put in a heroic display on the podium. He was on duty from about 8.30 am until 6.00 pm and maintained a cheerful humour throughout, while he worked to obtain the sort of singing he required and went through points of detail with the orchestra.  And nary a cross word or a dark look.  And he conjured up what seemed like an outstanding performance.  Speaking personally, this was one of the most satisfying Messiahs with which I have been associated.  Bravo Christopher!

These ‘Sydney Sings’ concerts in Sydney Town Hall require an enormous amount of organisation, almost all carried out by SUGC volunteers. Over the months leading to Sunday the guest choristers were organised with characteristic friendliness and courtesy by a team led by Marilyn Gosling. Much of the logistics of the big day fell to Concert Manager Jackie Rotenstein and her large team of volunteers, with an extended Front of House team (including many from outside the choir) ensuring that the audience were properly looked after. A further team spent many hours over the preceding weeks ensuring that the program was of a suitably high standard. In fact there were far too many contributors to name. Overall at least 50 SUGC volunteers worked together to  make this event the success it undoubtedly was.

In this large space, the audience was modest but decent.  The Town Hall was more than half-full and those present clearly enjoyed the performance.  A number of our leading benefactors were present.  The indications are that Messiah will continue to attract singers and listeners for many years to come.

John Bowan

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News from our Orchestra

In addition to the engagement of Kirsten Williams as Concertmaster, another recent development serves to underline the exceptional quality of our orchestral players.

In May, when a cellist had to drop out late and at short notice from the orchestra for the von Suppé Requiem, our Orchestra Manager, Pamela Traynor was able to engage  Hyung Suk Bae, an SSO Fellow for 2016.

In the past few days, the great violinist, Pinchas Zukerman, has been in Sydney, playing a series of concerts with the SSO.  On 11 November, your correspondent went to the Opera House to hear Zukerman lead a performance of chamber music, including Mendelssohn’s Octet. The other performers included Andrew Haveron, the SSO’s Concertmaster, and Roger Benedict, the viola Principal.  Hyung Suk Bae was one of four SSO Fellows who joined this stellar group to play Mendelssohn’s  masterpiece, probably the greatest piece of music composed by a teenager (Felix was 16 at the time!)   The young cellist was clearly in his element in this company and we may hope that he will grace another of our performances before too long.


John Bowan

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Handel’s Messiah – An Interview with Christopher Bowen

It’s easy to imagine performing Handel’s Messiah as a routine venture. After all, nearly all of the 450 choristers will have sung it before, most of them many times. The orchestral players are professional musicians with impeccable credentials – SSO, Australian Opera and Ballet Orchestra – and Messiah is a standard part of the soloists’ repertoire.

That is not how Music Director and conductor, Christopher Bowen, sees it though. “Messiah is the best known classical choral work, which means that audience expectations are that much higher. Basic competency is simply assumed and tuning is scrutinised as listeners anticipate each melody.”

The choristers of Sydney University Graduate Choir – one of whom claims to have publicly performed Messiah over 100 times – have therefore been practicing the work hard since late August. “Part of my role is to renew singers’ commitment to this great work,” says Bowen, “whilst not allowing its sweeping emotional and spiritual power to ever shift their focus from very, very tight technical delivery. Ultimately it’s the audience who are paying for a great musical and emotional experience, whilst the choir should feel just enough to inspire.”

And how will Bowen be judging the success of the performance? “Well, I’m delighted with the soloists we have been able to secure, and it’s always a privilege to conduct musicians of this calibre. Sydney Town Hall is a tremendous venue that has heard many Messiah performances in its 125 years and I would like this to be one that the audience feels is fresh and full of vigour. It is in many ways a universal work, deserving of all of the energy that we can provide. I hope that is what our audience takes home with them.”

Christopher Bowen OAM will be conducting the Sydney University Graduate Choir and Orchestra with guest choir and soloists Anita Kyle (soprano), Tim Chung (alto), Andrew Goodwin (Tenor) and David Hidden (bass) in ‘Sydney Sings Messiah’ at Sydney Town Hall on Sunday November 13th at 3pm. Tickets from the Seymour Centre Box office or on the door $45-$25.


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SSO Plays Mahler at the Sydney Town Hall

As an organization, which in recent years has staged concerts in the Sydney Town Hall, and will do so again with Handel’s Messiah in November, the Grads  took particular interest in the news that the SSO and Philharmonia Choir, under David Robertson, were to perform Gustav Mahler’s Second  Symphony “Resurrection” in two performances in this grand old building in August.  Your correspondent was interested enough to attend the first of these on Saturday evening 27 August.

The instrumental forces on show were considerable, with some 120 players involved, including 65 strings and 17 woodwind.  There were also 10 horns and 10 trumpets, a good number of whom spent considerable time playing offstage. So this was a much larger orchestra than we deployed in our Verdi Requiem and Christopher .Bowen’s Australian War Requiem performances. The Mahler chorus, at 110 was smaller than ours for Verdi, but the large orchestra imposed a big space problem.

The solution was probably quite expensive but quite ingenious: the first dozen rows of seating in the stalls were removed and replaced by a temporary stage, on which the bulk of the orchestra was seated.  This temporary structure adjoined the choir stalls, which accommodated the chorus and the large timpani/percussion battery.

This temporary arrangement worked very well. The old building’s acoustic is outstanding and the performance looked spectacular. Back in the early 1960s, when Pamela Traynor (sop), the Choir’s Orchestra Manager, and I worked as very young officers in the ABC’s Concert Department and the SSO was an ABC body, the orchestra used to give all its Sydney concerts in the Town Hall. So this Mahler performance was like a pleasant trip down Memory Lane. The orchestra and chorus were excellent and the two female vocal soloists, Kiandra Howarth (sop) and Caitlin Hulcup (mezzo) outstanding.

The performance enabled one to imagine that evening in 1950, when the SSO and the Hurlstone Choral Society (from which the Philharmonia Choirs developed), with Valda Bagnall (sop) and Florence Taylor (alto), gave the Australian premiere of this symphony in the same venue, under the legendary Otto Klemperer. This might appear a little belated for a work that had existed since 1895 but it should be remembered that Mahler’s music, so fashionable these days, was little known until the 1960s. It was kept alive by the efforts of conductors like Klemperer and Bruno Walter, both of whom had worked as assistants to the composer. Leonard Bernstein was a major force in popularising Mahler’s music. Bernstein described his experience of having to promote it to an uncomprehending and unsympathetic Vienna Philharmonic, who had lost connection with it during the Nazi era, when it was banned because of Mahler’s Jewish origin.

The the SSO  Mahler concert confirmed that the Sydney Town Hall is acoustically, visually and historically an outstanding venue for concerts and that the Grads are fortunate to have established a foothold there.

John Bowan

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Saxon Baroque

The Choir’s August Great Hall concert for 2016 presented a program of two religious works from eighteenth century Germany: the Missa No.9 in D by the little-known Johann David Heinichen (1683-1729) and the Magnificat by the impressive but difficult to classify Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach (1714-1788), of whom Brett Dean has made the inspired comment that ‘he would be much better known if he had a different surname’. The Magnificat was not entirely new to us but Heinichen and his music were. Emanuel’s fast and florid fugal writing proved a great challenge to us, leading Christopher Bowen to say, on several occasions, that Baroque music was not suitable for a large choir like Grads.

The Choir’s very satisfying recent record of engaging excellent soloists for our performances was maintained in spades on this occasion, with the participation of an outstanding solo quartet, all of whom had sung with us before. Anita Kyle (soprano), who sang in Handel’s Israel in Egypt with us in December 2015. Ashlyn Tymms (alto), winner of our 2015 Joan Carden Award (JCA), who had sung in our performance of Dvorak’s Stabat Mater in May of that year; Ashlyn was back briefly in Australia from her studies at the Royal College of Music in London – she was delighted to be with the Choir again and we were delighted to have her back. Richard Butler (tenor), a specialist in this repertoire, had also sung in our Israel in Egypt and had been the Evangelist in our St. John Passion of August 2013. And Simon Lobelson (bass), who is also a veteran of our Israel in Egypt and our St. John Passion, who managed to fit in our gig, while appearing in Sydney Chamber Opera’s current production run of Notes from Underground. Unlike us, they had no technical problems with the vocal demands of the music; and, collectively and individually, gave irresistible performances.

L-R Christopher Bowen OAM, Richard Butler, Anita Kyle, Simon Lobelson, Ashlyn Tymms

L-R Christopher Bowen OAM, Richard Butler, Anita Kyle, Simon Lobelson, Ashlyn Tymms

Yet again, our orchestral players were exemplary. And so it was wholly appropriate that the Choir’s President, David Moser, took advantage of the presence at the concert of our esteemed Patron, Professor the Hon.Dame Marie Bashir AD CVO,  to organise the presentation of the Patron’s Award to Pamela Traynor (sop), the Orchestra Manager. Pamela had been severely tested over the preceding few days by the sudden and unexpected news that the designated organist would not be able to perform. After an intensive search and negotiations, she was able to offer the gig to Ross Cobb, organist and Music Director of St. Andrew’s Cathedral, who seamlessly and skilfully took over this important role with virtually no rehearsal. We are very grateful to him, as we are to all our instrumental players. Kirsten Williams, our new Concertmaster, led for the second time and is clearly enjoying the role. The playing of the strings was very fine. In both works, Bronwen Needham, our Principal flutist, gave ravishing performances of solos for her instrument. Heinichen’s Mass makes virtuoso demands of the horns and Graham Nicholls (Principal) and Paul Stiles met these with style.  Our trio of trumpeters, Leanne Sullivan (Principal), Owen Morris, the newly appointed Principal trumpet of the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra who flew across from Adelaide to take part, and David Pye took the opportunities provided by this Venice-trained composer’s brilliant brass writing to shine.

Patron's Award 2016

Pamela Traynor, presented with the Patron’s Award 2016 by Professor the Hon.Dame Marie Bashir AD CVO

Performers and audience alike were very taken by the Missa of Heinichen , whose music was a revelation to pretty well everyone – one exception to this was Christoph Kaufmann (tenor), who had suggested pairing it with CPE. Bach’s Magnificat. Christoph’s advocacy for Heinichen nicely paralleled Christopher’s enthusiasm for another Dresden court composer, Zelenka, whose Missa Dei Patris we performed in December 2013.

The audience was decent but short of a sell-out, despite David Moser’s urging on of the Choir to sell tickets. We were delighted to welcome Professor Bashir, who was very enthusiastic about the concert, and Joan Carden AO OBE,  who was particularly keen to hear Ashlyn Tymms again, the current holder of the eponymous JCA. Audience members to whom I and others spoke were particularly impressed with the Heinichen and generally enjoyed the concert, including the performance of the Choir.  This is no doubt a tribute to Christopher’s relentless insistence on correct muscular control and voice placement. We were perhaps a little daunted by the complexities of some of the singing demands made by these two Saxon masters, notably Emanuel’s long, nightmarishly difficult fugue on Sicut erat in Principio, which concludes the Magnificat. On the day of the concert, the omens were suddenly very positive, when some of us heard Colin Fox on ABC Classic FM’s Sunday breakfast program give a detailed, expansive plug for it. The bright, sunny day gave the lie to the generally gloomy forecasts. Professor Bashir’s warmly enthusiastic comments about Christopher, the orchestra and Choir in her remarks during the presentation to Pamela also helped to lift morale. In any event, we performed these works with great gusto and not a little skill. Final judgment will, as usual, await the recording. The Chamber Choir, with Ros Moxham once again taking some of the rehearsal load off Christopher’s shoulders, was given some of the more exposed passages to sing and did so beautifully. (One of the less salient outcomes of the concert is that, from now on, the Geelong Football Club will be known to Stephen Mills (bass) and your correspondent as the MagnifiCats).

All in all, this was a very successful venture by the Grads into unfamiliar but rewarding territory, following the exploratory journey in May into the terra incognita of von Suppé’s Requiem. It will put us in good shape to charge down the autobahn towards Handel’s Messiah and Haydn’s Die Schöpfung at the end of the year.

John Bowan


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Colin Fox on von Suppé’s Requiem

A few weeks ago, we sent a copy of the recording of our May performance of von Suppé’s Requiem to the respected ABC Classic FM presenter, Colin Fox,. In 2012 Colin had warmly praised our performance of Mendelssohn’s Paulus, praise we greatly valued.

von Suppé - Requiem

von Suppé – Requiem

Colin wrote to us on 21 August, commenting that he had listened to the first few numbers of the von Suppé work and was enjoying the work and the performance. He had earlier told us that he had never heard or heard of it, which adds force to his final comment: ‘What a find!’

Colin Fox’s enthusiasm is further vindication of Christopher Bowen’s judgement in proposing the performance of von Suppé’s work and a thoroughly deserved rebuff of those in the Choir, who had (almost) died in a ditch opposing its programming. Scoundrels! Philistines!

The Choir can take satisfaction from the fact of being held in good standing with someone as professional and informed as Colin Fox, as can be seen from the generous, detailed announcement he made on air for our ‘Saxon Baroque’ concert on 21 August.

John Bowan


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Anna Dowsley in Mozart’s ‘Cosi fan Tutte’

Earlier posts have reported on the rapidly developing career of mezzo Anna Dowsley, one of the Choir’s favourite soloists, since being highly commended by the judges in the 2012 Joan Carden Award and starring in our memorable Verdi Requiem in 2013 and, most recently in our outstanding von Suppé Requiem in May this year.

Nicole Car (left) as Fiordiligi, Anna Dowsley as Dorabella and Taryn Fiebig as Despina in Opera Australia's Cosi Fan Tutte. Photo: Prudence Upton

Nicole Car (left) as Fiordiligi, Anna Dowsley as Dorabella and Taryn Fiebig as Despina in Opera Australia’s Cosi Fan Tutte. Photo: Prudence Upton

Anna is currently performing with distinction in the role of Dorabella in Opera Australia’s (OA’s)current production of Mozart’s Cosi fan Tutte, the third opera in the trilogy of masterpieces composed by Mozart to libretti by the great Lorenzo da Ponte (the others are Le Nozze di Figaro and Don Giovanni). Your correspondent has attended a production and can confirm that Anna gave a classy performance in what is a classy production by the celebrated English director, Sir David McVicar.

Reviews for the production and for Anna have been warmly favorable.  Jo Litson, in Limelight magazine, wrote that “Anna Dowsley confirms her promise with another lovely comic performance, her silvery mezzo-soprano well suited to the role.” Peter McCallum in the Sydney Morning Herald, observed that Anna’s voice matches “the manic intensity and exaggerated passion of her character and she cuts through ensembles with thrilling definition” (Your correspondent is reluctant to differ with Professor McCallum but would offer the humble opinion that Anna’s acting on this occasion is the most balanced and convincing of her short OA career).

Anna’s performance is especially meritorious in that her character, Dorabella, is the confidante of and foil for Fiordiligi, played in this production by soprano, Nicole Car, the hottest name in opera in Australia at the moment. They made a brilliant pair and both of them received warm ovations from the audience. (There was also some lovely singing from tenor, Jonathan Abernethy, who was an OA Young Artist with Anna in 2014).

Anna’s performance in Cosi, as in earlier OA productions, indicates that she is completely in love with life on the opera stage, an impression confirmed by an ABC Radio interview she gave during an interval of a live broadcast of the production on Saturday, 30 July. With charming, unaffected enthusiasm, she conveyed a sense of passion for and delight in her new life.

It is great to see “our Anna” so obviously in her element and achieving such success on the big stage. This outstanding production can be whole-heartedly recommended to anyone looking for a rewarding evening at the opera.

John Bowan

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Introducing Kirsten Williams – Concertmaster

We are indeed fortunate to have the talented Kirsten Williams leading our orchestra. Not only is Kirsten a gifted musician but her charm and style give pleasure to both players and audience. As our new concert master it’s time to learn a little more about her.

Kirsten Williams

Kirsten Williams

Where were you born and do you come from a musical family?
I was born in Sydney. My mum was a fine pianist although she decided not to pursue music as a career, instead choosing English and History high school teaching. My dad (who was a feature writer on The Australian and later The Sydney Morning Herald) adores classical music and always has it playing on the radio at home. Much of my upbringing involved hearing my mum play the piano, particularly as we children went off to sleep, and the record player always had a concerto or symphony being played during Sunday lunch. My grandparents were keen choir and ensemble singers. My brother and sister both learnt music but chose medicine for their careers.

How old were you when you started violin lessons?
I was 4 years old when I started having violin lessons and played on an eighth size violin.

Your memories of music at school
I went to Pennant Hills Primary School where we fortunately had a string orchestra that my mum and some of the other mums started up. I then went to the Conservatorium High School until Year 10 which was when I started my diploma, the Diploma of the State Conservatorium of Music. It was a fortuitous time to be at the Conservatorium—there was a lot of emphasis on the actual learning of one’s instrument, access to two private lessons a week, orchestral and ensemble work and many performance opportunities.

Your studies in Switzerland…and did you ski?
I commenced Post Graduate violin lessons with Prof Igor Ozim in Switzerland when I was 19.He is one of the finest violin professors in the world, particularly good with the technical side of violin playing. I didn’t ski when I was there (actually I’ve never skied!). I was always taught to not take part in sports where I may break an arm or damage a finger!

You’ve played with some of the best orchestras…
I fortunately won a 1st Violin position in Covent Garden, London when I travelled there. It was an incredible experience and very busy schedule. Carlos Kleiber and Bernard Haitink were two of the conductors who were extraordinary to work with and many wonderful singers. I stayed there only for 6 months as I won a position with the Academy of St Martin in the Fields with Sir Neville Marriner as conductor and with leaders Iona Brown and Ken Siletto who also lead and directed the smaller conductorless ensembles.

When playing as soloist do you suffer from nerves?
I have always had to contend with nerves, since I was a teenager, I think it just goes with the territory. I have gone through stages where it has been quite crippling and have learnt various coping strategies that worked for me. These days I am rarely overcome with nerves, but—being one to always have to factor in a certain amount of stage fright—it means I am always well prepared for performances. I have also learnt to welcome a certain amount of adrenaline and to channel it into passion and joy in performing.

Favourite composer and piece
I have always particularly loved playing pieces, concertos, chamber works and symphonies of the Baroque, Classical and Romantic composers. Two of my favourite works are actually the Fauré and Brahms Requiems: the music is extraordinary and the combination of choir with orchestra is uplifting to the max!

Musical interests?
I am completely drawn to playing music in healing capacities and I’m always looking for where this might lead me. I have been playing to the premature babies at Westmead Children’s Hospital in the Intensive Care and High Dependency Units for a number of years now. I play very softly with a muted violin; I make up little lullabies and gently lilting music at around a heartbeats speed. I also set an intention for healing before I start as I am a strong believer that the vibration of our thoughts and intentions also impact our environments and those around us. Often the babies will become more settled with the gentle loving music and the parents seem to really enjoy it also.

For last two years I have travelled down to Goulburn for the day to teach disadvantaged children Grades 2 and 3 to play the violin. I try to get down once a week but it is sometimes impossible with my SSO schedule, nevertheless I get down there as often as I can. It is such a privilege for me to be welcomed in to help give these children the opportunity of music, to be present with them, simply because they are extraordinary despite the difficulties in their home lives and/or their emotional and mental challenges. All the little violins have been donated and are locked up in one of the classroom after their lessons.

What make of violin do you have?
I play on a beautiful violin by an Italian maker by the name of Raffaele Fiorini and it was made in 1857.The Sydney Symphony now own a fair few amazing string instruments and I have the good fortune of playing on this one.

Thank you Kirsten!


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Members will be aware that our talented and charming rehearsal pianist, Amy Putt, is a member of the Sydney-based modern tango quintet, that goes by the name of Tángalo. The quintet has no Hispanic members but aims for and achieves an authentic Argentine sound. They visited Argentina in 2014, as recipients of an Australia Council award, which gave them a great opportunity to immerse themselves directly in the culture of Buenos Aires and its tango culture.

Amy has promoted interest in Tángalo in the choir by selling its CD, which has the splendid title ‘Good enough for Gringos’ and can be recommended to any chorister silly enough not to have bought it yet. The ensemble gave a concert on 25 May for the Roseville Music Club, of which Andrew Mackenzie (tenor) is the treasurer, and a number of gringos from Grads joined the audience, which included quite a few members of other choirs, with which Amy works. The venue was St. Luke’s Presbyterian Church, a spacious, modern building with a good acoustic.

The five musicians demonstrated a number of skills–bandoneon, guitar, violin, double bass, flute, piano, vocals and arranging. The music presented was expressive and varied and included milongas, folk song and/ waltzes, as well as tangos. A couple of these were by the very popular tango composer (and darling of ABC Classic FM presenters) Astor Piazzola, one of whose pieces set words by Argentina’s great writer, Jorge Luis Borges.

Amy’s piano playing was technically assured and stylish and she obviously makes a central contribution to Tángalo’s sound and character. The ensemble’s co-founders, Emily-Rose Sarkova and Owen Salomé, are responsible for the bandoneon playing and arrangements, with Owen also doubling on flute and guitar, while Susie Bishop plays the violin and shares the vocals with Emily-Rose, and Johan Delin plays the double bass, both pizzicato and bowed.

In short, Tángalo are a terrific band. Grads members who have not yet acquired a copy of their CD, are urged to do so without further ado. It is to be hoped that the Choir will provide larger numbers of gringos in the future to swell Tángalo’s audiences.

Viva Tángalo!

John Bowan



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