A MALE choir formed five weeks before its first and only performance on the Mornington Peninsula has been praised by award-winning Australian composer Katy Abbott.
Peninsula Chamber Musicians’ 40-piece orchestra and the 25-voice choir performed Abbott’s Stars That Split The Night at a concert in Mornington on Sunday 18 June.
The composer, a senior lecturer in composition at Melbourne Conservatorium of Music whose works are performed by Australian, American and Canadian symphony orchestras and ensembles, said “the choir sang from their hearts in full voice. It was very moving and wonderful”.
Stars was reorchestrated especially for the PCM concert by Joe Twist, music supervisor of popular animated TV series Bluey.
The Rhapsodies concert was the first large public event at Padua College’s St Clare Performing Arts Centre in Mornington. It was held in the double-volume theatre before an audience of almost 250 people.
The male choir backed mezzo-soprano Katrina Waters in two other items – Brahms’ Alto Rhapsody Op 53, and rock band Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody.
The first two items were Debussy’s Premiere Rhapsodie (with clarinet soloist Paul Jenkins, Padua’s director of music) and Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue (with piano soloist Benjamin Martin).
Rhapsodies was supported by a Mornington Peninsula Shire Council performing arts fund grant.
The fund is supporting 11 other projects this year including innovative theatre, live music, music videos, band recordings, filmmaking and dance performances for audiences of all kinds, young, middle-aged and mature.
PCM president Katrina Waters said the grants reflected “the council’s visionary support of a community intensely engaged with the creative arts – the fourth highest participation rate in arts and culture in Victoria”.
Audience member Margaret Brown, founder and conductor of Mount Eliza-based Bel Canto Choir, who was not involved with the PCM concert, said the “varied program showcased fine musicianship, each item enhanced by a fine selection of soloists”. The male choir was “well-prepared”. “I thoroughly enjoyed the concert.”
Choir member David Keystone, a teacher at Balnarring Primary School, said he had enjoyed working with the chamber musicians. “I have rediscovered my voice. It was an amazing experience being guided by conductor Tom Pugh [director of music at Flinders Christian Community College] and choir facilitators Jenny Stevenson, Thaddeus Huang and Tim Mallis.”
Fellow chorister Silvio Vitale, former long-time principal of Mornington Primary School, who is lead singer in the rock band Headmasters Apprentices, said being in the choir was a “fabulous experience”.
“I’m used to belting it out with the band, but having to sing precisely was very rewarding and uplifting,” he said.
PCM has concerts in September and November at Flinders, Rosebud and Mornington. Details: peninsulachambermusicians.com.au