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Spring into country concerts

by Suzanne Yanko

Spring has definitely sprung, and with it are thoughts of pleasant trips to the country for lunch. But why not combine lunch and a concert in our beautiful state? There is lots on offer this spring, so here are a few ideas to tempt you.

Our reviewer Julie Houghton started off on the first day of October, to hear the Melbourne University Choral Society and Box Hill Chorale at the lovely St Paul’s Anglican Cathedral in Bendigo  Sunday, in a  concert of sacred music by composers including Vaughan Williams, Howard Goodall, Charles Wood, Henry Purcell, John Rutter and more. Dean Sky Lucas was on organ and piano, with Box Hill Chorale accompanist Evan Cresswell and MUCS accompanist Jodie Lockyer. Vaughan Williams Five Mystical Songs,  (George Herbert poems set to music by the composer) featured young baritone soloist Christian Smith, and the concert was conducted by the acclaimed musical director of all three choirs, Andrew Wailes.

Julie has plenty more to recommend …. With a tour stretching through November, Melbourne Chamber Orchestra has a great reputation for their Victorian tours, and their Hamer Quartet will be playing a program of Beethoven and Dvorak, as well as a Victorian premiere of Lachlan Skipworth’s quartet, Yamagoe. You can catch them in Swan Hill Town Hall on Saturday 11th November at 7.30 pm, Albury Sunday 12th November at 2 pm at the Albury Entertainment Centre, and Sunday evening at 7pm at Mount Beauty Community Centre.

MCO is also featuring violinist Shane Chen in Letters from Tchaikovsky, which includes Serenade for Strings and Souvenir d’un lieu cher, at Sale on Saturday18th November, at 7.30 pm, Traralgon on Sunday 19th November at 2.30 pm, Hamilton on Wednesday 22nd November at 7.30, Geelong on 24th November at 7.30 pm and Yackandandah on Satudray 25th November at 8 pm, as well as a couple of Melbourne performances. Check it out at mco.org.au

Be careful not to miss the fabulous Port Fairy Spring Music Festival, happening next weekend, October 13-15. It has been running since 1990 when the late composer Michael Easton and pianist Len Vorster established it. This year it features pianist Anna Goldsworthy’s delightful biographical musical story Piano Lessons, and a musical journey with the soprano of the moment, Opera Australia’s Taryn Fiebig. And for those who love a good brass band, former bass trombone with Grimethorpe Colliery Band, now general manager of Victorian Opera, Andrew Snell, puts his bandmaster hat on as conductor of Darebin Brass – Preston Band. They will be bringing the very best of the English band tradition to Port Fairy.

So hop in the car or catch the train and head out of Melbourne for some fresh country air and good music!

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