REGIONAL TOUR BLOG
7: A big day!
Today we rose to a very gloomy and rainy Moranbah. Our woodwind, brass, percussion and bass players all struggled out of bed to get ready, with multiple layers on and raincoats on for those who were lucky enough to have remembered theirs. Horn player Anita Austin was once again spotted getting her morning warm up in but, this time it was out the front of our accommodation whilst she waited for everyone to turn up.
Once all our musicians had been accounted for we made our way to the Moranbah Community Centre facilitate a concert band workshop with nearly 600 local musicians of Moranbah State School, Moranbah State High School, Dysart State School and Dysart State High School and Clairemont State School. First, we rehearsed with the joint junior and senior concert bands where we rehearsed two charts Day Dream and Marchus Maximus. Local Moranbah teacher Emily Walker conducted the workshop and she had our QYO musicians help explain to each player how to differentiate between legato and staccato notes as well as how to blend with the player next to us.
After this, we then went into a workshop with the senior concert band. We worked together to prepare two pieces for our concert that evening Hand Clap and Adrenaline Rush. Whilst we were rehearsing, the string players slowly made their way to us whilst the rest of us watched them in slight jealousy because they were fortunate enough to have a sleep in.
Once our workshops had finished, we all quickly helped to pack up and load our truck up so that we could make our way to Moranbah East State School for an educational concert for the schools students. When we arrived at the school, we had a quick morning tea break so that we could have some sustenance for our concert. Then we set up the stage ready for the performance whilst groups of students started piling in.
The concert started with Sergei introducing the ‘smallest’ instrument of the string section, the Double Bass. At this point, we started wondering when this joke would get old but, the school students loved the joke which confirmed that it’s clearly a more funny joke than we all think it is. Dakotah Love, one of our cellists, then came to introduce the rest of the string section calling on the students to try and work out with instruments were ‘high’ and which were ‘low’. Then she introduced the first piece being performed, The Swan, asking the students to close their eyes and try to imagine a story, or feeling to the music. The students described seeing boats on the river and some said that the music made them feel sad. Next was an introduction of the woodwind section where Sergei once again exposed the flute for being the only instrument in the woodwind section that wasn’t made of wood – another joke we think is starting to get old!!
Then once again, the brass made their grand entrance. Once everyone had settled down, we performed Rossini’s Overture to Barber of Seville where Sergei explained that this piece was by a dead composer. Then Sergei introduced John Rotar, describing him to the students as an alive composer, so that he could introduce his piece. John’s piece follows the story of how a tiger got his stripes which encapsulated the student’s attention. Sergei then asked if anyone had ever met a princess – the full 550 students all started screaming with excitement anticipating what was about to come. The orchestra played a grand introduction and then suddenly, a voice appeared from the back of the hall – it was Nina, a beautiful opera princess. Nina the progressed towards the front of the orchestra, the entire time managing to keep the student’s in complete awe.
To follow was a performance of Copland’s Hoedown from ‘Rodeo’ where Sergei described that the music had horses, birdies and ‘moo-cows’ featured in it. At the end of the concert our musicians brought their instruments out to the students so that they could play them, and princess Nina had a crowd of students wanting to meet the ‘real-life’ princess.
We then had a quick lunch before we commenced our second concert for the day – an educational concert, identical to our one we performed earlier in the day, for the musicians of Moranbah State High School, Dysart State School and Dysart State High School and Clermont State School. After our performance we had a Q&A with the musicians.
Then we had a short rehearsal with Graeme Connors in preparation for our concert in the evening. Once our rehearsal was over we went back to our accommodation to quickly get changed into our blacks. We all loaded onto the bus in our blacks and arrived back at the Moranbah Community Centre (all in the space of 30 minutes due to a very quick turnaround). We had a very short rehearsal with Clermont Community Choir and the Moranbah Community Choir where we rehearsed I still call Australia home and Count on me. We then had dinner which was prepared by members of Moranbah Arts. We were spoilt for options which made the deciding what to get very difficult.
The first half of the concert featured our joint concert band, then we performed with Clermont Community Choir and the Moranbah Community Choir and then we performed our own set.
We then had an interval and after that Graeme Connors joined us on the stage. Graeme sang a set list that featured Only a cowboy could, Could be Monday, Cyclone season, Fireflies, The one that got away, A little further north each year and Every day I move a mountain. Members of our orchestra joined the Clermont Community Choir and the Moranbah Community Choir to provide backup for Graeme in We’ve done us proud. After the concert we all lined up for photos with Graeme.
Tomorrow we have a very big travel day – we will travel to Glenden to perform an educational concert then travel to Ayr.