Saturday, August 05, 2017

School dances and a cushion concert

Last night we finally had our first taste as parents of a combined schools performance when we attended the Sutherland Shire Schools Music Festival. Alex had joined the boy's hip hop group at school and they, along with a number of other schools, were performing dances at the festival.

Having seen the boys and senior girls performing the past few days at the local shopping centre and school open day I must say my expectations were low. Right from the start I was blown away by the talent and energy of many of the student dancers in a real performing environment.

It helps that they started with some John Williams music from Harry Potter. Though what was the idea playing the opening to Star Wars for a dance named "Borg" (and yes there were sound grabs of Locutus)? Obviously a proper education in scifi is lacking in our public schools!

Speaking of John Williams, I woke up this morning and spotted an Instagram advertisement for the Sydney Symphony Orchestra playing Star Wars live in concert early next year. A dream come true! I immediately snapped up some tickets.

The music continued with an afternoon concert today in Petersham Town Hall listening to The Metropolitan Orchestra performing music from movies and a couple of original compositions. This was a cushion concert for families, with patrons encouraged to bring rugs and cushions and sit on the floor up close to the orchestra. One of Alex's school friends joined us.

I'd heard the Metropolitan Orchestra perform the Doctor Who Symphonic Spectacular at the Sydney Opera House back in 2012 and was impressed with their professionalism. Being so familiar with film music as I am it is difficult for me to listen to it being played poorly.

No such problem here. The Metropolitan Orchestra were magnificent with a fantastic sound. Sitting up close we could feel every note, every percussion. More than that, they looked like they were having fun.

Every orchestra member was dressed up in some superhero or movie costume. There were Minions on Double Bass, Dorothy Vader on violin and Indiana Jones on the drums, to name just a few. All lead by their conductor, Princess Else, aka Sarah-Grace Williams.

They played Superman, the Raiders March, the Flying Theme from ET, Batman, Star Trek: The Motion Picture and a medley from Frozen. Of special note was the soloist in Gabriel's Oboe from The Mission. He played with exquisite precision, beautiful.

There were also premieres of two original compositions. The Vikings, composed and performed by one of the orchestra's French horn players was very easy to listen to and I could easily imagine it accompanying a television documentary on the warriors. Bedtime Stories was more classical in nature, with hints of Holst.

The concert ended with the Star Wars main theme, reminding me just how exciting next year will be.

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