Category Archives: music

Mark Oates and the Daniel Brunner Pretty Big Band

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Don’t quite know what happened, but a post I wrote earlier about my brother-in-law’s gig in the Adelaide Fringe Festival seems to have disappeared… This is him – Mark Oates.

The show was fantastic! They performed two sets of swing music including some standards and some lesser known pieces. I know that I’m biased – seeing as I love my brother-in-law very much – but by the way the audience responded, everybody agreed that it was a terrific show. So much talent on one small stage – it was awesome.

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So now, very belatedly, I’d like to share some images of the show with you.

The very talented Daniel Brunner is on piano (above). I apologise to the other members of the band for not having their names – will attempt to rectify that shortly.

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*Edit* The lovely Daniel Brunner was kind enough to supply the names of the band members. Apologies for not having posted them sooner.

They are: 

Trumpet: Eric Santucci
Trombone: Nick Pietsch
Alto Sax: Andrew Crago
Tenor Sax: Evan Bassani
Bari Sax: Nat Ahrens
Guitar: Sam Leske
Bass: Anna Butters
Drums: Holly Thomas

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The End of Singing Season

Well, ‘Singing Season’  is officially over for me for this year.

Unfortunately for all those who had put in an enormous effort, the City of Darebin’s ‘Carols in All Nations’ was washed out, so I only got to do two of the three big gigs we were working on on.

I must say, though, that it came as a perverse relief not to have to go anywhere yesterday.  After the effort and long hours associated with the preparation and performances for the two events I did get to, it was lovely to just stop. I even had a ‘nana nap’ yesterday afternoon, and feel much better for it!

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The photos I’ve included are from the rehearsal and sound check at BMW Edge, prior to the first public performance of the Women’s Anthem. This was written by Kavisha Mazella, in consultation with Mary Crooks of the Victorian Women’s Trust, to celebrate the centenary of women getting  the vote in Victoria. I wrote more about this here.

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The day before the performance, the ABC TVshow Stateline featured a six minute piece about the anthem. This can be seen here, until March 2009. (For those of you who know me, you’ll see me three or four times throughout the clip – don’t quite know how I managed it with more than 300 other women there…)

This really was an amazing thing to be part of – I’m still on a high whenever I think about it!  You can get an idea of how big the choir was from the  pictures – we almost out-numbered the audience! And, we did two performances (each time singing the anthem twice) to different audiences, and got standing ovations each time.

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So – the singing is done for the year – now to the Christmas cooking! The first batch of cakes and puddings have been made, and now I’m off to do the second lot.

Enjoy your day!

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Singing season

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I’ve renamed the period from the end of October to the middle of December this year as ‘singing season’, rather than ‘silly season’ as it is usually dubbed. Though maybe some would say I’m silly to be doing what I’m doing, at the busiest (crafting, studying and social) time of the year.

You see, a couple of special projects mean that I am involved in three choirs at the moment, and am taking part in a couple of really special performances. From my point of view, this is heaven.

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One project culminates on November 29th with a performance by a 472 voice choir (at last count!) at the BMW Edge theatre in Federation Square, here in Melbourne. This performance celebrates the 100th centenary of women getting the vote in Victoria, and the amazing work of the women who tirelessly strove to get us this right.

The Women’s Anthem was commissioned by the VWT and written by Kavisha Mazzella, and is really wonderful. It is reminiscent of folk songs from the turn of the (19th) century, and will be a fitting end to the year of celebration marking this momentous anniversary. And – what an amazing experience to be in a room with so many wonderful voices! The full choir hasn’t even been together yet, with many women rehearsing in regional choirs and joining us on the actual day, but even with 300 voices it is incredible. Gives me goose bumps just to think of it.

 

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The second special gig is a Roy Orbison tribute gig to mark the 20th anniversary of his death, and to raise funds for the “Close the Gap” project being run by Oxfam. This one is a Lipstick & Spurs gig, and we will have the great pleasure of singing backing vocals for Kutcha Edwards and Dave Arden, and not only will be raising funds for a very worthy cause, but will also be fabulous fun! Might have to borrow M’s tuxedo for this one!

The final event – the Carols in All Nations – will be on December 13th. This is the City of Darebin Christmas Carols event that takes place at All Nations park each year. Lipstick & Spurs will sing a couple of our own Christmas songs, and we’ll also sing with the Massed Choir for the main part of the festivities. The Rusty Springs will also be playing with Lipstick & Spurs on one song!

So – all in all, the next few weeks will be a blur of singing and happy exhaustion. Must find time in there somewhere to make the Christmas cakes and puddings, and finish all of the present making…

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The Audreys at the Dream Festival

The audience watching The Audreys perform

One of the things I did while I was absent from the blog, was attend the Dream Festival held in Birrarung Marr in early October.

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It was a beautiful day and The Audreys – one of my favourite bands – were playing. I’d never seen them live before, and they did not disappoint: they were every bit as good live as they are on their albums. Combined with the atmosphere you get from seeing a band on stage, their performance was a real treat.

The Audreys on stage, with Taasha playing the melodica

Taasha’s vocals were at their delicate best, and I got to see her playing both the melodica and the ukulele as they performed a mixture of songs from both albums. (If you’ve read Blogday before, you’ll know how much I love the ukulele and will understand why I was so excited about her playing one.) For me the highlight of the show was Banjo & Violin . The first verse applies to me so well, with my foray into country music over the last couple of years, that it makes me laugh.

Taasha Coates from The Audreys, stands at a microphone singing

For me, they sum up what I love in music at the moment – they’re local (as in Australian); their music sits across a number of styles that I love (folk, country, rock and pop), and they play a great range of instruments: ukulele, banjo, double bass, violin. Aaah – heaven!

Looking down the Yarra River towards Princes Bridge

As an added bonus, I caught up with someone I hadn’t seen in 22 years – one of my best friends from my university days. She was there listening to music and taking photos as well. I smiled at her as she walked towards me through the crowd, recognising that she was a kindred spirit (with the camera and everything), only to then recognise who it was that I was smiling at! The most bizarre thing of all is that we both have daughters named Megan!

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Bill Bailey at Hamer Hall

 

Last Saturday night, when we were in town to see Bill Bailey at the Arts Centre, Grand Final fever was in full swing. There were people EVERYWHERE, in different stages of euphoria or despair. I didn’t consider the fact that it would be Grand Final day when I booked the tickets, but it wouldn’t really have mattered, because nothing would have stopped me in any case.

And it was SO worth braving the crowds – he was amazing (unlike my photographs, but this is the ongoing disappointment of trying to take pictures of gigs without the proper equipment, so we won’t dwell on it here). Needless to say, I’m looking at investing in a compact camera with a good zoom on a fast lens – maybe a Panasonic Lumix, because of their Leica lenses – for just this situation. Until I’m well known enough around the venues to be able to get away with taking my DSLR, that is… Oh well, I can dream, can’t I?

With his last show on in Melbourne tonight , I’m not going to give anything away other than to say that he includes local content that will have you in the aisles (can you say bogan?); plays a Theremin incredibly well (though you probably knew that already), and through the show swapped between it, an electric piano, a synthesizer, acoustic and electric guitars, a mandolin and a didgeridoo.

His story-telling is reminiscent of Billy Connelly’s meandering style, although with a more political bent, and his musical ability is staggering. The show was two hours long, not counting a twenty minute intermission, and during his time on stage he took us on a world tour through political commentary and his natural curiosity. Power companies, political leaders and tv shows all copped it, as did the Geelong Football club…

Speaking of which, I’m never going to be able to watch Friends again without thinking of Bill Bailey, though I can’t look at him without thinking of Manny in a shepherdess’s costume in the “Big and Beardy” magazine , so it only seems fair!

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The debut of the Rusty Springs

Here we go...

Here we go...

In yesterday’s post  I mentioned that the Rusty Springs debuted on Saturday night, at the ‘Don’t Tell Tom’ gig.

I have to go back to this, because it meant such a lot to the four of us that the audience was so welcoming and that our friends in Lipstick & Spurs really wanted us to have a go – something we’ve secretly wanted to do for a long time, but weren’t quite brave enough to try.
Kazoos up, playing the trumpet solo from 'Tonight you belong to me'

Kazoos up, playing the trumpet solo from 'Tonight you belong to me' (Don't quite know when I put my hand in my pocket - I actually look relaxed!)

With dry mouths and hearts in our throats, we sang five songs to rousing applause. The audience sang along with us on the songs they knew, and hollered and hooted for the others. And they wanted an encore!
To say that it was a dream debut would be putting it too mildly. We were nervous, faltered on introductions (that was me), and fluffed chords, and everyone loved us anyway. They might have been lying to us, but if so, they did it really well and made us feel about ten feet tall.  I love them all for it, and I want to do it again!
Lachlan and I worked together for seven years, and now sing and play uke together

Lachlan and I worked together for seven years, and now sing and play uke together

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Saturday night at Don’t Tell Tom’s

Before I get started, I have to warn you that today’s post is going to be a long one, and confess that the photos it contains weren’t taken on my camera phone. After the Michael Buble’ concert photo debacle, I decided that getting the images was more important than what I took them on. I hope you’ll forgive me…
 
 

 
Now I have to tell you about last Saturday night! Lipstick & Spurs – the choir I’m part of – hosted a gig at Don’t Tell Tom’s, in Brunswick. If you were there, I’d love to hear from you, so please leave me a comment.
 
Jenny Taylor, our illustrious leader, had it so well organised that there wasn’t a hitch, and the staff at the venue – especially Ray, the sound engineer – were fabulous.
 
Jenny Taylor with guitar, singing.

Our choir leader, the amazingly talented and dedicated Jenny Taylor.

Everyone worked really hard in the months leading up to the gig, to ensure that we acquitted ourselves well, and it seems to have paid off. The audience seemed very happy – clapping and singing along and generally being fabulously supportive (of course, many of them were related to choir members, but they didn’t have to be nice to us… ).

Laura McDonald, standing at the microphone about to sing.

Laura McDonald - a lovely girl, an incredibly talented musician and Lipstick & Spurs' accompanist

We had a ball, as we always do when Lipstick & Spurs performs. I mean, who would have thought that we – most of us in our 40s, and many of us relative beginners – would get a chance to sing our hearts out for a crowd of 400+, with two of our favourite artists (Sally Dastey and Trish Anderson)?

Lipstick & Spurs choir singing, with arms raised in the air.

'Daddy sang bass' reaches a climax.

I seriously cannot think of anything I’d rather do. Singing is such a positive thing to do at the best of times, but with 20 or so of your mates, and surrounded by family and friends, it is pure joy. I wish I could do it every day (although we’d need a bigger repertoire than we have at the moment)!

Sally Dastey with her guitar, singing with Lipstick & Spurs.

Sally Dastey leads the choir through her song "The race is on".

Looking exultant, Sally sings one of her new songs for the audience at 'Don't Tell Tom's'

Looking exultant, Sally sings one of her new songs for the audience at 'Don't Tell Tom's'

If you’ve been reading Blogday for a while, you might remember the gig we did with Sally Dastey at Young & Jackson’s, in December of last year, and how much fun it was.
If it is possible, this one was even more fun.
Trish Anderson treated us to a fantastic version of Dolly Parton's '9 to 5'

Trish Anderson treated us to a fantastic version of Dolly Parton's '9 to 5'

Both Sally and Trish Anderson were amazing – teaching us their songs, encouraging us and just generally having fun. On the night, each of them performed a couple of their own songs as well as singing with the choir.

Apart from the choir’s performances (alone and with both Trish and Sally), there were ensemble performances from our choir master, Jenny Taylor and accompanist, Laura McDonald; choir member Louise Taunt (below),

  

Louise Taunt standing at the microphone singing

Louise Taunt, one of the choir members, sings an original song

Louise, here accompanied by Trish Anderson on guitar.

Louise, here accompanied by Trish Anderson on guitar.

And the Rusty Springs  – a country-inspired ukulele quartet – debuted (that’s me in black at the front)!

One man and three women on a stage, playing ukulele and signing.

The Rusty Springs (l-r: Lachlan Garland, Karen Gough, Anne Joiner and Caron Cavalier)

The four of us met at MUK (the Melbourne Ukulele Kollective) almost three years ago, and all joined the choir together a year and a half, or so, ago.On one song – Ring of Fire – we were lucky enough to be accompanied by three of our friends from L&S on kazoo. Jenny (front), Ingrid (middle) and Linda (back) are now affectionately known as the Hornbags (below)!

The 'Hornbags' accompany Rusty Springs on kazoo

The Hornbags

What a fantastic experience! I could go on for hours about how supportive everyone was for our first performance as a quartet, but I don’t want to bang on any more here.  I think that is worthy of a post all on its own!

Don’t forget to let me know if you managed to catch the show on Saturday night.  I’d love to hear your comments.

Cheers,

K.

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