Philip’s coffin moved to Inner Hall


Prince Philip will be remembered as a man of "fortitude" at a funeral that salutes both his service in the Royal Navy and his support for Queen Elizabeth II.

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John Keene conducts & plays Bottesini with Fremantle Chamber Orchestra at Perth Town Hall & Freo Naval Store


A baton in one hand and a double bass in the other?

It makes an intriguing picture, but John Keene has something less athletic in mind when he conducts Fremantle Chamber Orchestra and plays Bottesini’s Concerto for Double Bass No.2 this weekend.

Keene, deputy principal double bass at WA Symphony Orchestra, presents works from the 18th through to the 20th centuries at Perth Town Hall on Saturday and Fremantle’s Naval Store on Sunday.

“The program features some not so well known, but incredibly uplifting and jovial ‘classical’ symphonies, as well as a wonderfully lavish and enthralling string piece by a 20th-century neo-Romantic composer Atterberg,” he says.

“Haydn’s 60th symphony is also one of his most comical works and is quite theatrical in performance.

John Keene Serge Koussevitzky’s Concerto for Double Bass with the Cygnus Arioso String Quartet at The Grove.
Camera IconJohn Keene Serge Koussevitzky’s Concerto for Double Bass with the Cygnus Arioso String Quartet at The Grove. Credit: Bohdan Warchomij

“I will conduct these works as a conductor properly from the podium, but for the Bottesini, I will be merely leading the group from the front with a few introductory gestures and then everything after that will operate as ‘chamber music’, where the musicians listen to the solo line and interact internally with each other.”

It’s a first for Keene conducting and playing a concerto, though last year he played Serge Koussevitzky’s Concerto for Double Bass with the Cygnus Arioso String Quartet at The Grove library.

He also conducted the debut performance by The Orchestra Collective at Government House, with Mozart’s Don Giovanni Overture and Flute Concerto No.1, followed by a head-turning rendition of Beethoven’s Symphony No.7.

This weekend’s program opens with the Symphony in D major by Beethoven’s contemporary Ignaz Pleyel, followed by the Bottesini. Atterberg’s Intermezzo then complements the Haydn symphony.

Perth Town Hall is a well known music venue but it is possibly the first time the Naval Store has hosted an orchestra as FCO’s regular venue, Fremantle Town Hall, is temporarily closed.

John Keene conducts The Orchestra Collective at Government House Ballroom.
Camera IconJohn Keene conducts The Orchestra Collective at Government House Ballroom.

“The Naval Store promises to have good acoustics and is big enough to socially distance,” Keene says.

“It started as a new arts space recently and I think this will be the first performance of classical music there.”

John Keene and Fremantle Chamber Orchestra are at Perth Town Hall on Saturday, April 10, at 3pm, and at Naval Store (corner Canning Highway and Victoria Street, Fremantle) on Sunday, April 11, at 3pm.

Tickets are available at the door (cash): adults, $40, concession $35, under-18, $20; or at Ticketek (charges apply): https://premier.ticketek.com.au/search/SearchResults.aspx?k=fco



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WASO plays Rodgers & Hammerstein with Jessica Gethin, Amy Lehpamer and Simon Gleeson at Perth Concert Hall


“Let us start at the very beginning,” Amy Lehpamer intoned to launch singalong favourite Do-Re-Mi from The Sound of Music, an emotional earworm for several generations in a packed Perth Concert Hall on Friday night.

Generations raised on the Rodgers & Hammerstein musical clapped, cheered, hollered and whistled on a gala night which broke a drought of live music and singing for many — not least Lehpamer.

The Victorian soprano brought vital enthusiasm to a program of time-honoured show numbers, paying a touching tribute to WA Symphony Orchestra and conductor Jessica Gethin.

The experience, she said, was “one of my favourite things” (cue music) after months of COVID curbs.

Gala nights can read like a hastily concocted shopping list, but this selection had form in following the timeline of Rodger & Hammerstein’s work, grouping numbers from six of their best-known musicals.

Scurrying strings opened the overture to Oklahoma! — familiar themes drifting over the auditorium like soothing balm.

It settled an effervescent audience whose excited chatter injected fairground energy to the hallowed hall.

Simon Gleeson sings The Best of Rodgers & Hammerstein with WA Symphony Orchestra and Jessica Gethin at Perth Concert Hall.
Camera IconSimon Gleeson sings The Best of Rodgers & Hammerstein with WA Symphony Orchestra and Jessica Gethin at Perth Concert Hall. Credit: Rebecca Mansell

WAAPA alumnus Simon Gleeson’s take on Oh, What a Beautiful Morning opened vistas to the cowboy west, the chorus rolling into view like an old friend.

Gethin was clearly having fun, easy-listening fare evoking ever-generous applause.

Lehpamer’s debut in I Cain’t Say No stepped up the engagement with warmth and charisma that transcended the #MeToo moment in the lyric.

Their duet in the show number, Oklahoma! — the one musical R&H wrote with an exclamation mark — filled the space, as did the band; brass especially exercised.

State Fair followed — Lehpamer inhabiting It Might As Well Be Spring, swooning through the ballad, “gay in a melancholy way”; Gleeson teeing up a rousing chorus to It’s A Grand Night For Singing.

Carousel came around next, the orchestra front and centre for the Waltz with the most nuanced symphonic sound yet; Gethin almost balletic in gesture to shape the music, the climax and finale drawing a well deserved ovation.

Soliloquy and If I Loved You showcased individual talents — with some intricate work in the orchestra to match Gleeson’s recitative; Lehpamer duetting in dreamy tones with lyrical woodwind and serene strings then rising to operatic heights to conclude the first half.

After the break it was South Pacific — towering chords in the ensemble summoning an ominous drum beat, warlike brass and horns a contrast to mellow strings.

A Wonderful Guy put Lehpamer back in the #MeToo spotlight — nonetheless sweetly sung — while Some Enchanted Evening evinced a hushed awe in Gleeson’s voice, and a glorious accompaniment in brass choir.

March of the Siamese Children, from The King and I, was a rich snack for orchestral buffs in complex development of a simple theme.

Amy Lehpamer and Simon Gleeson sing The Best of Rodgers & Hammerstein with WA Symphony Orchestra and Jessica Gethin at Perth Concert Hall.
Camera IconAmy Lehpamer and Simon Gleeson sing The Best of Rodgers & Hammerstein with WA Symphony Orchestra and Jessica Gethin at Perth Concert Hall. Credit: Rebecca Mansell

As if liberated from the Yankee twang of earlier shows, Lehpamer’s voice rang our full and clear in Getting To Know You — “suddenly I’m bright and breezy” — and the pair hit their straps in Shall We Dance? — a comic routine drawing the most raucous applause yet.

The Sound of Music rolled out with Edelweiss — Gleeson’s standout solo, easily besting the movie version — and My Favourite Things, Lehpamer channelling Julie Andrews in tone and diction before morphing to her own, more coquettish rendition.

After the singalong Do-Re-Mi, You’ll Never Walk Alone (Carousel) as encore turned the dial to footy stadium blitz before we all walked out into the night.



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Lord Mayor's City Hall Concerts: Danika and Forte


Date & time

Tue 16 Mar 2021
12:00pm to 1:00pm

Date & time

Tue 16 Mar 2021
12:00pm to 1:00pm

Brisbane City Councils, the QUBE Effect winners ‘Danika and Forte’ will delight you with their original music and popular classics. Multi-instrumentalists this duo will delight you with Vocals, Harp, Violin and Piano. Be transported to another time and another place.

Bookings required. Check Eventbrite for availability. 

Venue

Brisbane City Hall, 64 Adelaide Street, Brisbane City

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TOWN HALL GETS A GOOD WORKOUT!


The third round of FREE dance fitness classes “Move for Me” is an initiative funded under the Empowering Our Communities Round 2 Community Wellbeing and Drought Support Grant. This style of dance being offered for another 5 weeks is ZUMBA. If you aren’t sure what it is all about check out the video or why not come and have a go. You don’t need to be the best dancer in the room or the youngest to have some fun and move for mental health. If you would like to come and test out your dance moves contact Danielle Mepham on 6730 2318 or turn up between 5pm and 5:15pm this Thursday, 18 March 2021 to register. Spots are limited under COVID-19 to 5 people so to avoid dissapointment ring and put your name down.

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TOWN HALL GETS A GOOD WORKOUT! “. This news release was shared by MyLocalPages as part of our Australian events & what’s on stories services.

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Nationwide town hall hosts Black Canadian medical experts to address COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy within Black communities


With concern growing that Black Canadians are reluctant to get the COVID-19 vaccine despite being disproportionately more likely than other groups to contract the disease, health care workers knew they had to address their community directly.

And so, on Saturday, 400 people from across the country were able to ask questions directly to experts in a Zoom event co-hosted by the Black Opportunity Fund and BlackNorth Initiative. Both organizations are working to eliminate anti-black racism and systemic barriers that negatively impact Black Canadians.

“There’s a difference between having a politician who does not look like you, tell you to take a vaccine versus when the same message is coming from an individual who looks like you, has similar lived experience and wants to advocate for you,” said Dr. Ato Sekyi-Otu.

Dr. Sekyi-Otu, an orthopedic surgeon and head of the Black Opportunity Fund Healthcare Task Force, said there’s a sense of reassurance that comes with receiving medical advice from someone who shares a similar background.

77 per cent of Black Canadians surveyed by Statistics Canada in September said they were “not very likely to take the vaccine.” That same report also found mortality rates related to COVID-19 amongst racialized women were three times higher than white women.

The national town hall-style event brought together a group of Black Canadian health care professionals to address concerns related to COVID-19 vaccines that are experienced by Black communities across the country.

With participants joining from coast-to-coast, the discussion created awareness around COVID-19 vaccinations and empowered participants to make informed decisions based on their health.

Questions included: who created the vaccine? Will it negatively effect pregnant women or people with severe allergies? What is the vaccine made out of?

“Black communities have had less access to good medical care than white communities for generations,” said Dr. Upton Allen, professor of pediatrics at the University of Toronto and chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases at the Hospital for Sick Children.

That lack of medical care and other systemic problems has led to COVID-19 disproportionately affecting Black communities.

In February, at a meeting to support health agencies in predominantly Black communities, Mayor John Tory said that Black people, who represent nine per cent of Toronto’s population, make up 26 per cent of the city’s COVID-19 cases.

“This is a result of long-standing systemic health inequalities related to poverty, racism and lack of access to opportunity, which has been exacerbated by this pandemic,” Tory said last month.

Dr. Allen, who’s also on the board of directors with the BlackNorth Intiative Health Committee, said the combination of distrust of the medical community, along with a large volume of misinformation about COVID-19, contributes to Black people’s reluctance to get the vaccine.

Saturday’s event acted as a safe space for Black Canadians to ask professionals why getting the vaccine might help them stay safe.

Participants were able to submit questions beforehand as well as take part in a live discussion and receive direct answers from health professionals.

Breakout rooms were created for different regions in Canada so participants could have private conversations in smaller groups, asking questions relating to their region.

“We want people to have a space in which they can ask the questions without feeling judged,” Dr. Sekyi-Otu said.

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He added that events like this are just the beginning of the journey for reaching more equitable health care for Black Canadians.

“This is not the end. It’s an opportunity to continue the discussion. We want to walk this path with each and every member of the Black community to make sure they’re making the right decision based on the facts and science,” Dr. Sekyi-Otu said.



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Tina Arena to play third Canberra show at Llewellyn Hall




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Tina Arena to play third Canberra show at Llewellyn Hall
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Hall markets return after year off due to the coronavirus




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Hall markets return after year off due to the coronavirus
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WASO breaks drought with Asher Fisch, Konstantin Shamray and Olivia Davies’ premiere at Perth Concert Hall


An imperceptible rustling of strings and bowed percussion emerged from the depths of WA Symphony Orchestra as a new season opened last night with Stratus, a world premiere by Perth composer Olivia Davies.

Hints of wind, wave and wonder presented a canvas of white noise on to which Davies invited the audience to project their own interpretations, perhaps also reflections of the glowering clouds — Stratus — overhead.

Dischord and harmony were in close competition as woodwind swelled the theme, rising in volume with the injection of brass.

Olivia Davies
Camera IconOlivia Davies

Broad gestures from conductor Asher Fisch evoked a proto-dance rhythm, rising and falling to a trance-like flutter in muted trumpet, hypnotic, febrile yet fertile; timpani rumbling like the first rains after drought.

Strings swayed in the musical breeze as sterner tones in brass and horns summoned thunderous drums before subsiding to a crystalline cadence.

There was a timeless quality to match the welcome to country by Walter McGuire, a voice of ancient culture ringing out in a space reborn through a year of disruption.

Fisch’s return from COVID exile brought wild cheers: “I’m not a mining engineer, but for WA I’m considered an essential worker,” he quipped before launching a long-awaited program.

Konstantin Shamray, the Adelaide-based pianist who was part of 2020’s on-again, off-again plans, finally took the stage for Rachmaninov’s Piano Concerto No.2, plangent chords breaking the enforced silence, dissolving into a fluid rumble in solo and strings, echoing portents of doom.

Shamray brought a gracile quality to the keyboard, a little muted at first in a mesmeric minimalist style, to which Fisch brought the rich melodrama of the ensemble in counterpoint, piano waxing rhapsodic.

Warm brass triggered a more lyrical mood, morphing again to drama as Fisch summoned great gouts of ensemble sound; an almost aching familiarity in the lead picked up in David Evans’ horn, a pin-drop moment evincing rich chords and a meditative lead, running as if in neutral to a sudden close.

Konstantin Shamray
Camera IconKonstantin Shamray

Piano and Andrew Nicholson’s flute traced the same haunting melody in the second movement, picked up by Alex Millier’s clarinet before the solo held sway; eddies and rivulets of sound only briefly punctuated by the ensemble, the whole a prelude to a scintillating cadenza, schmoozing with strings before the faintest of fade-aways.

In the finale, folkloric stirrings in woodwind and strings with brass highlights released rollicking phrases in piano, running like mountain streams over smooth pebbles, levelling out in a Slavonic serenade, restless and relaxed in equal measure; distinctive tones echoed in the accompaniment as if goading the soloist to a grandiloquent conclusion.

Shamray had been rostered for Beethoven’s Emperor concerto last year, and there were shades of that in his reading of Rachmaninov.

Blowing away cobwebs, he rattled through Prokofiev’s Quarrel, from Cinderella, as encore; frenetic measures leaping around the keys like an elite athlete coming off a layup.

After the break, Elgar’s Enigma Variations felt like a warm down; stately and reflective, the calm assurance of the Victorian Empire written through like a stick of rock candy.

Alex Timcke’s timpani offered glimpses of drama to come as the iconic Nimrod variation arrived almost by stealth, the best known of Elgar’s kaleidoscope of characters just drifting into view.

Organic interaction between players and conductor released lush emotive expression building to the climactic “great fall”, Timcke driving the ebb and flow.

Variation 12 “BGN” was another highlight, a richly sonorous tribute to Elgar’s cellist friend deftly delivered by principal cello Rod McGrath.

Finally, Elgar’s self portrait “EDU” erupted in grandiose chords and bountiful theme, Fisch lavishing encouragement on a willing ensemble; richly content as was the crowd.

Asher Fisch conducts WA Symphony Orchestra in Edward Elgar’s Enigma Variations at Perth Concert Hall.
Camera IconAsher Fisch conducts WA Symphony Orchestra in Edward Elgar’s Enigma Variations at Perth Concert Hall. Credit: Rebecca Mansell



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Flynns Creek marks 100 years of life, love and death as community hall makes way for new hub


Almost 150 years ago, three families moved from Ballarat to Flynns Creek and founded a community that has orbited one building ever since.

The family names of the Grahams, Stuckeys and Wrights can still be found on local street signs of Flynn, nestled off the Princes Highway between Traralgon and Sale in Victoria’s east.

They also live on the walls of the local hall, adorned with historical photos, article clippings and trinkets.

On May 18, 1921, the Flynn community gathered to open its hall. It was a night marked with poetry recitals and a dance that “lasted into the early hours of the morning”.

Nearly 100 years later, last Saturday, most of Flynn’s 160 residents — including a great many Stuckeys, Wrights and Grahams — returned to celebrate the town’s history, including a reading of Malcom May’s poem about the hall.

It was also the last event to be held in the community hall, which is set to be torn down this week to make way for a new facility.

The old hall was built for a grand total of £278; the new will be built for $800,000.

The new hall features an unusually tall roof, for badminton matches traditionally accompanied by a glass of port, as well as upgraded amenities.

Over its century of life, the old hall has been many things to many people: high teas, balls, and the annual community day have punctuated community life over the years.

Flynn’s oldest local, 93-year-old Eileen Sartori — née Wright — recalled her earliest memories of the hall.

“I used to ride my pony to school just over here,” she said.

“When there was dances on, mum and dad used to bring us to the hall for all our entertainment.”

The ball was a mainstay on the social calendar of the region, Mrs Sartori said.

Flynn history association member Andrea Norton helped organise the celebration of the town’s history and said the event grew quickly.

“We started out a few weeks ago with the idea of collating some family history and the hall history, and it’s grown into an amazing event,” she said.

But other community buildings in the area have not been as well preserved as the hall.

Strong winds caused the town’s mechanics institute to be “lifted bodily from its foundations”, which left a “decided pitch on one side”.

It was sold for £40 in 1897 after the restraightening of the building was deemed too costly.

The CFA shed was moved from near the highway into the township. Coincidently, at both locations, the next-door neighbour’s house was burnt down.

Ms Norton has called out for more stories, particularly Indigenous yarns, to help weave a complete history of the region.

“We have some limited knowledge, some comments in a diary from very early on that there were Aboriginals in the area, and quite friendly,” she said.

“We’ve got some artifacts, scar trees or birth trees, and other cooking utensils, but we’re very keen to learn more.”

Aboriginal people caused scars on trees by removing bark for various purposes, including to make canoes and build temporary shelters. Birthing trees, according to Kurnai elder Aunty Cheryl Drayton, was where the clan’s midwives would take women to give birth and then bury the placenta.

Ms Norton said in bringing together the local history older generations hoped the stories and traditions of the town could be preserved and passed down.

“We’re hoping we can bring some of the traditions to the new hall,” she said.

“One of those is the music, the playing of auld lang syne at the end of a ball or the hokey-pokey for the kids.”

The piano, purchased for £45 just after the hall was opened, played a pivotal role in the early days of the hall.

The piano also featured at the inaugural meeting of the Flynn branch of the Country Women’s Association on August 21, 1958 — attended by four Stuckeys.

Funeral service pamphlets now line the top of the piano, reminding residents of those lost but not forgotten.

Year 11 student Holly Derham said she remembered playing the piano as a kid.

“We’d go into the side room, where the piano is, all of us kids, and we’d start banging on the piano, and everyone could hear us playing,” the 16-year-old said.

“That was until we started learning piano and started playing actual songs, and our grannies came up to us and started congratulating us.”

After one of the most socially distant years since the Spanish flu in 1918, the community is looking ahead to new social infrastructure.

The hall committee plans to open the $800,000 new hall, funded by the Federal Government’s drought communities program, on May 18 this year, exactly 100 years after the old hall opened.

Ms Derham said the future generations would not forget the stories of Flynn, and its hall.

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