Saturday 12 November, 2016 – Glorious Puccini
This concert was a collaboration with the Ku-ring-gai Philharmonic Orchestra and was held in the Concourse at Chatswood, to a full and enthusiastic audience. MUS did not sing in the first half of the program, which featured Britten’s ‘Young person’s guide to the orchestra’ and Mozart’s ‘Concerto for flute and orchestra’, with a noteworthy flute solo by Brian Kim, the NSW Secondary Schools Concerto Competition Overall Winner. The second half consisted of Puccini’s Messa di Gloria and was a ‘big sing’ for the choir and soloists Simon Lobelson and Warren Fisher. While this is a religious piece of music, it seemed at times to stray into the realm of opera with contrasts in tempi and changes of mood; an exuberant piece of work indeed. Many a chorister and audience member travelled home afterwards humming the various themes.
Saturday 28th May – Stand By Me
Stand By Me, held on Saturday, 28th May at Epping Baptist Church, was based around the theme of how music can change the world “…. because it can change people – Bono.” Music builds communities, starts revolutions, bridges memories, and changes lives. Macquarie University Singers sang about the struggles of people and nations through song, with music from Estonia to Malta and South Africa, Porgy and Bess to Gurrumul Yunupingu. The green-clad environmental activist group, Ecopella, who try to change the world (or perhaps prevent the world from changing too fast), reminded us of the importance of protecting the environment with their witty songs, and a small group performed our first workshopping of ‘Innocence’, a new piece written by student and MUS member, Matthew Clark. Audience feed-back indicated their great enjoyment of the concert.
Sunday 1 November 2015 – Supernova, Music of the Stars
Supernova was an exciting combination of science, music and visual display. There was a pre-concert talk and slide show presented in combination by Dr Orsola De Marco, from the Macquarie University Department of Astronomy, and Dr Sarah Penicka-Smith, the MUS Principal Conductor – giving the interested lay person an idea of current astronomy research and answering questions such as ‘will we ever find life out there?’ then showing how composers and musicians over the centuries have interpreted their understanding of the stars in musical terms. The concert was conducted in darkness, the choristers using twinkling “starry” book lights, with a magnificent slide show behind them of the heavens in all their aspects, relating to the individual pieces that were being sung at the time. The audience, both old and young, was delighted, with one member commenting: ‘I’m writing to congratulate MUS and your conductor Sarah on an excellent concert !! I felt it was one of your best performances as the choir sang so well and confidently, the orchestra was of high quality and Sarah brought out the best in all of you. The creative use of lighting and the wonderful slides made this a truly engaging theatrical experience. The choice of music was magical; I especially loved the John Williams “Duel of the Fates”, and the linking of all the music to the “Supernova” theme was very creative.’
Messiah, 26 July 2015
Regular MUS members were joined by other Messiah enthusiasts from the Sydney region to form a 144 voice choir for a weekend of singing, culminating in a magnificent rendition (accompanied by orchestra, soloists, and the University organ) of Handel’s Messiah. The venue was the E7B courtyard whose excellent acoustics amplified the performance for a concert memorable to both performers and audience. Here is some feedback from singers and audience members: ‘Thank you for the opportunity to sing our hearts out with marvellous music.’ ‘I wanted to say how much I enjoyed the whole experience of the “Messiah weekend”. The Messiah has been on my “bucket list” for years and although I can cross it off the list the memories of the weekend live on. The hospitality and help shown to a “new boy” was excellent, Sarah was inspirational and the concert itself ended oh so quickly!!’ ‘I enjoyed the normal rehearsals but I REALLY enjoyed the intensive weekend and concert this afternoon. What a great sing! Hallelujah and Amen!’ ‘Two friends of mine at the concert reckoned they hadn’t heard a more spirited and great rendition of Messiah for years.’ ‘The audience loved it. Very professional job and many many congrats on a job well done. You did yourselves proud!’
Celtic Fusion, May 2015
On 30 May, 2015, we travelled from Middle-earth to Middle Head, exploring tunes with Celtic roots. Our concert began in the Celtic heartland of Ireland, Scotland, and Wales, and travelled to the new worlds of the Americas, Newfoundland, Australia, and even Tolkein’s Middle Earth. There were many familiar folk songs and popular tunes, from the Scottish classic ‘Highland Cathedral’, to the haunting Gaelic blessing ‘Deep Peace’, to ‘May it Be’ and ‘Into the West’ from the soundtracks to the Lord of the Rings films. We tipped our hats to Diggers from all nations with ‘It’s a Long Way To Tipperary’, and gave an Aussie slant with John Farnham’s ‘You’re the Voice’, one of the most famous bagpipe moments in all of rock! There were surprises from Enya, the Beatles, Newfoundland band Great Big Sea, and many more, as our band broke out the fiddle, pipe, banjo and drums, with vocals from Ann Palumbo and stirring bagpipes played by Charlie Hunter.
Not New Year’s Eve, 2014
MUS was again the starring choir performing with the Australian Philharmonic Orchestra in the Sydney Opera House at 8 pm.on December 27 and 28, 2014.
With conductor John Foreman and popular soloist Kate Ceberano.
The Peacemakers – November 2014
MUS featured the music of Karl Jenkins with the second 2014 concert. We sang ‘The Peacemakers’, which follows on from Jenkins’ earlier mass for peace, ‘The Armed Man’, which we performed to much acclaim in 2009 in our concert titled ‘Power to the People’. This new concert was even more powerful and thought provoking than The Armed Man, with Jenkins’ music set to texts written by famous peacemakers throughout history, such as Mahatma Ghandi, Anne Frank, Mother Theresa and St Francis of Assisi. As Jenkins said, ‘nothing has changed’ in terms of international peace since the first performance of The Armed Man. This concert featured a 6 voice children’s ensemble who made the call for peace even more poignant and appealing.
Roots of Rhythm – June 2014
This concert featured songs with African roots, and their influence into main stream popular music culture, particularly in the US. The program moved from negro spirituals to Jazz and Broadway, and included works as diverse as The Banana Boat Song, Janna Seeley featured as soloist, and the Singers were accompanied by an ensemble of keyboard, drums, bass and sax.
There was a full house: an enthusiastic audience. The first half of the show was interrupted by a fire alarm (false thankfully) as Steal Away was being sung. The choir and audience did indeed steal away to the Macquarie Uni courtyard where conductor Sarah continued al fresco till all clear, with Wimoweh.
Carmina Burana – A Feast with Song, November 2013
This concert was performed twice, at the Macquarie Theatre, and at Barker College auditorium. There was a 120 voice choir, singing with musicians from the Ku-Ring-Gai Philharmonic Orchestra under the baton of Carlos Alvarado, and a choir of 40 school boys from St Aloysius College. We performed Carl Orff’s Carmina Burana, a dramatic and exciting piece of music, along with Borodin’s Polovtsian Dances. Both concerts were very well attended, and rewarded with standing ovations, with the Borodin piece reducing one Russian audience member to tears. Our outstanding soloists were Jenny Liu, soprano, Tim Chung, counter tenor, and Alexander Knight, baritone and the choral principal conductor was Dr Sarah Penicka-Smith.
A Musical Dream, June 2013
Our first concert for 2013 was performed in the newly refurbished Macquarie Theatre to a delighted, full house audience, and conducted by our new Musical Director, Sarah Penika-Smith. The 97 voice choir sang a range of opera and musical theatre choruses, accompanied by an orchestra and pianist Christopher Cartner. Our narrator and soloist was accomplished soprano Rachael Cunningham. Themes of loss and displacement were illustrated by songs in a wide range of styles, such as “Can you hear the people sing”, “Poor wandering one”, “The Chorus of the Hebrew Slaves” and the “Rhythm of Life”. This was a concert that had something for everyone!
Stella Natalis, November 2012
On Saturday 17th of November, MUS performed the NSW premiere of Karl Jenkins’ Stella Natalis, under the baton of Tim Chung. Soloists were soprano, Joanna Cole, who brought great warmth and feeling to her part, and the versatile and long-winded trumpeter, Brian Evans. We also performed several traditional Christmas carols, all supported by the Knox Grammar Choir and Kapella. The audience voted it ‘the best concert ever’, with a standing ovation.
MUS performed at this Australian – Korean Friendship event at the Willoughby Concourse, Chatswood, on Saturday 14th of July, 2012. We sang several short pieces including Handel’s Coronation Fantasy (known to most of us as Zadok the Priest), then joined with the outstanding Kozy orchestra, choir and soloists for give a resounding rendition of the Beethoven Fantasia in C Minor (Choral Fantasy).
Semester 1 concert, 2012
MUS performed the Mozart Requiem on 26th May at Turramurra Uniting Church, with the Mosman Orchestra on 24th June at the Blessed Sacrament Church, Mosman, and with the Bathurst Orchestra and the Allegri Singers in the Bathurst Cathedral on 30th June, all conducted by Timothy Chung.
Haydn’s The Creation
Conducted by Anthony Pasquill and featuring soloists Erika Simons (Soprano), Marcus Bortolotti (Tenor) and Javier Vilarino (Bass) and the Marrickville Municipal Symphony Orchestra.
The performance was at Macquarie Theatre on Saturday 28 May.
MUS Semester 2 concert, 2011
at Macquarie Theatre on 11 September at 2.30pm titled Music under a Southern Cross. The concert featured music from Australia and was conducted by Peter Ellis and be accompanied by the Eastern Sydney Chamber Orchestra.
MUS performed at this Australian – Korean Friendship event at the City Recital Hall on Sunday evening 17 July.
Blackheath Choir Festival 2011
MUS participated in this Festival on the weekend 26 – 28 August 2011.