Broken Hill Civic Orchestra

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2008 performance at Albert Hall in Tibooburra

Broken Hill Civic Orchestra has discovered a novel way of solving water shortages in the Far West region. Each time the orchestra has planned a concert at Albert Hall in Tibooburra, the region has experienced welcome rain, accompanied by the challenges of roads being closed.

On the Queen's Birthday weekend (7th June 2008) the orchestra was fortunate to make it up to Tibooburra, in between rainstorms and road closures, to perform an "Orchestra in the Outback" concert. The concert was warmly received by the audience, some of whom were wearing tiaras and outfits in keeping with the "proms" spirit of the evening.

The orchestra was comprised of members of the Broken Hill Civic Orchestra, together with several musicians from Mungindi, and others from as far afield as Sydney, Canberra, Singleton, Gilgandra and Newcastle. Mungindi is on the Queensland border, east of Lightning Ridge. The straight line that forms a large part of the border between NSW and Qld begins in Mungindi and ends at Cameron's Corner, forging an interesting link between the visiting musicians and the "Corner Country" locals.

Guest artist and conductor for the evening was Mark Walton, whose inspiration contributed greatly to the success of the concert. The orchestra's enthusiastic renditions of classical and contemporary works began with the Overture from "Bobby the Musical", written by Mark Walton. This was very popular with the audience, and set the tone for the rest of the evening. In amongst the classical works were lively performances of "Shake, Rattle n' Roll", "I want to hold your hand" and a surprise rendition of Happy Birthday. A local Tibooburra woman celebrated her 30th birthday by conducting the orchestra in a performance of "Alley Cat".

Mark Walton's solo performances on both clarinet and saxophone captivated not only the audience but also the musicians in the orchestra, and showcased his ability as a virtuoso on both instruments. Prior to his performance at Albert Hall in Tibooburra this week, Mark had been in London last week, teaching at the Royal College of Music, which happens to be right next door to the "other" Albert Hall, London's Royal Albert Hall.

Making his conducting debut at Tibooburra's Albert Hall was fourteen year old Connor Hicks, who conducted the orchestra for a locally arranged version of "The Sound of Silence". The orchestra responded well to Connor's direction, with only one wrong note escaping from the musicians. Connor should have a bright musical future ahead of him.

The orchestra came together well, to produce a full and musically satisfying sound. This was quite an achievement, given that the first time all the musicians had played together was at a workshop in Broken Hill the night before the concert. A favourite with the crowd was Shaun Podnar on trombone, adding lots of musical colour to the evening's performance.

The rousing finale to the concert was "The Entry of the Gladiators", arranged by Mark Walton, followed by Strauss's Radetsky March with lots of audience participation, to provide a "last night of the Proms" atmosphere.

See also the Tibooburra 2008 photo gallery.

The concert was the result of cooperation between the Broken Hill Civic Orchestra and the Tibooburra Progress Association, with grants from Regional Arts NSW (West Darling Arts) Country Arts Support Program making the event possible. The orchestra would also like to acknowledge BEMAX Resources, Gary Radford and Peter Black for their financial support.

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