The following article, written for the upcoming Girgarre Gazette to be published locally after Easter, is reproduced here as an update on my activities in Girgarre since mid February.
I am having a wonderful time preparing for the Gala Opening of the Soundshell. We are now in WEEK FIVE, with the performance taking place in WEEK EIGHT (Saturday 14 April). There are 35 players in the orchestra, and I have been running seven rehearsals a week, although we are cutting down to four to capture more people at once.
Instrument creation has moved at a pace, driven by Wallace Williams, Pete Gibson and myself. After much experimentation and fabrication we now have an ‘orchestra’ of drums, strings and percussion, mostly from up-cycled materials, which works brilliantly when joined by ‘proper’ instruments. There is a part to play for everyone who wants to be involved, although if you are considering joining but have not been along to a rehearsal yet I suggest you do so ASAP as we are well under way with quite a lot of learned pieces. But you have plenty of time to catch up so do come along and check it out.
The main sections of the piece, called Spirit Rising, are now written and most of them have been tried out in rehearsal. By WEEK SIX we will be running the show in rehearsals, and by WEEK SEVEN we will move as many rehearsals to the Soundshell as possible to get used to the stage. The score will be fully notated and documented however we won’t be using music on the night. We are memorising as we go with lots of drilling and repetition in rehearsals.
Our producer Patrick Cronin was in Girgarre last week and attended all rehearsals. He and I worked on shaping the show into a draft running order with a production schedule. He will be here for a day of rehearsals on 4 April and will then be in Girgarre from Wed 11 Apr until the performance. Patrick and I have worked on many projects together before, notably Raising the Roof for Arts Centre Melbourne in 2012 and a decade together on stage in the Spaghetti Western Orchestra. Patrick plays trumpet, uke, percussion, sings and is an excellent whistler. He’s also a terrific events organiser and it is great to have him on board.
The show, featuring all local talent, has a wide variety of elements with a few surprises. The gates open at 6.00pm for a 7.30 show. There are food vans and pre-show entertainment, and afterwards the stage gives over to a traditional ‘Jigarre Jam’ where everyone can join in and learn a couple of songs.
So if you hear the call of the drums, follow your ears to the rehearsal room. Everyone is welcome to sit and listen to any rehearsal, and you may feel moved to take up some beaters and a plectrum and join the thriving Junkestra.
strings sample (and a guitar)