Saturday 24 September, 2011

programimage3What began as a regional outreach program run by the Music in Communities Award winning Leichhardt Expresso Chorus has grown into a cultural highlight on the calendar of north-western NSW. This multi-arts festival, under the artistic direction of Michelle Leonard, has grassroots community music making at its heart. The Music in Communities Network is please to be able to offer you a glimpse into the heart of this wonderful festival as we "live blog" daily for the course of the festival from 23rd to 25th September.

Yesterdays concert went off like a frog in a sock! The Plaza Theatre was packed, literally, to the rafters with families, school students, locals, visitors and performers. The MAXed OUT ensemble performed the work Dan had written for them along with the ‘Demon Dance’ a piece for Taiko drums, body percussion, sticks and poles and voices, written by them under the direction of Anton Lock and Ian Cleworth from Taikoz. The roof off the old hall lifted off, the foundations rattled as spontaneous applause erupted.


image2Today the festival has kicked off in the main street of Coonamble with market stalls featuring local produce; creative workshops on ‘sing your own opera’; ‘write your own country song’; Armenian, Greek, Latin American and Japanese drumming workshops; visual arts workshops in emu egg carving, Wailwan tree scarring; making things with tin and sand painting. At the same time the Monterey Café is open for business with tables groaning with cakes, slices, scones, sandwiches - good CWA fare! This is all accompanied by the ‘BJ’s’ trad jazz band, who played in this café 50 years ago and some of their first clientele are here today!

image1The MAXed OUT company who are attending the workshops did some spontaneous busking during the morning and earned themselves $18. They just can’t stop singing! We are looking forward to the post lunchtime concert featuring local groups the ‘Warren Singers’, the ‘Coonamble Singers’ and the ‘Hot Flats’ along with Sydney Brass, Sydney Youth Orchestra, Moorambilla Voices and the Sydney based group ‘El Coro’, a chamber group that sing music in the Latin American tradition.

Tonight will be the Gala Concert at the Coonamble pavilion, so watch this space for news of a truly spell binding experience!