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2006 Moorambilla Festival

Coonamble
14 to 19 September 2006

Click on the image to view the souvenir program

The 2006 Moorambilla choral festival was held in Coonamble NSW and featured choirs from throughout western NSW and from Sydney, with the Leichhardt Espresso Chorus as choir-in-residence. Composer Dan Walker collaborated with Festival Director Michelle Leonard to write a song cycle that was performed by LEC and a boys choir that comprised singers from Sydney and the bush.

Boys and men
This year’s festival was aimed squarely at encouraging more boys and men to sing. To this end Michelle auditioned boys in the seven shires surrounding Coonamble in order to select the best voices for the regional boys choir. In addition, the Coonamble Songs in the key of bloke choir completed the focus on the "XY gene" factor.

Songs in the Key of Bloke song-cycle
The theme chosen for the Festival song-cycle by Dan Walker and Michelle Leonard was the transition from boyhood to manhood. The songs relate to various stages in our life.

Out there is about doing what boys do best; exploring new places, collecting things along the way, coming home knackered at sundown - only to do it all again the next day.

A few words on parting explores the moment where a mother says goodbye to her son as he leaves home. It particularly evokes memories of sons who departed Australia to fight in the first and second world wars.

Edgeroi is about the relationship between the farmer and the land; completely dependent on the weather and at the mercy of the elements. It is named for one of the parishes in the Coonamble district.

Last drinks deals with the communication barriers that so often exist between a father and his son.

Participating choirs

The festival program benefited from the participation of a number of adult choirs, including the Honeybees, Choralation, Virago and the Glen Innes Arts Council choir. These choirs provided a Community Concert in the Plaza Theatre at lunchtime on the Saturday, as well as a some impromptu street performances during the Main Street Fair.

Participating artists
The festival program included a number of workshops presented by Dynes Austin (Get Down Gospel), Bruce McNicol (Shower singing!), Simone Easthope (Wayward women wailing!), Lindsay Gilroy (piano singalong) and Matt Cocking and Luke Robinson (community drum circle).

A number of visual artists contributed to the success of Moorambilla 2006. These included Justine Lawler (web design and content management), Lighten Up lantern workshops, Lismore lantern parade, Justin Farrell of High End Design (postcard, flags, banner), Melissa Murray and Danny Hamilton (painting exhibition), Georgina Lampee (still photography) and Kate McCarthy (mural artist, design and implementation). 

Gala Scholarship Concert
The main event of the festival was the Gala Scholarship Concert that was held at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Catholic Church on Saturday night. All profits made from this concert went to the establishment of the regional boys and girls choir scholarship fund for 2007.

The main concert featured Marco Creazzo (piano), Christina Leonard (saxophone), Luke Robinson (percussion) and the Bloodwood String Quartet. The concert was conducted by the festival's musical director, Michelle Leonard.

The main aim of this year's festival, to encourage boys and men to sing, was realised as a 50-strong boys choir formed the focus of the main concert.

The boys choir sang Out there, the first song in a song-cycle that was written for the festival by the its composer-in-residence, Dan Walker. The four songs in the song-cycle are based on the experiences of rural men and boys. The Leichhardt Espresso Chorus, as choir-in-residence for the festival, sang the second song, Edgeroi,and joined with the boys choir for the third song, A few words on parting. The massed festival choir presented the final song that closed the concert, Last drinks.

And I've never been sure of the right words.
You were always your own man, so set in your ways.
But I want you to remember, there were so many things that I wanted to say.

The concert also featured a large choir of men who wooed members of the audience with Carl Vine's tender Love me sweet and then thrilled them with a rousing Click go the shears boys and the Coonamble Jubilee Song.

Click below to hear a recording of LEC and Moorambilla Voices singing Last Drinks in 2009. You can buy this recording on CD here. 

Artistic Director: Michelle Leonard

Conductor: Michelle Leonard 
Saxophone: Christina Leonard
Percussion: Luke Robinson

LEC and Moorambilla Voices singing Last Drinks in 2009.
Click here to choose from a range of LEC videos on our Youtube channel.


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