Mandolin sounds for Weetangera

WEETANGERA shops threaten to reverberate to an outdoor extravaganza of Greek and Mediterranean music this Saturday in “Parties at the Shops.”

Canberra Mandolin Orchestra - Hi Res

Beginning at 3 pm, conductor Michael Sollis will lead the popular the Canberra Mandolin Orchestra, Greek solo singers Theodora Volti and Antonio Vlachos and a choir of 50 voices from Weetangara Primary School choir and the Canberra Youth Music Society boys choir in a concert of music from the legendary Greek composers Mikis Theodorakis and Manos Hadjidakis.

One of the Capital’s most unusual music groups, the all-plucked Canberra Mandolin Orchestra, Formed in May 2003, brings together players of all styles of mandolin, mandola, mandocello, guitar and double bass. These instruments are plucked rather than bowed. Mandolin groups are enjoying a revival of popularity around the world and in Australia, with orchestras in most state capitals. Australian composers such as Ann Carr-Boyd, Larry Sitsky, Richard Charlton, Elena Katz-Chernin and Sollis himself have written original music for the instrument.

Sollis, who has been their musical director and conductor for nearly a decade, is a graduate of the ANU’s School of Music, a composer, music advocate and the director of Canberra’s prize-winning Griffyn Ensemble.

“We love playing Greek music as it comes from such a distinguished plucked instrument heritage and suits mandolins perfectly,” Sollis says. “But above all, we love playing it because it is such wonderful, evocative music.

“It brings us the passion and romance of Mediterranean history in a musical language all its own.”

The program will include famous film theme songs by Hadjidakis like “Never on Sunday” and “White Rose of Athens” and Theodorakis’ “Zorba’s Dance” along with a wide selection of both composers’ works.  A composition by leading Australian mandolin orchestra composer and arranger Robert Shultz – “Greek to Greek” – also will be featured.

Tea, coffee and Mediterranean cakes and pastries will be available at the Weetangera Bakery.

“Parties at the Shops” is produced by Amy Moon, who says the party atmosphere is a perfect way for locals to meet other their neighbours and local business owners, as well as artists and others from the community.

The 2014 program, which kicked off in Garran last month, is supported by the ACT Government’s Event Fund and the Land Development Agency.

“Parties at the Shops” at Weetangera shops 2pm, Saturday May 3, Canberra Mandolin Orchestra commences at  3 pm, all welcome.

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