Music / “Merry and Gay”, Canberra Qwire, musical direction by Lachlan Snow. At The Q, December 11. Reviewed by LEN POWER.
A “MERRY and Gay” Christmas was assured when the Canberra Qwire presented a rousing concert of some well-known and not so well-known songs and some Christmas carols with delightful, wickedly changed lyrics.
Beginning with “Ngunnawal Welcome Song”, the choir chose to sing as they entered and took their places on stage. This created an immediate, warm atmosphere that was as effective as it was unexpected.
Energetic master of ceremonies Andy Bell ensured the concert kept moving as well as involving the audience. This created an informal, relaxed afternoon full of laughter as well as good music.
The large choir was dressed in black with little Christmas touches here and there. Music director Lachlan Snow appeared with sparkling epaulets on his costume. The overall effect was very pleasing.
The three musicians – Jessica Stewart, piano; Daniel Frømyhr, cello, and Jen Hinton, drums – accompanied the choir through various styles of music very well.
The selection included music of artists we have lost this year. There was a Sondheim medley, honouring the music of Broadway composer Stephen Sondheim. The fast-paced “Putting It Together” was especially well done with the lyrics clearly heard.
A “Seekers Celebration” medley, remembering Judith Durham, contained several old favourites warmly sung. “Xanadu”, a song identified with Olivia Newton John had an excellent arrangement and was particularly well sung by the choir. It was repeated as a rousing encore.
“Let Love Rule” by Archie Roach was given a heartfelt performance and the first half of the program concluded with “The Walking Song”. Lyrics, music and poem were by Andrea Watson. This was movingly sung as the choir slowly left the stage. The poem was recited with great sensitivity by choir member Azerie Orsmond.
The start of the second half saw the choir enter while singing “Walk a Mile in my Shoes” by Rebecca Spalding. “Give Me A Choral Medley” was sung energetically and a sense of fun.
Three very funny carols, “God Help You Merry Lesbians”, “We Three Queens (of Oxford Street)” and “Hark The Herald Transfolk” brought the concert to a rousing close.
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