Topics:  choir, murwillumbah philharmonic choir, new york, new york city

NYC hears sounds of Mur'bah

Heather Martin OAM makes a last minute fix to Sean O’Hara’s bow-tie, while Doriel Worley supervises.
Heather Martin OAM makes a last minute fix to Sean O’Hara’s bow-tie, while Doriel Worley supervises. supplied

NEW York, New York: it's a hell of a town.

And the City of Shows is all the better for its visit by a small group from the Murwillumbah Philharmonic Choir.

Vice president Michael Worley said it was a "remarkable experience" under musical director Heather Martin OAM's leadership.

"They were part of a small group of Australian choristers representing Australia at the World Premiere of Karl Jenkins' new work The Peacemakers," Mr Worley said.

"They were joined by members of Brisbane's Musica Antiqua Collegii."

The "imposing" Carnegie Hall was the venue, he said, and January 16 was a US public holiday in honour of late civil rights campaigner Martin Luther King Jr.

"Doctor King's words were in the musical score together with other great spiritual peacemakers from many ancient traditions such as Mandela, Gandhi, Mother Teresa, the Dalai Lama, Anne Frank and Albert Schweitzer.

"Our group, in turn, were part of over 300 other singers from North Carolina, South Carolina, Maryland, Ohio, Arizona, Hawaii, the UK and the Channel Islands and a 60 voice children's choir - some as young as 12 years - drawn from various US state schools."

Karl Jenkins hand-picked the orchestra and some of the musicians from the jazz world made "exciting contributions".

"Instruments featured included the soprano saxophone, the fretless bass guitar, the bansuri, shakuhachi and the bamboo flute, as well as classical instruments," Mr Worley said.

"The theme of the program attracted political and peace-keeping members from the United Nations in the 2,000 strong audience.

"The lights dimmed - everyone hushed - the orchestra assembled - the choirs filed into place - Karl Jenkins took the conductor's podium - and so began an auspicious celebration that had taken months of invention, planning and rehearsal.

"And we - a small Murwillumbah group from the far side of the world - were an integral part of it.

"The 70 minute performance won a standing ovation," he said.

Contact michdoridaya@bigpond.com for more information about the choir.



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