Rebecca Dutson rehearsing for Saturday and Sunday’s concerts with the North Coast Performing Arts Association’s orchestra.
Rebecca Dutson rehearsing for Saturday and Sunday’s concerts with the North Coast Performing Arts Association’s orchestra. Leigh Jensen

All to enjoy Carnival of Animals

LISTEN to the lion’s roar, the cuckoo’s call, the hen’s cackle and hear a lot of other remarkable animals ‘strut their stuff’ in this weekend’s concerts by the 80-plus members of the North Coast Performing Arts Association choir and orchestra.

The Carnival of the Animals by Saint Saens, a piano duet with orchestra, is one of three much-loved and famous pieces which will have a first-time performance in this area during Music with a French Connection this weekend.

The Carnival of the Animals, composed in 1886, features two pianos, played by local virtuoso pianists Mei Wei Lim and Renate Turrini.

Listen especially for Mei playing Wild Donkeys, a piece that only a few people in the world can pull off because it is so fast and so difficult.

There are also plenty of other show-off solos for other players, including Robert Sherrington doing both a rather fine rooster and a persistent cuckoo on his clarinet.

Then there is the Woolgoolga High School student Dylan Quinlan-Baskett who has his work cut out playing Fossils on the zylophone, and the talented Aditya van der Meulen who plays masses of very fast and high notes to depict a whole tree-full of arguing birds on her flute and has proved to be a very fine twitterer.

The words of Ogden Nash will enhance listeners’ Carnival experience because actor, narrator and Coffs Harbour singing teacher, James van de Grift, will be doing the honours.

But what a start is planned for you in the Orpheus in the Underworld Overture, also known as the Can-Can.

It was featured in The Lion King – and here you will not only see and hear it played live and loudly by the exuberant orchestra, conducted by Dale Condon, but you will also see real live dancing girls from the Julie Ross Dance Studio in Coffs Harbour do the Can-Can on the stage of Bellingen’s Memorial Hall on Saturday and the Sawtell RSL Club on Sunday.

The third and final piece will be Gabrielle Faure’s very beautiful and ethereal Requiem for choir and orchestra.

In this famous work, three up-and-coming young soloists will perform – Coffs Harbour baritone Luke Wright, who is now studying in Canberra, and sopranos Luka Meyers (Sawtell concert) and Rebecca Dutson (Bellingen concert).

All children in the audience under 12 will be given a free pencil and a booklet of dot-to-dot animals and find-the-word activities just before the Requiem to keep them entertained while the more grown-up music is performed.

Don’t be put off by the name because far from being sombre and dark, this Requiem is a celebration of beauty, the human voice and the glories of music.

The choristers would be quick to tell you that they love this piece to bits, and won’t be at all surprised if you, the audience, will feel exactly the same way after hearing it.

More details are on the website:

Both concerts begin at 2pm and the whole concert finishes about 3.15 pm.

Dates Bellingen – Saturday, May 1, at 2 pm in the Bellingen Memorial Hall. Sawtell – Sunday, May 2, 2pm, in the Princess Room of the Sawtell RSL Club.

Tickets: Adults $15, Concession $12, Family $25, Children and Students $5. Children under 12 must be accompanied by an adult.

Tickets are available from Stepping Stone Travel in Bellingen, Love & Kisses, Shop 5 Harbour Drive, Coffs Harbour, the Sawtell RSL Club, and Harvey World Travel, Nambucca Heads.

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