Saturday, 16 October 2010

The Song Company – Sweet Dreams (16th October 2010)

I’m glad I’m finally home! It’s such a nice feeling to be back in familiar territory (even though staying at The Langham was very nice) and mostly seeing Jono again – only 5 days apart and I’ve missed him dearly! He was such a sweetheart, picking me up from the airport last night and we spent most of the evening and today just chilling out at home. Bliss! Around 7pm, we got changed and headed to Wellington Town Hall to see vocal ensemble The Song Company from Australia perform their Sweet Dreams concert. It was a one-night only show in Wellington and I was fortunate enough to win two front row tickets to the show (it would have cost $70 per ticket) from a competition in local newspapers, The Dominion Post! Lucky us ;)

Oh no, we’re late! We drove around the block a few times to find a car park but couldn’t find any and the show was about to begin!! Jono gave up trying to find a street park and drove into James Smith Carpark on Wakefield St where we had to pay $6 for a park. “Hey, your car is NOT small…,” I laughed at Jono as he was slowly moving his Volkswagen Bora up to an elevated empty park which had a sign on the wall that stated ‘Small Cars Only’. “If my car fits the park then it’s a small car,” said Jono who successfully parked his car in the spot and I rolled my eyes but couldn’t help laughing. His car is NOT small – MY Yaris is small!

Rush, rush, rush, we quickly walked towards Town Hall and the show had already started – we were 10 minutes late! The ushers stopped us from entering and because we had front row seats, we could not go to our seats until after the first song concluded (we were told we had to ‘sneak in’ to our seats during the applause). We waited for another 10 minutes and the singing didn’t seem to end so the head usher organised for us to slip in quietly from the back and placed us on the empty seats at the back of the hall (we won’t be able to go to our seats until the interval).

I wouldn’t normally seek out events like this but I’m really glad we got the opportunity to see such amazing singing! The Song Company, made up of a director, 2 sopranos, a mezzo, a tenor, a baritone and a bass singer, each projected their individual voice yet sang beautifully in harmony as a group. The first part of the concert featured madrigals, a type of secular vocal music composition, written during the Renaissance and early Baroque eras, and closed with songs from a singing game during gatherings of revolutionaries in Siena in the 16th century. The singers imitated a Sicilian, a country girl, a German and a Spaniard in their comical singing, at times with the male singers making high-pitched girly voices that really got the audience laughing in stitches. A mix of singing songs in English and Italian – it was brilliant!

The director, Roland Peelman, was an interesting person to watch as he conducted and played musical instruments to accompany the vocal ensemble – he was totally absorbed in his own musical realm, moving expressively as the singing went. And in between the songs, he would explain to the audience the origins of the songs so we got quite an education about the songs sung tonight :)

We headed out to the foyer during the 15-minute interval for some ice-cream and bumped into Joy and her sister so had a lovely chat with the ladies while enjoying our Kapiti ice-creams. “You two really get around and do lots of stuff,” laughed Joy. Indeed we do! Our actual seats were at the 2nd row from the stage and 2 men were seated comfortably with wine in hand chatting animatedly when we walked up to them. “Excuse me, but these are our seats,” said Jono politely and the two men kindly move up front. Yay, we finally got to our seats!

Part two of the concert was all on lullabies, creating a feeling of being in a dream where we explored 3 dreams and a nightmare in song. One of the dreams was Erotique and had the singers depicting a couple flirting and eventually having explosive sexual intercourse which was such a laugh listening to the oohs and aahs, ‘not there…’ and ‘more, more…’ ;P Very clever use of glass harmonica (rubbing partially filled glass with a wet finger) as well creating a calm, continuous tone for the dream-like state. I felt as if I was in dreamland or some far away place for awhile!

The show ended around 10pm and the audience definitely didn’t want the show to end, clapping and stomping their feet loudly, beckoning an encore. The Song Company returned back on stage and performed their rendition of Eurythmics’ Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This) in a cappella with the director playing on the glockenspiel – what a brilliant song for the encore, a follow on from the lullabies! I highly recommend checking this vocal ensemble out if you’ve not been to such a cappella concert. Always a first time for everything :)

Oh, remember the 2 men we shooed off our seats earlier? Turned out one of them was Jack Body, the local composer of some of the lullabies sung! Ops…but hey, he was seating on our seats so we had the right to ask him to move…we weren’t being rude at all!


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