Volunteer John Isherwood
Patrons and Friends enjoy morning
tea with the musicians
Alecia Benzie, Sarah Gallinagh
and Rob Kirk
Stan Vicich and Gina Humphries
We are nearly there! Please help us fill the last two trombone cases!
Thank you to everyone who has donated so far – every gift makes a difference towards our goal of purchasing a new celeste and a set of five German trombones for the Orchestra.
We are grateful to have received a donation from Andrew and Suzanne Poli to purchase the cases for the set of five German trombones. We are also delighted to announce that Jean and Peter Stokes have generously covered the cost of the German bass trombone, Andrew Marsden has purchased the German contrabass trombone in memory of his wife Jane Talbot, and Tony and Mary Beeley have donated the German bass trumpet.
Help us complete the set of German trombones by donating towards the two remaining instruments: two German tenor trombones which are $6,300 each.
Click here for more information and to donate.
Every year we enjoy creating events and staying in touch with our community of Patrons and Friends. These events offer unique access to our Orchestra.
Annual Patrons and Friends Christmas Party: 4.30pm, Thursday 12 December, Perth Concert Hall
Our annual Christmas Party is always great fun and a lovely opportunity to celebrate a year of wonderful music together. This year, however, is particularly special as it will be your last opportunity to watch and listen to the last hour of Principal Conductor Paul Daniel rehearsal of 2013’s Symphony in the City. You can then join Paul and our WASO musicians for a stand up light dinner and drinks.
To book these events please call the WASO Box Office on 9326 0000.
All proceeds raised from Patrons and Friends events support the Friends of WASO Scholarship.
Our ‘Meet the Section’ series continued for Patrons and Friends in the marvellous Llew Woodfood Function Centre at Penrhos College. Patrons and Friends Committee President Robyn Glindemann warmly welcomed all six permanent members of WASO’s double bass section thanking them for giving up their Sunday afternoon to provide what was an entertaining understanding of the role of the double basses (or ‘bull fiddles’ as they are affectionately known in many quarters).
Andrew Rootes, Joan Wright, Christine Reitzenstein, Louise Ross, Andrew Tait and Mark Tooby opened the concert with a haunting Mozart Quintet which they had especially adapted for the 6 double basses. Next, they played small sections from a range of symphonic music challenging the audience to name each piece. Even without the full orchestra, the excerpts were fairly easily recognisable – confirming how this huge stringed instrument provides such a strong foundation for the orchestra.
WASO’s double bass section is particularly remarkable in that most of the double basses have been manufactured by one of its members, Andrew Tait! He demonstrated a very old Violoni, a predecessor to the double bass which became more popular from around 1750. The Violoni, which Andrew acquired in the UK, is a very heavy instrument which uses sheep gut strings.
Penrhos College was also a significant venue for this event as Joan Wright had taught one of the current music teachers, Leigh Miller. Leigh came to Penrhos only six months before our event to discover sevenunused double basses in the storeroom. He immediately encouraged some students to take up the instrument and we were lucky enough to hear Jasmine, Keely, Vivienne and Jenny perform with our lady musicians, playing the song The More The Merrier. This was no mean feat for these young students after learning for such a short time. They then played the piece again on their own and very well indeed! When introducing the students, Joan, having taught Leigh, felt this made the girls her ‘bass granddaughters’ and no doubt this opportunity to play with professional musicians was a terrific experience for the girls!
The two Andrews with Mark and Joan then played a delightful medley of Johann Strauss pieces before Patrons and Friends Committee President, Robyn invited questions. A question on everyone’s mind was answered by Principal Andrew Rootes who explained that, unlike the other members of the section, he uses the German grip on the bow (which is under the bow) instead of the French style of gripping above the bow, which widely adopted outside Germany and Austria.
Andrew Tait said he has made ten double basses, including one for the Sydney Conservatorium where he had studied. The timber used for double bass manufacture is mainly European spruce from the Swiss Alps and Andrew Tait has a supplier in Sussex for English Sycamore (a maple variety). Unfortunately, Australia does not have a suitable soft wood which is strong enough.
The 80 attendees, including Patrons and Friends, Penrhos student and parents, enjoyed a wonderful afternoon listening to and socialising with the WASO musicians. Many thanks to Penrhos for providing a wonderful venue with lovely food and refreshments.
Aquinas College was the new venue for 60 Patrons and Friends to Meet the Double Reeds on June 26. This enjoyable evening was part of the continuing series of getting to learn more about the various musical sections of the Orchestra.
Four WASO musicians arranged a wonderful program of selected music to demonstrate the features of the instruments which use a double reed to create a sound. Leanne Glover Acting Principal Oboe, Jane Kircher-Linder Principal Bassoon, Adam Mikulicz Associate Principal Bassoon and Stephanie Nicholls Oboe gave insights into the instruments as well as their roles within the Orchestra.
This event was originally to be held in the Aquinas Chapel but a late change saw it moved to the delightful McAppion Theatre where a brand new Kawai Shigeru grand piano was on stage in all its glory. Patrons and Friends Committee President, Robyn Glindemann, praised the effort by Aquinas in raising some $65,000 for this acquisition and then adroitly segued into the current WASO campaign to raise $80,000 for a new celeste and five German trombones saying that $40,000 had already been raised. Then it was over to our four musicians to conduct the event.
The double reed woodwind instruments provide a haunting and mellow flavour to many compositions and we were shown how they can harmonise within their own section. The oboes used were the traditional wooden instrument made from the long grain wood of the grenadilla or African blackwood tree (not to be confused with the granadilla or passion fruit), and the more modern Greenline oboe made from a mixture of grenadilla wood and carbon fibre. This is said to be more durable against cracking from drying out but, as Leanne said, they can be brittle and have been known to shatter, as she had experienced – during a performance! Then there was the oboe d’amore, slightly larger with a bell shaped end and famously used in Ravel’s Bolero. The cor anglais, bigger again and pitched lower than the oboe, was notably featured in the film score of Lord of the Rings.
The bassoons are lower pitched again and the traditional instrument is made from German maple. It can have an ivory annulus at the end but this is largely cosmetic. It is not uncommon for bassoonists to place the core of a toilet roll in the end to lengthen the ‘pipe’ to achieve a particular sound! The contrabassoon is lower again and almost grunts – it is famous for its role in Ravel’s theme from Mother Goose. A wonderfully rich effect is achieved when the bassoons play with the oboes.
The selection and maintenance of the reeds can be the musician’s biggest area of attention. The reeds for these instruments consist of two pieces of bamboo cane which vibrate against each other; this is distinct from the clarinet which has only one reed vibrating against a mouthpiece. Oboists and bassoonist spend a great deal of time cutting and scraping the cane to get the best effect which is an exact art. When they achieve the sound they want this is only part of the story, as a reed may only last a couple of days or less. The musicians therefore have many reeds on hand and, to their keen ear, no two reeds sound exactly the same.
The music chosen to demonstrate the scope of these instruments plus the musicians’ enthusiasm to tell their stories was very rewarding and much appreciated.
The Aquinas Director of Development, Peter Robertson, had earlier arranged for a team of college boarders to assist with parking and to kindly escort Patrons and Friends to the venue and had also arranged the catering for attendees to enjoy after the function. The food was delicious and we can imagine the boys in the boarding house are well looked after!
This was another successful event raising money for the Friends of WASO Scholarship. We must extend thanks to Aquinas College for generously hosting the event and also to Leanne, Jane, Adam and Stephanie for giving us so much of their time and their delightful company.
Thirty three Patrons and Friends were welcomed by Alecia Benzie to the 8th General Meeting of the WASO Patrons and Friends. This meeting provides the opportunity to present an update on WASO activities and also to seek feedback from Patrons and Friends. Alecia took the opportunity to advise that WASO has recently launched a fund to raise $80,000 for the purchase of a new celeste and five new German trombones for the orchestra.
President Robyn Glindemann then took the chair expressing her pleasure with the attendance and advised that forty members had formally sent their apologies. Robyn invited WASO Chief Executive Craig Whitehead to present his report in which he opened by acknowledging the support received from the community and government. His report covered all the undertakings by WASO in 2012 which included many highlights.
It was very gratifying for Patrons and Friends to be given such comprehensive details of the wide range of WASO’s activities, not simply in the Perth Concert Hall, but throughout the entire Western Australian community. Craig concluded by saying how important the Volunteers are to WASO in that the time they give translates directly into financial cost savings.
Robyn Glindemann then presented the President’s Report which covered the activities for 2012 and the progress and plans for 2013. The Patrons and Friends Committee receives great support from the members and WASO staff, helping to continue the fundraising for the Friends of WASO Scholarship Fund. In thanking the committee, Robyn acknowledged Fred Affleck, Lance Risbey and Rob Kirk who are all stepping down. Fred’s term as President, putting the Patrons and Friends on a sound footing, was particularly acknowledged.
Election to the committee for 2013 resulted in the following:
Robyn Glindemann - President
Barry Neubecker - Vice President
John Isherwood - Honorary Secretary
Christine Reitzenstein (Orchestra’s representative)
Graham and Margaret were welcomed as newcomers to the Committee.
Comments and suggestions were raised during General Business which provided valuable feedback to the Committee. Above all, very strong approval was voiced for the way this year’s opening concerts were presented and the innovative after-concert jazz session in the Wardle Room with so many Orchestra members attending.
After the meeting a pleasant get-together was enjoyed over a glass of wine and nibbles.
‘Like a dream come true!’ This was how Andrew Nicholson described his reaction to having the opportunity to play with a professional jazz band. He confessed to being a bit nervous about the venture but you wouldn’t have known it. Andrew’s reputation as WASO’s Principal flute is outstanding and his instrument slotted in beautifully with the jazz group - it could have been a regular member!
Andrew joined jazz vocalist Ali Bodycoat and her ensemble for a tasty treat of music with a ‘different’ style. The audience of Patrons and Friends loved it. Ali’s group comprised of Tom O’Halloran on piano, Carl Mackey playing tenor and alto saxophone, Nick Abbey on double bass and Chris Tarr on drums. The jazz quartet members are graduate musicians who are all teaching at WA Academy of Performing Arts.
In the past, WASO Patrons and Friends have enjoyed some wonderful ‘Jazz in the Garden’ events, performed by various ensembles from the Orchestra. This special event at The Ellington provided a very new experience. The chance to hear such professional musicians playing together was a privilege, and a warm welcome and thanks were given to all Patrons and Friends for supporting the initiative which needed to be spread over two nights due to heavy booking. Graham Wood and Bernard Kong, owners of the Ellington Jazz Club, who are both supporters of WASO, were also thanked as well as Ali and Andrew for generously giving their time to create this event for WASO Patrons and Friends.
As well as authentic jazz, we had a delightful interlude with piano and flute playing Arvo Part’s Spiegel und Spiegel, a sublime haunting piece originally written for violin or viola and piano. By contrast we were treated to two original jazz pieces by members of the quartet. Chris Tarr, who together with Nick Abbey had provided a solid rhythm platform for the music throughout, was let off the leash to show his virtuosity with a spectacular drum solo in a Carl Mackey composition.
The whole evening was seamlessly drawn together by Ali Bodycoat with her magnificent voice and articulation. It was a coincidence that the Wednesday performance (March 27) happened to be the birthday of the late, great American jazz singer Sarah Vaughn. Ali, with her rendition of jazz classics including Summertime and That Old Black Magic, could well have been ‘channelling’ Sarah Vaughn - she was that good. She also gave a soulful performance of the Frank Sinatra hit One More for the Road accompanied only by Nick Abbey on double bass.
The night was a great experience (sorry, great ‘gig’) showing that there can always be opportunities to mix genres of music. In Ellington style, the audience enjoyed drinks and nibbles in the cosy atmosphere with friendly staff. The respect that professional musicians have for each other is obvious and the Ellington event was a clear indication that ‘music is music is music’.
All proceeds from this event support the Friends of WASO Scholarship.
The first WASO in Rehearsal for this year was held on Friday 22 March and allowed those attending to get a close-up sneak preview of the piano soloist Piers Lane before his performance that night at the first Classics concert. As always, the rehearsal was great to see as the complete program was performed. Piers Lane played the incredibly difficult but magnificent Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini by Rachmaninov.
Prior to the rehearsal, recently-appointed Community Engagement Manager Cassandra Lake gave 110 students from several colleges an outline of the concert pieces. These students were involved in music at their schools and would have gained a lot from Cassandra’s very articulate presentation. Among other things she stressed that Paganini’s works were generally ‘fiendishly difficult’. Naturally this was a challenge not to have been ignored by the great pianist Rachmaninov who wrote some 24 variations to Paganini’s theme. The result is a beautiful piece of music with orchestra.
Cassandra also introduced Chris Dragon who has just been appointed Assistant Conductor with WASO. Chris explained his role to the students and also commented on the program being rehearsed. Patrons and Friends were invited to listen to this pre-rehearsal talk.
If you have not attended a WASO in Rehearsal (formerly Tea & Symphony) it is highly recommended. To have a chat over morning tea with the orchestra members always adds to the enjoyment of the whole WASO experience. The next one will be on Friday 3 May prior to the concert titled Mozart’s Last Symphonies.
Finally, it has to be mentioned that Piers Lane’s Rachmaninov was wildly applauded at the Friday concert. As this was the opening concert of the Classics season, WASO staff had gone to great lengths to provide a warm and welcoming atmosphere with helpful Ogden ushers on hand to assist concert goers. To cap it off, the post-concert jazz with the Matthew Styles Quartet in the Wardle Room was well attended by orchestra members and concert goers. This was a great touch.
The Music Season is away!
WASO music lovers were able to alleviate their annual withdrawal symptoms with a great weekend of music to kick off the 2013 season. The Concert Hall was almost a full house for Morning Symphony on Thursday 14 March, then the Gala Season opening on Friday 15 March and Saturday 16 March with Principal Conductor Paul Daniel directing our WASO. To cap it off, the first Patrons & Friends event was a private screening of the dramatic new film Performance on Sunday 17 March at the Windsor Cinema where 126 attended.
A famous New York string quartet in its 25th year faces a crisis following the announced illness of its leader. The personal dramas that unfold make for a realistic portrayal of how things can degenerate, even in a string quartet. A marvelous background of Beethoven’s String Quartet in C Sharp Minor throughout the film gave special delight to our particular audience. The training of the actors (all of whom were brilliant) to ‘play’ their instruments was quite amazing. Although a fairly heavy drama in the eyes of many, it was very well done.
After the film Alecia and Sarah from WASO’s Private Giving Team, along with committee member Rob Kirk, served tea and coffee while attendees enjoyed a social chat. It was great to catch up with so many friendly faces again after our long summer break.
This was a good start to what will be a full program of events for our loyal Patrons and Friends this year and, remember, all funds raised go to the Friends of WASO Scholarship.
Thank you to our volunteers! We invited all our volunteers to a lovely Afternoon Tea at the Perth Mint to show our appreciation for all their hard work in 2012! Despite the unseasonal rainy weather, it was a friendly and relaxed way to end the year.
WASO is lucky enough to have received the assistance of over 35 regular volunteers this year. They provide invaluable support to the Orchestra’s musicians and administrative staff, both in the office and at our performances. Our volunteers are often the first point of contact for many people when they arrive at the Perth Concert Hall and receive a program. Volunteers (or ‘vollies’ as they are affectionately known at WASO) assist with the many events we hold through the year for our Patrons and Friends, and help WASO’s administration staff in the music library and with mail-outs.
Special thanks to our Patrons & Friends Committee – a merry band of volunteers who assist with creating the annual calendar of events for our Patrons and Friends. All proceeds from these events go towards the Friends of WASO Scholarship to provide development opportunities for musicians.
Last year we held a volunteer induction evening for new and current donors to run through the role our volunteers play, mostly at the Concert Hall. It was a very successful evening and we will be holding a similar event early next year.
We’d love to have you on board! If you are interested in volunteering your time to assist WASO, please contact Sarah Gallinagh on 9326 0075 or email@example.com.
Thank you to all our wonderful ‘vollies’ from all of us at WASO!
WASO’s rehearsal for Symphony in the City provided the perfect occasion for the Christmas party. One hundred and twenty eight Patrons, Friends, guests and volunteers joined members of WASO staff and of course the wonderful musicians, during their rehearsal break, to celebrate the year.
Before the rehearsal session began, conductor Paul Daniel welcomed everyone saying that the Patrons and Friends form the core of the audiences and said how much their support is appreciated. The orchestra then rehearsed The Ride of the Valkyries, March to the Scaffold and the music from the movie Pirates of the Caribbean. Our musicians work very hard under Paul’s direction to bring us the pleasure they do!
The Wardle Room was the venue for drinks and a barbecue-style meal while mingling with the musicians. The uncertain weather prevented the intended outdoor terrace location but nothing could spoil the warm mood of the occasion.
The formalities were led by P&F Committee President Robyn Glindemann, who thanked the committee and all Patrons and Friends for supporting the events during the year and promised that planning was well underway for some great events in 2013. She said the committee continued to seek new events to attract more newcomers, reminding the attendees that all profits go towards the Friends Scholarship for WASO players. Robyn especially acknowledged the presence of this year’s awardee violinist Louise Sandercock who took the opportunity to study in Italy and the Czech Republic. She recently passed the prestigious Fellowship in Music (FMusA), which is the highest qualification offered by the Australian Music Examinations Board (AMEB). A great achievement! (This reporter also discovered that it was Louise’s birthday!).
WASO Chairman Janet Holmes à Court then added her thanks to the Patrons and Friends. Government grants do not cover WASO’s costs and the support of Patrons and sponsors is vital as is that of Friends and volunteers. Janet welcomed Paul Daniel and his wife Sarah, CEO Craig Whitehead and board members Bill Bloking, Anne Nolan, Mark Coughlan and Julian Sher. 2012 was a year when we farewelled David Elton (now principal trumpet with SSO) and Rachel Silver (now with MSO). Both returned as guests with WASO for last week’s spectacular Wagner. John and Dorothy Ford have announced their retirement from the orchestra and were given rousing applause. The year also saw the 25th anniversary of Conductor Laureate Vladimir Verbitsky. The new Latitude series of concerts at the Astor Theatre were a sell-out and, significantly, attracted a completely new audience. The Making Music Together Campaign reached its $30,000 target and a commissioned original composition will be premiered by WASO in 2015.
This year’s Christmas party saw many retired Emeritus musicians invited to join the celebrations. The popularity of this decision was obvious by the applause when Janet read out the names of Jack and Jay Harrison, Graham Wood, Jim Mann, John Dean, Kevin Johnston, David Philips, and Robert and Jill Cooper. The present orchestra members still have a strong bond with their past players. The bonus for Patrons and Friends is that they can share these moments. Janet wished everybody a safe and happy holiday season and while the orchestra members went back to work, Patrons and Friends lingered on to reminisce on the year that was, and were left in no doubt that their efforts are really appreciated by WASO.