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2009 - our 12th year

A year to breathe

After two very hectic years we felt like we needed a moment to breathe in 2009! LEC had been involved in fourteen separate programs during 2007 and 2008: we wanted to slow down and take stock. And so the theme for our  mid-year concert A Moment to Breathe was decided. But before that we performed a one-hour concert live on radio and then, towards the end of the year, we were filmed by the Compass program for ABC TV.

In 2009 we performed four programs and premiered six new songs that we had commissioned and a further six that we co-commissioned with Moorambilla Voices. We also participated in the world premiere of four songs commissioned by the Moorambilla Festival. And we initiated the very first lantern parade at Carols on Norton.

Performances

Our first performance took us to the Joan Sutherland Performing Arts Centre at Penrith (pictured below) where our one-hour concert was broadcast live on Sunday Live for ABC Classic FM radio. The highlights of the concert were four world premiere songs: Sally Whitwell's The Song of the Wandering Aengus and She Walks in Beauty; Elena Kats-Chernin's Longing; and Luke Byrne's Immortal Beloved featuring soloist Billie McCarthy. 

Artistic Director Michelle Leonard and accompanist Luke Byrne with LEC on stage at the Joan Sutherland Performing Arts Centre at Penrith. Soloists pictured are Christina Leonard (soprano saxophone), Nadia Piave (soprano) and Billia McCarthy (soprano). 

 

During April we performed at Balmain's Acoustica Festival and at a benefit concert for Conservatorium violin student Iggy Kim (injured in a car accident). Then in May we presented our mid year concert, A Moment to Breathe, at St James Church. The program centered on The Chichester Psalms composed by Leonard Bernstein. Our accompanist, Luke Byrne, inspired by the psalm format and the venue, wrote a new piece for us: Salmos di Santiago. The program also included songs by Martin and Lauriedsen.

We traveled to Coonamble for the Moorambilla Festival in September where we participated with Moorambilla Voices in the world premiere of two song cycles: Elena Kats-Chernin's Biaime's Ngunnhu and Dan Walker's Yowie! This music was extremely well received by audiences. You can purchase the double-CD live album by clicking here

As usual, we rounded out the year with Carols on Norton. But this year for the first time we added a Lantern Parade to the spectacle. Also this year we had the added excitement of participating in a film about choral singing at Christmas for the Compass program on ABC TV. This program aired on ABC1 on Christmas Eve 2010. 
 

   March - Sunday Live for ABC radio
   April - Acoustica
   April - Iggy Kim benefit concert
   July - A Moment to Breathe
   September - Language, Landscape and Legends: the Moorambilla Festival
   December - Carols on Norton
   December 2010 - Compass on ABC1 TV

Commissions

LEC commissioned six new songs and co-commissioned a further six in 2009. We also participated in the world premiere of four songs commissioned by the Moorambilla Festival. Our twelve commissions were:

Premiere    Composer               Name
2009                                                                                                     
2 March     Luke Byrne              Immortal Beloved
                Sally Whitwell          She Walks in Beauty
                Sally Whitwell          The Song of the Wandering Aengus
5 July        Luke Byrne              Salmos de Santiago
26 Sept     Luke Byrne              Back in My Day
                Elena Kats-Chernin ^ Baiaime's Ngunnhu suite (6 movements)
20 Dec      Dan Walker             What Can You See?
                         ^ Co-commissioned with Moorambilla Voices


Recordings released

Two recordings that featured LEC were released in 2009. Firstly, our very first DVD Live at St James was launched in September. This is actually a double-DVD that includes our 2007 and 2008 concerts in St James Church Sydney. The music includes Dan Walker's Seven Deadly Sins, Haydn's Nelson Mass and Mozart's Vesperae Solennes de Confessore and features soloists Jane Sheldon (soprano), Natalie Shea (alto), Dan Walker (tenor), Craig Everingham (bass) and Paul Goodchild (trumpet).  

In November, the Moorambilla organisation released a double-CD recording Live at the Moorambilla Festival. These two CDs are a taste of what was made in Coonamble in a few hot and dusty days in September 2009. Those who were there know that the atmosphere was magic.

The CDs feature the Moorambilla Voices children's choir, the Leichhardt Espresso Chorus, the Maxed Out Company and more, singing fresh new Australian music composed by Elena Kats-CherninDan WalkerLuke ByrneBen Van Tienan and Michelle Leonard


LEC and Moorambilla Voices singing The Spirit Within at Moorambilla 2009.

LEC and Moorambilla Voices singing Knowledge at Moorambilla 2009. 

Behind the scenes

The main initiative of 2009 was the first-ever Lantern Parade at Carols on Norton. With the support of our partners, LEC provided a large number of free workshops where members of the community were shown how to construct their own lantern for the evocative lantern parade at dusk (and to keep afterwards). 

Another major initiative was the launch of Leichhardt Espresso Chorus's new chamber choir. As a smaller, more concentrated version of the Espresso, our chamber chorus was named Ristretto. They performed a very successful first gig of Christmas music at Vaucluse House, with soloists Billie McCarthy (soprano) and Paul Goodchild (trumpet). The gallery of pictures below was taken at this gig.

Formal RistrettoInformal RistrettoLuke Byrne and Michelle LeonardAllan Redpath and Wilhelmina Brown
Pepe NewtonMichelle LeonardPaul Goodchild and RistrettoRistretto performing at Vaucluse House

The committee also organised a fund-raising dinner on 8 November.


Committee

President: Lliane Clarke
Vice President and Artistic Director: Michelle Leonard
Secretary: Pepe Newton
Treasurer: Chris Robinson
Committee: Miriam Poole, Richard Goodman, Neale Morison, Allan Redpath, Sally Hanna-Osborne, Lindie Ward, Jeanne Kinninmont, Di Beauchamp 

Section Leaders
Sopranos: Margaret Grove, Jeanne Kinninmont, Lliane Clarke and Di Beauchamp
Altos: Miriam Poole, Sally Hanna-Osborne, Lindie Ward and Pepe Newton
Tenors: Tom Williams
Basses: Richard Goodman, Chris Robinson and Allan Redpath

New Singers

The following singers joined LEC for the first time this year: Bronwyn Alcorn, Ruggero Benvenuti, Wilhelmina Brown, Paul Collett, Shane Dellaca, Bill East, Mary Johnston, Christina Perry, Phillip Perry, Mark Robinson, Kate Scarfo, Michelle Tregoning.

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