Hills Choir 30th anniversary concert & party

The Hills Choir Inc. celebrated their 30th anniversary with a lovely concert on 11 December 2016 and a private party a week later.

Jean Bourgault conducted the choir for her final performance (again). Next year the conductor’s role will be taken by the very talented local singer, Storme Reeves.

Sitting in the audience I was privileged to hear a string of wonderful performances by the choir and the long list of guest performers including the student percussion ensemble of Eastern Hills Senior High School in Mount Helena, Western Australia, where the concert was held.

There’s always a bit of nostalgia for me when I listen, play or sing in this wonderful and fairly new auditorium at EHSHS. In the 1970s I was a student there, doing years 8, 9 and 10 before heading ‘down the hill’ to Governor Stirling SHS to do my final two years before university. For years 11 and 12 I needed to change to Govo because Eastern Hills didn’t have a classroom music programme in those days, though in year 8 I did get six months of trumpet lessons in a demountable classroom with Sam Maher (a classmate for that, much better at trumpet than myself, was Phil Bourgault, one of Jean’s sons). Now the school has an amazing specialist music programme (largely developed I suspect by Maurice Bourgault, another son), with the student performers often participating in the choir’s concerts.

Jean Bourgault was the music teacher at the primary school next door. Her husband, Henri, taught me French in Year 8. Jean and Henri were classmates of my late father in teachers’ college (Dad was a mature age student) but I didn’t know this until a few years ago. Small town, Perth, eh?

Jean was never my teacher but I distinctly remember standing by the side of the road outside the schools showing her a small music theory book in which I’d written answers. She had a quick look at it and very politely and tactfully said “You ought to have a theory teacher.” This must have had quite an impact because I subsequently had a lot of theory teachers.

There’s no great review of the concert here from me, really just a few pics for posterity including the printed programme (zoom in to read it). More pics have been put up on a Facebook page.

At the party a week after the concert I had the opportunity to play a couple of original piano compositions which I completed earlier this year. Puck at Parkerville is a playful neo-baroque solo inspired by the mischievous character Puck from Shakespeare’s play A Midsummer Night’s Dream, which was produced in my childhood home, the Parkerville Amphitheatre, in the 1970s.

Rainbows Over Hovea is a moody but ultimately uplifting work inspired by the Jane Brook valley, particularly the lovely areas around the amphitheatre (which, despite its name, is in Hovea) and the John Forrest National Park. Both piano solos will be published soon.

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Jean Bourgault conducting the Hills Choir. Eastern Hills Senior High School Auditorium, Mount Helena, Western Australia.

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Bassoonist Melissa Mikucki accompanied by Brandon Scherrer.

Hayley Ferris playing Schubert's Impromptu Op. 90, No. 4 (piano solo).

Hayley Ferris playing Schubert’s Impromptu Op. 90, No. 4 in A flat (piano solo).

Storme Reeves singing Have Yourself a Merry Christmas, with Alan Banks

Storme Reeves singing Have Yourself a Merry Christmas, with Alan Banks

Hills Choir concert programme for 11 December 2016.

Hills Choir concert programme for 11 December 2016.

Hills Choir concert programme for 11 December 2016, inside pages.

Hills Choir concert programme for 11 December 2016, inside pages.

Below are pics from the large end-of-year Christmas Party at a private residence in Glen Forrest, 17 December 2016. Many former choir members were able to attend.

Choir history display board One.

Choir history Display Board One.

Chloe Mauger and Display board Two, which she had a big hand in making.

Chloe Mauger and Display Board Two, which she had a big hand in making. I saw myself in some of the pics on this board.

The piano on which I played Puck at Parkerville and Rainbows Over Hovea, plus another Schubert Impromptu (No. 3 in G flat).

Me at the party, sitting at the piano on which I played Puck at Parkerville and Rainbows Over Hovea, plus another Schubert Impromptu (Op. 90 No. 3 in G flat).

For these pics and more see www.facebook.com/MixMargaretDylanJones

See the choir’s own website at www.hillschoir.org.au

Please feel free to make a comment here and/or on Facebook.

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