Another Christmas Cracker   

Saint James Church, Woburn Rd Lower Hutt

Saturday, 5th December, 2015

Conductors: Lynne Scott and Brent Stewart


cello scrollThis last concert for the year was a double orchestra concert - featuring the orchestra of the Gallery Music Centre, based at Avalon School, which is conducted by Lynne Scott.  They led off the evening with the Egmont overture of Beethoven. It is named after a Dutch nobleman who lead an uprising against oppression. Our Mount Egmont (Mt Taranaki) is named after an ancient Lord of the Admiralty, now forgotten. The Egmont overture became the anthem of the Hungarian uprising in 1956, so it still resonates.

The photo at right  is chosen because of the scrolls. Violinists and violas peer over a bridge along receding parallel lines of strings at their scrolls, but the bigger string instruments have them whispering advice over the shoulder.

Plus it was practice time, in the afternoon, and the light was better. Another photo taken then shows the brass section, and some wind. The empty chairs are set aside for Gallery members.
Wind section, practice

Take a hike....

If you are early at the concert (or filling in time between the afternoon practice and the evening concert), go for a walk over the Ewen Bridge. There is a pedestrian crossing by the church, and any subsequent crossing of busy roads is avoided by walking under the bridge. Below is a photo of the church (and a city council Seasons Greetings" sign) and a view down the Hutt River towards Eastbourne.  Thus to the concert proper...

St James churchHutt river

Photos from the concert.


Above are pictures of the combined Gallery and HVO orchestras playing the Brandenburg Concerto and ending with the Radetsky March. 

A highpoint of the concert was the second ever playing of "A Christmas Cracker" which is scored for 59 crackers, each getting to only appear once. (But they do go out with a bang!) This featured two orchestra members, Barry Mawer and Joon Toon, ostensibly two imported experts familiar with the magic of gunpowder. Also invited to participate were any audience members who felt a flimsy paper hat would act as bomb protection (no takers) plus any youngsters looking for hats, unexploded crackers, plastic curios and elf jokes.

St James churchSt James church

The Cracker Concerto was a resounding success, just as for its premier last year. This time it was filmed and can now be seen on UTube (6 mins long, mostly on how to play rare orchestral instrument, the non-reusable untuneable symphonic cracker.) 

The concert ended with a set of Christmas carols, with the words available in the programme, because no-one ever knows verse four of any of them. Or if they do, they can't sing the high notes, so that is much the same. 

And so the concert ended on a high. An excellent end to a busy year.


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