David Francis, Four Winds Executive Director talks to Elizabeth Scott, Director of VOX about VOX’s forthcoming performance at Four Winds:
‘Wonder’- songs inspired by childhood | Sunday 23 June | 12.30pm – 2.30pm | Windsong Pavilion
I had the pleasure of working with Elizabeth Scott, Director of VOX when I was GM of Sydney Philharmonia Choirs…so I was really pleased to catch-up with Liz to talk about their up-coming performance at Four Winds on Sunday 23rd June at 12.30pm.
Liz mentioned that her son is now 5 years old and that the program VOX will perform is inspired by her reflections on being a mother.
Liz told me that she has chosen music that she loves “this is a program of beautiful and powerful pieces”. She wants to present a program which explores the different lenses through which people see or experience childhood, including moments of great joy as well as profound sadness.
For Liz the pieces in this program are united by a simplicity present in their texts and stories and the fact that simplicity can be deeply moving. For instance, Australian composer Nigel Westlake’s work ‘My Joy is Born’ builds on a simple exchange of the words, ‘sun’ and ‘son’. Nigel’s piece is a short extract from a much larger work he wrote following the death of his son; it is one of Liz’s favorite works in the program.
There is no doubt that this program is both musically and emotionally varied – the spectrum ranges from film music to Grimm’s fairy tales via choral lullabies and Stevie Wonder…. Liz mentioned that switching between the “emotional ups and downs” throughout the program places real demand on the singers, particularly in many of the songs which are performed without accompaniment.
A version of this program has been performed in the Utzon Room in Sydney Opera House and I was interested in how the audience responded. Liz commented that the audience loved the variety, the many colours and sound-worlds created by this “beautiful and powerful choral music”. Many audience members reflected that “there’s a lot that feels familiar throughout the program and a lot to connect with”. This isn’t entirely surprising as many of the stories and tunes are familiar, and the program includes beautiful works by well-known and much-loved Australian composers. One of the composers, Luke Byrne will be at the concert to accompany his ‘Four Songs from Grimm’s’ on piano – a suite Liz commissioned through her work at The Arts Unit, NSW Department of Education.
We talked about Liz’s role as an educator and her passion for singing.
We are in absolute agreement that singing is a lifelong activity. Liz is a great example of someone who, through her varied portfolio of work as a teacher, choir-leader and conductor is able to nurture singer’s interests in school, through university and beyond. VOX, whose members are between the ages of 18 and 30 are all experienced choristers and many go on to join other choirs or major Symphony Choruses, hungry to sustain their love of singing. It’s living proof (as if we needed it) of how singing is such a fabulous way to engage in music making throughout your life.
I’ve heard this choir perform several times, most recently in the Concert Hall of Sydney Opera House – and they are stunning.
As a singer and choir-leader myself I couldn’t recommend this concert more highly; it’s going to be truly memorable. I look forward to seeing you there…
Please discover more details about this program and book your tickets for this and our other two Windsong Series concerts.
Photo credits VOX: John Feely | Keith Saunders