Windsong Series

The intimacy of the Windsong Pavilion provides the perfect opportunity to hear brilliant interpretation of great masterworks in a program of music that will transport the audience and inspire any musician in the room.

Windsong Series 1

Childhood is a fleeting, fragile thing. It’s a time of joy but can so easily be touched by tragedy. Whether you have children of your own or simply remember your own childhood, you’ll know the earnestness and the innocence, the sheer magic, the love and the sorrow it brings.
For this concert with VOX, Sydney’s young adult choir, Elizabeth Scott brings together exquisite music that captures the fragility and wonder of childhood.

There’s joy and humour: many choir-member’s favourite composer John Rutter pays homage to the world of children with nursery rhymes and nonsense poems, and there are highlights from Martin Wesley-Smith’s witty, environmentally aware Who Killed Cock Robin, possibly the only contemporary Australian classical song that’s been known to inspire impromptu sing-alongs!

But heart-rending loss is present; the sombre intensity of Nigel Westlake’s Requiem for his son Eli and James MacMillan’s tender prayer in memory of the children killed in the Dunblane massacre. The themes are timeless but this is a concert for today – music to showcase the beauty and raw emotional power of voices in harmony.

Choir Director Elizabeth Scott is a wonderful role model. She is a sought-after conductor, choir leader, trainer of choir directors and educator. She was the first woman to conduct Handel’s ‘Messiah’ in the Sydney Opera House and is the founder Director of VOX.


Windsong Series 1 | A stunning Sunday afternoon of singing: VOX presents ‘Wonder’- songs inspired by childhood.
Sunday 23 June 2019 | 12.30pm – 2.30pm | Windsong Pavilion

Rehearsals

Having travelled down from Sydney, VOX arrived at Windsong Pavilion on Saturday 22 June, along with conductor Elizabeth Scott and pianist and composer Luke Byrne. They jumped straight into rehearsals, ahead of Sunday’s concert.

Interview with David Francis and Elizabeth Scott

David Francis, Four Winds Executive Director talks to Elizabeth Scott, Director of VOX about VOX’s forthcoming performance at Four Winds.

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.
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 favourite 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 singers’ 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.

Photo credits VOX: John Feely | Keith Saunders