Goulburn Express, October 14, 2013

WITH less than a month to go until the Oratorio, organisers say the event is on track to be something unique for the City. According to the Goulburn Regional Conservatorium’s website, an Oratorio is “a large scale musical work for orchestra and voices”.

But Conservatorium Director Paul Scott-Williams said the Goulburn Oratorio would also be a multi-arts event, including a specially commissioned musical work by composer Stephen Leek, as well as dramatic elements, spoken word, poetry, puppetry and dance and dramatic light projections onto St Saviour’s Cathedral. The production will involve musicians from the Conservatorium as well as performers from the Lieder Theatre. Mr Scott-Williams said about 200 musicians would be involved in the event on the day. “This will be split between choir and orchestra, but there are new people walking in the door every day and that is fine – it’s still not too late to get involved,” Mr Scott-Williams said. He said the musical aspect of the work would run to about 110 minutes. “This consists of about 20 different sections. The Overture is 15-20 minutes long. The closing is also quite major.

“A lot of the libretto has come from a lot of the regional poets, with input also from school children. I took composer Stephen Leek out to the schools to talk to the kids, so they have had some input into the themes and ideas that have come through, from the questions they were asking and the thoughts they had about the future. “The music is very much based on the environment and what the possibilities are for the future. It references things such as wind farms and wetland areas. There is a lovely piece called Song of the Wetlands, which reflects the wildlife that you would find in the wetlands using musical instruments.

He said the Lieder Theatre was linking in with the musical score. “The Lieder Theatre players will be linking in with a number of dramatic sections that Artistic Director Chrisjohn (Hancock) is designing, which will bring out the voice of youth. “This piece is very much about the future – we have celebrated Goulburn’s past with the birthday celebrations earlier in the year.” Mr Scott-Williams said the Oratorio was about finishing off the year in a way that is different, that has not been done before. “This is not a festival. It is a specific arts event. Very few cities in the world have something written for them and about them. A song about Goulburn that has place names and histories that go back to the Aboriginal history – it is unusual to get this kind of work,” he said. “It is about having a moment to bring everyone together in a positive way.

Bring your picnic blanket with your family and let the experience happen to you. There will be a lot going on – visually and musically. Enjoy it.” Those interested in getting involved in the Oratorio can join in on various rehearsals.

Singers have rehearsals every Wednesday form 6pm at the Conservatorium.

Musicians have rehearsals on Thursdays from 7pm.

“People can still jump in. See the rehearsal schedules. It is not an elitist thing. It is meant for everybody,” he said.

The Oratorio will take place on the St Saviour’s Common on November 3. For more information contact the Conservatorium on 4821 8833 or Southern Tablelands Regional Arts on 4821 7028.