Philharmonic sounds at the Musicians Club

Singers Mark Curtis, Shelley Forrest and Bridie Garrad. Insert: A Philharmonic Concert ad from 1967. PICTURES : LIZ BREBNER

Around 100 people enjoyed the singing voices of the Broken Hill Philharmonic Choir at Hope for a New Horizon concert on Sunday afternoon.

After two years of postponements due to COVID-19 restrictions, the Choir were able to perform.

“It was a wonderful performance under the guidance of Diane Magor, and full points to her for the quality of the concert,” concert goer and an honorary member of the Philharmonic Society, Don Mudie, said.

The atmosphere at the Broken Hill Musician’s Club before the performance was upbeat and filled with anticipation and expectation as people waited for the concert to begin.

People greeted old friends, and the conversations flowed freely.

“Two years is too long” and “Isn’t it good to be able to come to something like this again” were among the pre-show comments.

One man from the audience invited Diane Magor for a quick waltz in the aisles before the concert began.

“You know I’m a singer, not a dancer,” she joked.

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The concert began with Ms Magor conducting, Marilyn Harris accompanying on the piano, and the Choir singing “Bless this house” and “Let there be peace on Earth”.

Grace Molloy followed these pieces by singing the Next Right thing from Frozen 2.

The Choir pieces were interspersed with features that included the women singing Shenandoah and Mark Curtis (tenor) solo of What the World Needs Now is Love.

Mark Curtis is the only tenor in the Choir, so Ms Magor sent the call out to the audience for any tenors to consider joining.

The audience enjoyed other solo performances such as Ms Molloy’s second piece “Finding Wonderland”, Sandra Warren’s “What a Wonderful World”, and Kyla Vine’s instrumental piece

“Concertino for flute and piano”, accompanied by Lois Eaton on the piano.

An audience member from Sydney sat at the piano and played during the intermission.

Chris Harrison donned a cowboy hat as the Choir sang “Forever Country”, a medley of well-known songs by Willie Nelson, Dolly Parton and John Denver, such as Country Roads, On the Road Again and I Will Always Love You.

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Audience members were heard quietly singing along to parts of Forever Country and the Long and Winding Road performed by the Quintet; Sandra Warren, Joanne Crase, Diane Magor, Peter Fox, led by Mark Curtis.

The Philharmonic Choir has had a long and rich history in Broken Hill since its establishment in 1934.

The Choir has been led by conductors Molly Carrack Morgan, Elsa Nankivell, Joyce Sandersen, Prue O’Donovan, Ella Minnis, Nessie Osten and now Diane Magor.

The Choir has produced singers like Judith Saliba, who went to work with the Australian Opera and June Gough, who adopted the stage name of June Bronhill, who worked in both opera and musical theatre here in Australia and London.

Mr Mudie believes there has always been a good connection between the Choir and the local community, including the mines.

The Choir has had singers that worked at the mines.

The North mine gave the Philharmonic Society the stanchions and platforms to hold the three levels of the Choir and were used in the town hall and then the civic centre.

Globally, mining and singing seem to go hand in hand.

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The Welsh Male Mining Choirs in the early part of the last century left a legacy of singing that continues to this day.

Mr Mudie explained that over the years, people were sometimes members of the Philharmonic Choir and other choirs simultaneously.

The Philharmonic Choir maintained a good relationship with those choirs, including the Quartette Club Choir, an all-male choir that disbanded in 1977, the Catholic, Anglican and Methodist Choirs, the Community Voices Choir and the Silver City Singers, a social group choir explained Mr Mudie.

The Philharmonic Choir also teamed up with Broken Hill’s Repertoire Society between 1989 and 1992 to perform Hello Dolly, the Mikado and Carousel.

Sunday’s performance kept the tradition of quality singing alive in Broken Hill.

Ms Magor thanked the Musician’s Club for kindly donating its venue for the Choir to hold their events and the Broken Hill City Council for their ongoing support of the Broken Hill Philharmonic Society.

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