A day of music at Port Arthur

March 30, 2009

Anticipation ran high on Sunday ahead of the biggest musical event at Port Arthur in several years. Early in the day, it was not looking promising. Rain clouds darkened the sky and sea mists rolled in from the Tasman, and it looked like the concert might be a washout.

Undaunted, the young musicians of the Tasmanian Youth Orchestra formed up into duos, trios, soloists and other small ensembles to entertain and delight the audience that gathered within the roofless convict-built church at Port Arthur for a series of ‘morning meditations’ – musical interludes covering a wide range of styles.

Suddenly around the middle of the day, the sky brightened and shortly afterwards raincoats were being replaced by sunhats. The audience moved up the hill from the church to unfurl their rugs and tuck into their picnics and settle back for the show.

After a short overture from the Youth Orchestra, they were joined by the four members of ETHEL for a number of contemporary works including ETHOS (Topography of Freedom) by John King and Mediations in an Emergency, by Phil Kline. The TYO wrapped up the concert with a spirited rendition of Igor Stravinsky’s Firebird Suite.

ETHEL and the Tasmanian Youth Orchestra performed at the Port Arthur Historic Site as part of Ten Days on the Island.

'Morning Mediations' were performed inside the old church

‘Morning Mediations’ were performed inside the old church

An ensemble from the Tasmanian Youth Orchestra

An ensemble from the Tasmanian Youth Orchestra

The crowd gathered on the embankment for the concert

The crowd gathered on the embankment for the concert

Members of ETHEL playing with the TYO

Members of ETHEL playing with the TYO

The TYO and conductor Peter Tanfield infront of the large crowd

The TYO and conductor Peter Tanfield infront of the large crowd