Dazzling performance supports Port Stephens’ future cultural endeavours

The Philomel of Sydney Trio performing to a packed audience.

A PACKED Nelson Bay Community Hall crowd was dazzled by a recent cultural performance delivered by the Philomel of Sydney Trio and vocal soloist Jennifer Kaye.

The ‘Sea Pictures’ performance was held to support the Tomaree Cultural Development Group’s fundraising campaign for an arts and entertainment venue in Port Stephens.

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Attendees arrived a little curious and unsure of what to expect, having been promised a “tasting plate” of vocal music across the centuries and songs by nineteenth century British composer Edward Elgar.

However from the first appearance of the group on stage a sense of excitement started to build as the program moved from a Gilbert and Sullivan number through to some Scottish folk songs.

The director of the group, Jennifer Kaye, guided the audience through the unfamiliar material with some spoken commentary, and the biggest surprise of the evening was the audience reaction to the vocal fireworks and close harmonies of the sixteenth century English and Italian madrigals (a capella songs).

Jennifer Kaye told News Of The Area, “People were cheering and getting really swept away by the music.

“We put some more familiar jazz and film music items in the program, but it was the madrigals that they really loved, and that came as a total surprise to us!”

Pianist Eun-Jung Byun thrilled the audience with her sensitive and beautiful piano accompaniments.

“Eun-Jung is listening to you all the time and can tell from the way you breathe how you are going to sing a phrase,” Jennifer said.

“It is a joy to perform with such a wonderful artist.”

The two performed the Edward Elgar ‘Sea Pictures’ songs together, which were beautifully accompanied by projected images of stunning Port Stephens seascapes.

Kathie Barnes, Chairman of the Tomaree Cultural Development Group, told NOTA, “We were a little unsure when Jennifer offered us this concert as a fundraiser, but we were thrilled and uplifted, and frankly gobsmacked by the experience.

“This just shows the quality of the acts that would come to Port Stephens if we had a proper theatre.

“The concert only happened because there were people who were prepared to bring projection equipment and a piano in pieces up the M1, and it is unacceptable that a community of the size and profile of Port Stephens lacks a modern, purpose-built performance venue.

“We need and deserve better and we have a unique opportunity at the moment in the Tomaree Headland to create something wonderful that will inspire and enrich future generations of locals and visitors to the Port,” she said.


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