Posts Tagged ‘concert


Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone In Concert


Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone In Concert

J.K. Rowling’s Wizarding World & CineConcerts

Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre

Saturday April 1 2017

Reviewed by Xanthe Coward


We’re at Brisbane’s Convention and Exhibition Centre with a crowd that is not your ordinary theatre crowd, although perhaps it’s a new theatre-ish crowd, and we get some interesting looks ourselves, as if we’re the odd ones out. We’ve swept into the venue at the last second, having parked at QPAC because we always park at QPAC (it’s automatic now; the car can magically get itself there), which means that when the show is not there, a graceful-as-a-giraffe little run down Grey Street and across the road is required to get to the right box office. This mixed crowd, in the Convention Centre foyer, is not expecting an evening of live theatre.

They’re here for a movie concert, the first of a new genius series from CineConcerts, featuring your local symphony orchestra playing every note of a Harry Potter film shown on a 40-foot screen.

It may be a movie night but it’s an entirely theatrical event! The vibe is electric and a great number of hard-core fans are proudly wearing Gryffindor shirts, and ties and sweaters and robes. Everybody is so excited to be here.


We take our seats moments before the house lights go down and when Conductor, QSO’s Sarah Hicks, appears, she is welcomed by appreciative applause. She smiles and asks if there’s anyone who’s never been to a live orchestral performance. Many hands go up, and she smiles encouragingly, inviting everyone to get involved. In true pantomime fashion, we should feel free to cheer for our hero and boo the villains. There’s no question about whether or not we’ve seen the film or read the book… No matter what our individual stories are, we’re in for a treat!

I wonder how the orchestra will precisely match the action, but only for half a second before Hicks raises her baton and the Warner Bros logo appears on screen as we hear the first sounds from the string section. A collective shiver runs through the Great Hall. It’s perfect. It’s actually intense. Every moment of the movie becomes sharper and more vital. The entire underscore, which we might forget is there sometimes, when we see the film at home or originally, in the surround sound cinema, comes alive. Every moment of discovery, joy, anticipation, trepidation, celebration and dread is able to be fully experienced, savoured.


And unless we glance at the musicians on stage from time to time, or become mesmerised watching them at their craft, as I do while the harp plays to keep three-headed Fluffy asleep (it’s so beautiful, the sound of faerie slumber), or while the percussionists keep up with thousands of magical additions, intellectually, we almost take for granted that the music is live. But at the same time, soulfully, we’re experiencing something very special. Like a festival event, there’s a true communal feeling, a momentary connection with people we’ve never met, because we all just want Harry to defeat Voldemort! We know this is only the very beginning of an epic battle, which represents something for everyone. And it’s delightful to see this film again, so beautifully realised, and it’s so funny, I’d forgotten.

Poppy has been terrified for years by the more frightening moments in the film, and has never actually watched in its entirety, The Philosopher’s Stone or any of the subsequent films. I’d made this event a surprise so she couldn’t back out and offer her seat to someone else, and she was hesitant about it, telling me she might need to hide under my wrap when we know Voldemort is about to appear. Well, she did hide towards the end, but after settling into the first few magical bars of the music I saw a grin spread from ear to ear as Harry celebrated his 11th birthday and took off to Hogwarts with Hagrid. Guess what’s on in the background as I write this? Poppy has taken out the DVD box collection and put on The Philosopher’s Stone, and as we hear the familiar strains of John Williams’ evocative opening bars, she laments, “The music’s not as good!”


Our Queensland Symphony Orchestra gives The Philosopher’s Stone a new, unique, incredibly magical quality, the full, rich sounds of the live music letting us dive in deeper, remember our original experience of the film and enjoy J.K. Rowling’s Wizarding World all over again.


Don’t miss the next exciting event in the QSO / Cineconcert series on October 7 Harry Potter and The Chamber of Secrets 









David Campbell and John Bucchino in Concert


David Campbell and John Bucchino in Concert

QPAC & Queensland Cabaret Festival

QPAC Concert Hall

June 6 2014


Reviewed by Xanthe Coward


These two talented entertainers are old friends and it shows. There is such a delightful energy between David Campbell and John Bucchino. Whether or not the music is familiar, this is an enjoyable show and a great, relaxed night out.




I love the music, which we got to know very well during Bucchino’s last visit to Oz in 2011, when he joined Georgia Stitt and Jason Robert Brown for a tour of concerts and masterclasses. Bucchino’s CD It’s Only Life has been a favourite in the car ever since and if you consider for a moment how much driving I do that is high praise indeed! The new album, a collaboration between Bucchino and Campbell is out now (and has joined the collection in the car). During Bucchino’s Brisbane masterclass it was fascinating to hear a bit of background – the secrets behind the songs – and observe cabaret magic happen as Bucchino practically handed the vocalists the keys to unlock each song. This we see happening again, but it’s our mate, David Campbell, sharing the intricacies and intimacies of each story, with the perfect example being the opening number, Sweet Dreams. This is a catch-in-your-throat song if ever we heard one. It’s one of my favourite sad songs of all time. It sets a slightly sombre tone for the evening, giving die-hard fans the chance to reimagine the bittersweet stories behind the lyric and newbies (many, I suspect, being television morning show fans) just enough gentle time perhaps to adjust any pre-conceived notions. The mood lifts with the upbeat number that follows, and so begins our rollercoaster evening, punctuated by some super slick shtick and very funny apologies from both Bucchino and Campbell for their over-indulgence in comfortable chat and private jokes to make us feel as if we might be in one or the other’s living room.


I enjoyed the pair’s easy repartee, and felt it added to the intimacy of the show. My mum, and others I suspect, might have preferred to hear more of the music! If you know Bucchino you’ll know his music is not exactly all-Broadway and it’s not quite “cabaret” either, but what is that now, anyway? (Campbell explains his take on contemporary cabaret to arts writer, Elissa Blake, here). It’s somewhere in between, and it gives someone like Campbell the perfect opportunity to flex his performance muscles. He’s a born entertainer – we knew this already – but it’s in the portrayal of a character from Bucchino’s Broadway show, A Catered Affair, that we see once again Campbell’s natural acting ability. He steps forward and slips into the role of the father of a reluctant bride and I make a mental note: tell Lisa (Campbell) to get this guy back into musical theatre. (And I do, immediately after the show via Instagram). Campbell even references Shout! The Legend of the Wild One and for half a second it seems that were a musical theatre option brought to the table he might just let an arm be twisted. In stark contrast, it should be noted that Campbell just as effortlessly takes Bucchino’s hit song from the DreamWorks animated movie Joseph: King of Dreams and makes it his own. He makes this little story, one of the complete ones, soar and sear our hearts.


It helps that there is so much in the music to share. Bucchino is a precise lyricist and a gifted storyteller, but not in the traditional sense of the word. In fact we almost get just as much story in those apologetic interludes as we do in the songs, as he takes great pains to establish the context of each, remembering and describing the people and places that have served as inspiration. The songs themselves become just snippets! But what intriguing snippets, what delectable morsels they are. (Warning: foodie references to follow). Sometimes they start and end with just a feeling, pure intensity, making me think, inexplicably, of Silky’s Pop Cakes, filled with honey, which she serves with Toffee Shocks and Google Buns to unsuspecting guests in her cosy home at the top of The Faraway Tree. (I found a recipe for Pop Cakes here! Wheeeee!).




Of course all composers will claim their songs come from pure feeling but these are different, defining a core feeling from very few words, or from many more words than we might expect. Even when the story “ends”, we can hear that beyond the song the story goes on. The evening is basically a banquet of exquisite tasting plates, just like we find at a couple of our favourite spots that deserve a shout out here, Ole (Little Stanley Street) and the Spice Bar (Mooloolaba Esplanade). Unexpressed and Feels Like Home are lovely, light, warm and delicious little dishes that give us an appetite for something more, something like Puddle of Love. Sweet Dreams and Playbill offer an entirely different taste, like Zumbo’s caramel salted somethings (this is not Zumbo – I know ’cause I finally met him this year at Noosa International Food & Wine Festival! But if you wanna’ try making his macarons this vid is GOOD! REMEMBER- DO NOT OVER PULSE AND DO NOT OVER BAKE. JUST SAYING). On My Bedside Table is the laughter that goes with liquor and cigars at the end of a great night. Taking the Wheel is genuinely joyous; full of zest, and Grateful brings the evening to a gentle, not-too-sentimental close, sending us out with satisfied smiles.


This concert is an intimate insight into a long-lasting friendship and two very different – but maybe not so much – creative careers. Bucchino and Campbell are masters of song and story. I feel privileged to have been a guest at what feels like a living room post-show champagne and canapé party around the piano. This is fun, fascinating and truly entertaining cabaret, and it’s touring so get onto it! Tour dates below.




Friday 6 June Brisbane QPAC Concert Hall
Friday 13 June Adelaide Cabaret Festival
Saturday 14 June Adelaide Cabaret Festival
Wednesday 18 June Hayes Theatre, Sydney
Thursday 19 June Hayes Theatre, Sydney
Friday 20 June Hayes Theatre, Sydney
Saturday 21 June Hayes Theatre, Sydney
Sunday 22 June Hayes Theatre, Sydney
Wednesday 25 June Hayes Theatre, Sydney
Thursday 26 June Hayes Theatre, Sydney
Friday 27 June Hayes Theatre, Sydney
Saturday 28 June Hayes Theatre, Sydney
Sunday 29 June Riverside Theatre, Parramatta




It’s a Giveaway! Sunshine Coast Oriana Choir on Sunday

Sunshine Coast Oriana Choir Presents Classical Masterpieces this Sunday, and you can go for FREE

Thanks to Oriana, we are giving away a double pass to Sunday’s beautiful concert, to the first follower to comment in the comments section below!

You must be a follower of this blog and part of our Facebook community to be elegible, so don’t forget to follow this blog and Like BOTH Sunshine Coast Oriana Choir and XS Entertainment on Facebook!

Tell us why you were (or why you were never) in the choir! GO!

If you’re wondering what all the fuss is about, read on. These guys are GOOD.
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Queensland Champions, the Sunshine Coast Oriana Choir will present Bach’s Magnificat and Mozart’s Requiem with orchestra on Sunday July 21st at 2:00pm at the Nambour State School Community Hall, on Coronation Avenue, Nambour.
The highly acclaimed choral group will perform soloists Rachael Griffin, Cassandra Seidemann, Kim Kirkman and Sam Hartley. The Magnificat and Requiem are rarely performed classical masterpieces and the concert promises to be something quite special.
Written 273 years ago, the Magnificat is intimate, intense, tender, powerful and unique in Johann Sebastian Bach’s large catalogue of work.
Always surrounded by mystery, Mozart’s final work is often the subject of romantic and wild speculation. A lucrative commission by an anonymous stranger – portrayed as a herald of the composer’s own premature death – led to many tales and stories that continue to this day. While the reality is somewhat more prosaic, the Requiem itself remains one of the most intimate, fervent and profound of Mozart’s works.
Bookings for the July 21 performance are available online at
Phone enquiries 0431 542 343.
Tickets will be available at the door of the Nambour State School concert, which will commence at 2:00pm. Group discounts available. Visit for more information.
For your chance to win our double pass to Sunday’s performance, tell us why you were (or why you were never) in the choir!

Charlie Chaplin comes to Noosa

I know. I’m jumping the gun again.

Chaplin – A Life. In Concert doesn’t happen until Friday.


But have you worked it out yet?! That’s right! If you don’t book you MISS OUT!


The show has received some mixed reviews but you know what I think? I think you need to see David Pomeranz in full performance mode for yourself!


David Pomeranz

One actor, one piano, one amazing performance. This is Chaplin – A Life. In Concert, a unique evening of Musical Theatre which dramatises in song, the life story of the brilliant and controversial artist, Charlie Chaplin, starring multi award winning artist, David Pomeranz.


Part Concert; part Stage Musical, Chaplin – A Life. In Concert is an imaginative, emotional and inspiring journey that leaves the audience walking on air, humming its tunes, and in love with the artistry of the great Chaplin.

“The score is a knock­out…touching, clever, theatrical…wonderful!”….­Michael Feinstein



“David Pomeranz is wonderfully talented!”­….Mel Brooks



“I would give up all of my awards, and they are many, if I could do what David Pomeranz can do with his music.”­….Richard Harris



“This young man has captured the soul of the man I knew so well.”….­Jerry Epstein  (Charlie’s associate producer and “right hand” for more than 30 years)



“Straight from the heart…brilliant!”….Southern Evening Echo



I’m checking out Chaplin – A Life. In Concert on Friday night! See you at The J Theatre for 6pm

AND MEOW MEOW from 9:15pm (sorry, it’s sold out!).




Celebrate Mum on Mother’s Day!

Mums are worth celebrating! I know because I’m a mum! Well, this year the Sunshine Coast Oriana Choir are staging a special concert to do just that.
On Sunday the 13th of May at 2:00pm, mum and the family are invited to join the choir and their fans and friends at the Immanuel College Junior School Hall (Wises Road) for a sensational concert of favourite songs and melodies, featuring respected solo artists and the gorgeous youth choir.
As if the program itself wasn’t enough, there’ll also be competitions and prizes AND a lovely High Tea! I love High Tea.
By attending any Oriana concert this year, you are helping them get closer to Europe! That’s right! The community group of 70 singers from all walks of life, from students to seniors, are in the final stages of preparation for an international tour that will see them singing in England, Wales, Belgium and France. Check out the Tour Itinerary!

Tour Itinerary

On the 30th of June we will rendezvous at our hotel in London. During our four days in London we will perform at St Martin in the FieldsSt Paul’s Cathedral and thePalace of Westminster. We might be able to attend a West End show and there will be some time for sightseeing!

On the 4th of July we’ll head to Brighton where we will meet up with our host and friend of Oriana, Dr Roy Wales. We’ll present a concert at St Margaret’s Church, Rottingdean.
The next day we’ll head to Llangollen, Wales to compete at the International Eisteddfod. We’ll be at the Eisteddfod for two days and three nights. We’ll compete in three different sections and if we’re really clever, may score ourselves entry into the ‘Choir of World’ competition. Whilst there, we will have the opportunity to see and listen to other world class choirs and attend a variety of concerts.
Next, on July 8th, it’s off to Belgium. During our four days there, we’ll stay in Bruges, known as ‘The Venice of the North’. We will enjoy a full day excursion to Brussels, a guided tour of Bruges, a visit to Ypres and attend the Last Post Ceremony at Menin Gate. We will perform at St Pieterskerk, Ypres and maybe also at the Menin Gate. There will also be an excursion to Antwerp – Diamond Capital of the World!
Four days in France are next. We’ll enjoy lunch in champagne region on the way to Paris. After a guided tour of Paris, we’ll present a concert at the Eglise de la Madeleine. We have a full day in Paris to enjoy Bastille Day festivities and we will travel to the Palace of Versailles. Our final concert will be Eglise St Merri.
We will farewell Europe with dinner at local restaurant on July 15. After the tour, many members are taking the opportunity to travel further, no doubt savouring the memories or Oriana’s trip of a lifetime.

“The tour will be a trip of a lifetime and we’ve been fundraising like crazy to make it as easy as possible for members to afford. Each person in the choir has made huge financial commitments,” said Mr Calder. “We’d love to involve Sunshine Coast residents and businesses as much as possible and invite people to approach us if they’re interested in supporting us on our journey.”
The tour project has been a remarkable achievement for the musical group, who have been together for just six years. In that time, the current Queensland Champs have developed outstanding levels of performance and professionalism.
Following the Mother’s Day concert this Sunday, the Oriana Choir can be enjoyed at Lake Kawana Centre on June 17th (Farewll and Reception) and upon their return from Europe, on November 25th (Faure’s Requiem & Vivaldi’s Gloria). For more details, check out the website.
Why not show your support for the Sunshine Coast Oriana Choir and, at the same time, with High Tea and music, celebrate mum on Mother’s Day?!