In late 2016, Hobart Men’s Barbershop Harmony Club was approached by Alwyn and Laurie Lewis who have recently taken up residence in Hobart, to participate in a celebration of the life and works of Louisa Anne Meredith, a Tasmanian resident back in the middle 18oo’s and a well-known Australian literary icon of the period.
They were looking for a set of songs that would complement the early February event and a group to perform a song they had written as part of the celebration. Whilst their arrangement was in five parts and for a mixed choir, we agreed to do a quick re-arrangement to allow us to deliver in our favoured four part men’s barbershop style. The event captured our imagination and a willing group of Deep South and Silvertones members volunteered to come back from the Christmas break early to prepare.
Under two magnificent oak trees, a stage of wooden pallets was set in this delightful venue, the heritage listed homestead of Louisa Anne’s former home near Buckland, on Tasmania’s East Coast. Well know Melbourne actor David Tredinnick read passages from Louisa Anne’s book, My Home In Tasmania (1852) accompanied by the haunting notes of Cellist Sarah Matthews.
We performed a five song set within the sold out event, closing each of the morning and afternoon sessions, finishing with the newly arranged Tasmania, Our Home. The audience response was very positive and touched many deeply, with one woman confiding that we had brought her to tears on three occasions during the performance.
Whilst in some ways a challenging outdoor venue, the use of some fold-back amplification assisted the group by providing some feedback to assist in blend and production.
Richard Gardam, who acted as the MD for the project, did a terrific job with the new arrangement, preparations and performance. For the Chorus members, a great day out singing with mates and touching hearts in a unique experience. Who could ask for more!