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The calm AFTER the storm!

That was the weekend that was!

Anzac Day – Oriana sang at Buderim’s Dawn Service for the first time, to a gathering of two thousand people. Their performance was so well received, and so moving, that one can almost guarantee that it will not be the last.

Then: Thursday through to Saturday was Oriana’s first encounter with the musical force of nature that is Andrew Wailes.

He came directly from airport to rehearsal venue on Thursday evening, with hardly a moment to draw breath. After a brief introduction by La Presidente Melissa, and a similarly brief, but affable and friendly response from Andrew, Oriana was off - and full on - until nearly 6.00 pm on Saturday.

Over three rehearsal sessions, totalling nearly nine solid hours, Andrew worked us like a benevolent drill sergeant. With a seemingly endless stream of anecdotes, analogies, jokes, stories, history, and with boundless energy and enthusiasm, he brought us to a place where we are simply ‘raring to go’. During the occasional break period, people whose feeling for the music of Elijah had been, shall we say, less than enthusiastic, were coming up to me and saying things like, “Now I get it!”, and “He’s turned me around!” Inspirational indeed!

Andrew’s knowledge and understanding of this wonderful music is incredibly deep and wide. He gave us an invaluable lesson on the history of the work, Mendelssohn’s influences, the impact of Elijah’s premiere performance and its continuing popularity since, and so much more. There would not be one chorister who could say that they didn’t learn a great deal from this huge rehearsal weekend. And I think that Andrew was pleased, and possibly a little surprised, to find the choir so ready to respond to all that he gave us.

Saturday afternoon, after the final rehearsal session, members were ‘tired but inspired’. Now, with just 2 weeks till showtime, we’re ‘steady, nearly ready.’ A huge Thank You to Andrew Wailes for his inspiration, an equally huge Thank You to Fay Baker for her preparation, and now, roll on May the 18th!

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