The 39th Intervarsity Choral Festival: SYDNEY, 13 August-28 August 1988

Chorusmaster: Ben Macpherson, John Grundy
Accompanist: Katherine Gibbney, Philip Mayers
Camp Venue: Stanwell Tops Conference Centre
Participants: AUCS, SCUNA, Faye Dumont Singers, FUCS, MUCS, MonUCS, MUS, NUCS, PUCS, QUMS, SUMS, TUMS
FIBS: SCOUTMASTER (Strict Choral Obedience: University-Tested Management Assistance Schedule. Third Edition, Revised)


Convenor: Stephen Schafer
Secretary: Tim Matthies
Treasurer: Andrew Thalis
ConMan: Siobhan Lenihan
Publicity: Philippa McDonald
Librarian: Guy White
Camp Officer: Hugh Swinbourne
Transport/Billeting: Matthew Brownlie
Social Sec: Cathy Bishop
Publicity Liaison: Noni Casey
Fundraising: Eileen Wilkinson
SUMS Liaison: Ian Seppelt


20 Aug.1988, Seymour Centre, University of Sydney
Conductor: Ben Macpherson
Soloists: Andrew Farrell
Program: Martin Wesley-Smith Songs of Australia (libretto by Peter Wesley-Smith)
Notes: Premiere performance. The concert also included Nicholas Routley conducting the Sydney University Chamber Choir in two songs by Percy Grainger and works by Ross Edwards (Flower Songs) and Claire Maclean (Christ the King), and Tony Backhouse conducting the Cafe of the Gate of Salvation Gospel Choir
Review: Peter McCallum, “When simple is simplistic”, Sydney Morning Herald, 23 Aug. 1988, p.16. “It was only in the main work of the program … receiving a first performance from the full Intervarsity Choir conducted by Ben Macpherson, that the escape from sophistication actually sharpened focus on the work’s message, the by now familiar tale of the follies of the last 200 years. The Wesley-Smiths cultivate a cabaret style, mixing pastiche and satire … Surviving intonation and rhythmic problems from the choir, the score is perhaps the most successful Wesley-Smith collaboration yet, carrying a strong message with unsubtle but telling directness”.


25 & 27 Aug., Concert Hall, Sydney Opera House
Conductor: Charles Dutoit
Soloists: Joan Carden, Amanda Thane, Jennifer Bates, Elizabeth Campbell, Bernadette Cullen, Horst Hoffmann, Michael Lewis, Donald Shanks
Program: Gustav Mahler, Symphony No.8 in E flat
Notes: For the Sydney Symphony Orchestra. With the Sydney Philharmonia Choirs, boys from St Mary’s Cathedral and Newington College
Review: Jill Sykes, “Barrage of monumental Mahler”, Sun-Herald, 28 Aug. 1988, p.112. “There’s no doubt about Mahler in monumental mode. It may not be the most satisfying musical experience, but as an event it is irresistible … There were only about 600 in this performance, but even that lessor [sic.] total took up nearly one quarter of the Opera House Concert Hall … The result of [the performers’] efforts was a thrilling barrage of well focused and keenly balanced sound, contrasting with quieter passages of equal intensity … it was certainly a magnificent achievement and a memorable concert".
Martin Long, “Big performance of a monumental work”, Australian, 29 Aug. 1988, p.10. “ By any measure it was a big event … Impressive from the outset and moving in its cumulative effect, it was a rare thing – a performance of a huge, difficult and unfamiliar work where nothing faltered and no allowances were needed to be made. The choirs were well-prepared and responsive, the orchestral playing first class."
Roger Covell, “Standing room only as Mahler’s army invades the auditorium”, Sydney Morning Herald, 27 Aug. 1988, p.79. “The assembled music-makers leapt into full-throated attack or settled into careful reconnaissance with admirable decisiveness. As a whole, singers and players had many reasons to feel proud to be associated with this occasion … the amount and quality of the choral contribution, which is the main element in larger numbers, were more than acceptable. There were some thrilling choral sounds, both loud and soft, and much certainty and readiness, notably in the intricate changes of vocal texture of the first movement.”


An Australian bicentennial year event. Workshops held on 24 August: Jazz and other vocal techniques, Singing with soul, Southern Crossings, Australian sacred and colonial music, Percy Grainger, Intelligent choral singing.

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