9 March 2022

Braidwood tunes up for return of concert season

| Sally Hopman
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Musicians in church

Musicians from This World jazz ensemble performed in Braidwood’s historic St Andrew’s Anglican Church in 2020. Photo: Supplied.

Back in 2015, long-time Braidwood resident Anne Sanders began to wonder why she had to travel to Sydney to hear good music.

The music lover would drive the long distance to hear her favourite music – classical and jazz – and then make the trek home again.

Why was it, she thought, that just because you live out of town you can’t have access to what city folk take for granted?

“I’d regularly drive to Sydney to hear music because I love it so much,” she says. “Then one day I thought, this is bonkers, why can’t we have it here in Braidwood?”

Anne, a freelance curator who has worked at most major cultural institutions across Australia, including with the Australian Parliament House art collection in Canberra, admits organising regular concert series in Braidwood came from a personal need; “Mine,” she says.

“I love music and I wanted to be able to hear it closer to home.

“The Braidwood series started as a pilot – I love pilots because you do what you can to make it work and if it doesn’t, that’s ok, too.”

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But the concert series did work in Braidwood, the first staged in 2015 and regularly thereafter except for last year when, due to COVID-19, only one concert was held.

“We started small and then it just kicked up. People heard about what we were doing here and wanted to become involved so we were getting the best musicians interested in being involved,” she says.

Anne, who coordinates the concert series voluntarily, says her aim is not only to get the best musicians to Braidwood but to pay them what they’re worth. She says 85 per cent of the concert proceeds go to the musicians with the remaining 15 per cent covering costs.

When the concerts are on, Anne says she ropes in anyone in sight to help out – family, friends and locals.

Group of singers

The Luminescence Singers will perform at Braidwood’s St Andrew’s Church on 24 April. Photo: Supplied.

“What is really good about this is that everyone benefits,” she says. “The musicians come to town, we get lots of people from outside the area, like Canberra and Goulburn and they all spend money here so the local restaurants and cafes benefit as well.”

The 2022 Braidwood Concert Series starts this Saturday, 12 March with leading Australian jazz band, This World. The band will play selections from its new album Another Dance. This celebrated jazz ensemble, featuring Mike Nock, Hamish Stuart, Julien Wilson and Jonathan Zwartz, first played in the Braidwood district back in 2020; the toughest of times for a community hard-hit by bushfires. When the band members saw first-hand how the area had become so devastated, they donated proceeds from their concert to bushfire victims through BlazeAid.

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The series continues on 26 March with the Luminescence Chamber Singers performing Ave Regina God, be with the mother. This performance will be under the baton of Roland Peelman.

On 3 April Canberra Strings will perform Tchaikovsky’s String Quartet No 1.

The final performance of the series will be on 24 April with an Anzac organ recital performed by organist Brendon Lukin and soprano Catherine Lukin. Tickets will be available soon.

The concert series is held in Braidwood’s historic St Andrew’s Anglican Church in Elrington Street. The Cyril Blackett-designed building boasts great acoustics and the newly restored 1904 W.G. Rendall manual pipe organ.

For more information about the Braidwood concert series, email [email protected].

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