15 July 2022

Mama Mia! Guess who's coming to Gunning?

| Sally Hopman
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Singing group

ABBA choir Andante Andante will perform in the historic Gunning Courthouse on 7 August. Photo: Supplied.

ABBA is coming to Gunning – well, at least the next best thing to the Swedish supergroup.

Canberra-based group Andante Andante – also known as the ABBA Choir – returns to the Gunning Courthouse on Sunday, 7 August as guests of the Gunning Focus Group.

If the choir’s name sounds familiar, it’s because it’s from the 1980s ABBA love song on the Super Trouper album. “I am your music and I am your song, play me time and time again and make me strong … Andante, andante, tread lightly on my ground, andante, andante, oh please don’t let me down” goes the catchy chorus.

The choir, which is based in Braddon, will feature accompanist Katrina Rivera for the Gunning performance.

Established in 1998 with the assistance of Southern Tablelands Arts, the role of the Gunning Focus Group is to bring entertainment to the rural region. A small rural village about an hour’s drive from the nation’s capital and surrounded by a myriad of even tinier rural hamlets like Dalton and Jerrawa, the area often misses out on live performances due to geography.

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The group boasts about 50 members from Gundaroo to Crookwell, and including some from Canberra who remain members despite having moved into town.

Performers who have become household names have taken to the Gunning stage over the years, either in the historic courthouse or the nearby shire hall, including cellist and conductor David Pereira and flautist Alice Giles.

But on 7 August, it will be the ABBA choir’s turn to entertain Gunning and district folk with its repertoire of almost 100 songs. The choir last performed in Gunning in 2019 to a packed house.

Gunning Focus Group secretary Bob Spiller said it would be a welcome return for the choir.

Singers in courthouse

Pianist Katrina Rivera (far left) joins Andante Andante leader Katie Cole on guitar at the choir’s 2019 sold-out concert in Gunning. Photo: Gunning Focus Group.

“This very entertaining, polished and engaging choir wowed the audience during its last appearance and we’re confident they’ll do it again,” he said.

Andante Andante, which was established in 2004, performs the whole gamut of ABBA favourites from all the popular numbers to the old classics.

The choir, which rehearses weekly at St Columba’s Uniting Church Braddon, is always on the lookout for new members. Previous singing experience is a definite advantage, although no formal training is necessary as the choir’s music director is also a vocal coach — email Andante Andante at [email protected] to enquire.

The Gunning concert starts at 2 pm on Sunday, 7 August. Tickets are $35 each, $30 concession or $20 for Focus Group members with Under 18s free.

Tickets will be available at the door on the day if not sold out earlier and bookings are available here.

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