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Queensland Pops Orchestra - A Celtic Gathering

Home > Brisbane > Theatre | Music | Dancing | Concerts | Céilidhs
by John Andrew (subscribe)
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Great Craic
With over fifty instrumentalists in the orchestra, and over a hundred choristers, a dozen or so dancers, pipers galore, and a couple of soloists, musical director Patrick Pickett had a mighty handful to co-ordinate and conduct.

And certainly the lasting impression was of plenitude.

A perfectionist might have pointed out that some of the acts might have benefitted from a little more work. That having been said, there were many highlights and special moments.

Both dance troupes were superb – precision, flair, and flamboyance. We loved them, and if the two tiny munchkins stole the show – no-one begrudged them.

It takes guts to premier a new work at such a gathering, where people are expecting the tried and true. Pipe Major Roddy McDonald's "Cradle Mountain" and Andrew Pearce's "Celtic Warrior" both instantly stole our hearts. We want to hear them again.

Similarly the Queensland Police pipes and drums are better every time we hear them.

The Queensland Pops Orchestra had a significant challenge – to work with pipe bands, dance troupes, a hundred strong choir and soloists in a range of music from the sentimental to rock is not easy and they excelled.

We had a great sing-a-long in the first half, and, had there been time, would have welcomed a second go.

Gregory Moore chose delightful wistful melodies for his solos – Celtic music really enjoys being sad – and I greatly looked forward to Lisa Lochland Bell's rendition of "Fields of Gold" – a modern Celtic masterpiece, which might have benefitted from a little more of the Celtic in its orchestration – the tin whistle perhaps, which we heard played to great effect throughout the evening. But a highlight nonetheless.

Patrick Pickett chose his encore brilliantly – the Celtic Blessing – and it didn't matter a whit that he stopped his choir and they started again : the effect was still memorable and haunting as orchestra, choir, and soloists merged as one.

An enormous amount of effort had gone into giving us an evening of variety and contrasts with a Celtic theme. And the best of it is that the Celtic musical tradition has so much to offer that we can do it again next year with an entirely different programme – but please, with the pipers and the dancers and the choirs and, of course, the Queensland Pops Orchestra.

It is great craic.
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Why? Great craic
When: 10 October
Where: QPAC Concert Hall
Cost: $80 - $ 87
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