President’s Report 2015

From the Annual General Meeting held on Monday 21 September.

Welcome to the 2015 Annual General Meeting of the Devonport Choral Society.

Firstly, I would like to thank my fellow Committee Members for their support and assistance during the year. Additionally I would like to thank those members who have offered their talents, assistance, time and support in several special projects throughout the year.

We have had another eventful year, with many opportunities for the Society to be showcased in our community. We have continued with our Heads of Agreement with Devonport City Council and thank them for their backing.

Our main production for the year was All Shook Up. Breaking box office records for the Devonport Entertainment & Convention Centre, due to public demand, the original 10 show season was increased by an additional show. Over 4300 patrons saw the production, which ran from 15-30 May.

Director, Sid Sidebottom gathered an impressive cast of 32 to the stage, some of whom were seasoned performers, others, novices on stage. All on-stage performers were required to act, dance and sing their way through 24 Elvis Presley hits, while telling the story of a guitar playing roustabout who transforms a dreary mid-western American town with his hip-swivelling dance moves and his love of rock and roll music.

The cast were very strong vocally, with several of the lead characters having had professional band experience. The choral power in the ensemble was exceptional. Shayne Lowe, Vocal Director, had the group singing in six and eight-part harmony for many of the songs. The arrangements of the Elvis hits, while all very recognisable and treated with a great deal of respect, were renewed, as the cast made them their own.

From beginning to end, the energy being projected in every dance number, choreographed by Phoebe Wootton, had toes tapping in the wings and in the auditorium, as well on the stage.

The 15 piece band, led by Musical Director Bronwyn Darvell, was outstanding. Again, the band utilised the talents of some previous members, however many of the musicians were new to the Society. The band boasted a full brass and woodwind complement, alongside a rock band line-up.

The set design, by Jenny Slater, turned the Town Hall stage in to a giant juke box, even taking in the front of the proscenium arch. All the elements on stage reflected records and music while still giving glimpses of the fictional town. The vibrant costuming by Vicki Purnell also added to the visual and auditory feast.

The back stage crew consisted of 10 members, guided by Stage Manager John Lee­Archer, while the technical crew utilised the skills of the DECC staff, Matt Groom and Tom Rippon, along with newcomer Dean Mainwairing, the lighting operator.

The front of house team provided by the Society, led by Gráinne Hendrey, worked closely with the front of house staff at the DECC. Those working in the box office, ushering and selling programs dressed up in 1950’s inspired clothes and accessories, adding to the theatre experience for patrons.

This production also benefited from the recent purchase of new microphones and audio equipment using a grant from the Tasmanian Community Fund. The new equipment enhanced both the singing and the dialogue. This equipment is vital to the Society and the delivery of high quality sound for our shows and we appreciate the TCF’s contribution to its purchase.

During the run of the show, Guy Carey and I took great pleasure in announcing our newest Life Member, Shane Wolfe. Shane has featured in many DCS shows, has choreographed several shows and, more recently, has been involved behind the scenes, designing and painting sets and specialised set pieces.

The recipient of this year’s Life Members and Patrons Bursary was All Shook Up cast member Caitlin Singleton. Caitlin was recognised by the Committee for her dedication to the production and willingness to assist others. She is an outstanding talent and we hope that she will continue to work with the Society in to the future.

Jenny Slater is currently working with the Devonport Repertory Theatre Society combining our wardrobes at the Uniting Church. There are still a few things to be moved in and Jenny will continue to work with Rep as our wardrobes are merged.

Right On Cue has had another very busy and successful year with performances at the Empty Stocking Appeal in Launceston, Ulverstone Carols By Candlelight, the Devonport Australia Day Ceremony, the ANZAC Day Centenary Celebrations, Gospel Song at Devonport Jazz, at the Devonport and Burnie Eisteddfods and at the Cancer Council Gala Dinner. The choir is very excited to be hosting another workshop weekend with Brett Weymark in October. Thank you to ROC Musical Director Petrina Jahnz, Assistant MD’s John Lee-Archer and Erin Benson and ROC Committee Chair Jake Jacobson, along with the ROC Committee for their hard work and enthusiasm.

We are looking forward to a thrilling 2016, with auditions coming up in November for our production of The Addams Family. There will be opportunities for everyone on the Committee to help out with this production and I would encourage everyone to contribute to this show in any way they can.

Very recently, we lost Life Member, Meg Titmus. Meg was one of the founding members of the Devonport Choral Society. She was the leading lady in many productions and was also the Musical Director in many of the Society’s best remembered shows. We should be very proud of the legacy Meg has left, both for the Society, as well as the NW Coast’s musical community.

Again, my thanks to our Life Members, Patrons and members of the Committee for their ongoing support of the Devonport Choral Society, and my personal thanks to Treasurer John Lee-Archer, Secretary Gràinne Hendrey and Minute Secretary Melanie Woods.

Maree Brodzinski

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