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Wednesday Lunchtime Concerts at St James' Church
It wasn't difficult to find St James' Anglican Church. A beautiful stony building with history tucked in every corner within.
It wasn't difficult to find St James' Anglican Church. A beautiful stony building with history tucked in every corner within.
St James' Church, the heart of the city. The Classical Guitar Trio concert scheduled to start at 1:15pm.
St James' Church, the heart of the city. The Classical Guitar Trio concert scheduled to start at 1:15pm.
Entry to the Crypt. You can leave the world behind once you go through the rustic wooden doors.
Entry to the Crypt. You can leave the world behind once you go through the rustic wooden doors.
The stony archways are only interrupted with the warm natural light sneaking through the windows.
The stony archways are only interrupted with the warm natural light sneaking through the windows.
The guitar sound was further amplified and infinitely warmer within the Crypt's stony walls. It's miraculous.
The guitar sound was further amplified and infinitely warmer within the Crypt's stony walls. It's miraculous.
Ms. Isobel Ferrier organises the Wednesday Lunchtime Concerts. She's warm and very friendly.
Ms. Isobel Ferrier organises the Wednesday Lunchtime Concerts. She's warm and very friendly.
Another place to warm up was a room right behind the church. Will Henderson and Morgan Haselden were already there getting ready (From left to right Will and Morgan.)
Another place to warm up was a room right behind the church. Will Henderson and Morgan Haselden were already there getting ready (From left to right Will and Morgan.)
Three guitars playing together three very different music pieces. If you were standing here, you would've mistaken the overall sound as noise, but still all three guitars harmonised at some instances.
Three guitars playing together three very different music pieces. If you were standing here, you would've mistaken the overall sound as noise, but still all three guitars harmonised at some instances.
For half an hour on that Wednesday afternoon, we were the Classical Guitar Trio, playing solo though.
For half an hour on that Wednesday afternoon, we were the Classical Guitar Trio, playing solo though.
Morgan Haselden opened the concert playing all the movements from Roland Dyens' Libra Sonatine (India, Largo and Fuoco.) Fuoco is my favourite of the three movements and unfortunately I couldn't watch him perform it as I was in the warm up room. But I was able to hear the loud cheering and applaud.
Morgan Haselden opened the concert playing all 3 movements from Roland Dyens' Libra Sonatine (India, Largo and Fuoco.) Fuoco is my favourite of the three movements and unfortunately I couldn't watch him perform it as I was in the warm up room. But I was able to hear the loud cheering and applaud.
Will Henderson followed by Two Pieces for Leo Brouwer. Will is known as a passionate flamenco player and composer and so he performed one of his very fresh flamenco pieces, which he composed a day earlier. He even improvised some of its passages with ease and on the fly.
Will Henderson followed by Two Pieces for Leo Brouwer. Will is known as a passionate flamenco player and composer and so he performed one of his very fresh flamenco pieces, which he composed a day earlier. He even improvised some of its passages with ease and on the fly.
I closed the concert with Koyunbaba Op. 19 Suite by Carlo Domeniconi. This is great piece of music which I came across about two months ago. I was instantly hooked to its beautiful melody woven through the Moderato, Mosso, Cantabile and Presto, which suited the atmosphere of the church (The Presto part withstanding.)
I closed the concert with Koyunbaba Op. 19 Suite by Carlo Domeniconi. This is great piece of music which I came across about two months ago. I was instantly hooked to its beautiful melody woven through the Moderato, Mosso, Cantabile and Presto, which suited the atmosphere of the church (The Presto part withstanding.)
An occasion to take a memorable all together photograph with Will, Morgan and Ms. Ferrier.
An occasion to take a memorable all together photograph with Will, Morgan and Ms. Ferrier.
Mr. Michael Robinson, Head Verger of the St James' Church is very welcoming and friendly.
Mr. Michael Robinson, Head Verger of the St James' Church is very welcoming and friendly.
Lunchtime Concert at St James' Church ~ Classical guitar mini concert with Will Henderson and Morgan Haselden ~ Jun 11, 2008
I stepped out of the car, eagerly, anxiously and a little nervous. I had a small list of things I was curious to know about. The size of the church, whether I was using a microphone to amplify the guitar sound and if anyone were inside waiting already.

The Lunchtime Concert Series was brought to my attention by my teacher at the Sydney Conservatorium Mr. Gregory Pikler. He was approached by Ms. Isobel Ferrier with a request to suggest some students from the guitar department at the Sydney Conservatorium to participate in a couple of vacant concert slots.
Ms. Ferrier is the organiser of the Wednesday Lunchtime Concerts and this would've been a first for the classical guitar to be included in the program.

So on June 11 at 1:15pm, Will Henderson, Morgan Haselden and me were scheduled to entertain music lovers who frequently visited St James' Church for some classical and serene entertainment.

We arrived at around 12:30pm and were kindly welcomed by Mr. Michael Robinson, Head Verger of the church. He told me in a friendly manner, "Follow me this way" leading me to the Crypt underneath the church, which was sort of a long tunnel with stony cream coloured arches. It echoed abruptly as I walked in.

This was the place for my initial warm-up, it's very quiet. Hardly any sounds penetrated those thick stones. A perfect place, sort of like an old monastery where hermits spend all their day lighting candles and praying.
I sat down on one of the benches and looked about thinking. What a place, tranquillity itself right in the middle of Sydney.

I began to play some parts of Koyunbaba and the guitar sound echoed splendidly. I thought to myself, "Then surely it must sound great inside the church."
Not so long after, Ms. Isobel Ferrier came over and introduced herself, making sure I'm comfortable and ready. She informed me about the concert and we discussed if we were going to use any amplification, considering the size of the church.
This was my first encounter with Isobel and she was warm and kind. She also explained that she organises music for events and this was something small she does for St James' Church. She said how nice it was to have classical guitar for the first time at the Lunchtime Concerts.
The upcoming concert on Wednesday, June 18 from 1:15 to 1:45pm will feature Andr? Kouznetsov, playing Whitlock's Sonata in C minor on the organ. You can find a list of music events and more on St James' Church website.

As the time approached 1pm, I walked out of the Crypt and into the church, gazing at its size, the high ceiling and the long row of orderly lined timber seats.

As I approached the warm-up room, I heard guitar sound. It must be Will and Morgan I thought.
They were warming-up, so we exchanged a quick hello and I proceeded to get ready. Morgan Haselden was first on the list performing all 3 movements of Libra Sonatine by Roland Dyens (India, Largo and Fuoco.)
Will Henderson was playing Two Pieces by Leo Brouwer and a flamenco piece which he composed the day before and was planning to improvise on during the performance.

When the concert started, I heard the sound of what seemed like lots of people clapping. I kept warming-up and tuning while talking to Will.
Then it was Will's turn. So I kept warming-up while now talking to Morgan until my turn came.

I walked slowly up to the stage approaching the audience and bowed, then introduced the Suite while giving some background information.
The start was good and echoed in the church, and especially for those sitting immediately in the front.
I'm not sure whether it was during the Moderato or Mosso, I heard a noise next to my ear. It was startling at first, and then it grew louder than softer, like an accordion.
I realised it was a bee or something of that kind. Probably it was attracted by the smell of the freshly cut flowers to the right of where I'm sitting.
I thought, "What do I do? Do I stop playing and say sorry, there's a bee buzzing next to my ear". What would Andres Segovia have done? It was known about the great maestro that he would not start playing until there's complete silence. But how would he have dealt with a buzzing bee? Music history books have no information on that. Time for a s?ance.
While my new little companion is circling around my head, I thought hard about my options without forgetting to keep my performance pace steady.

Then it was the Presto. I commenced softly and slowly, accentuating the melody and slowly picking up the Tempo (Similar to Andrew Leonard's style).
Halfway through the Presto I missed a line, even a couple of lines, which got me worried. But then I thought, "Relax, with so many bars already played, they can't even tell" so I just swayed my head and enjoyed the music. But I'm sure my teacher Gregory Pikler was all ears, as he was sitting somewhere halfway through the church.

When I finished, I paused a little to give the last note a chance to show itself off then die away in the big open space.

I bowed to the applaud then headed back to the warm-up room while thinking, "I ruined it, I single-handedly rewrote few bars of this great suite and I'm not even a composer. No wonder those bars sounded dissonant. What will I do now? Or worse, what would Carlo Domeniconi think?
For a split second I contemplated that I should probably go to Turkey and become a shepherd tending to some beautiful mountain goats. But I came back straightaway from that fantasy.

Afterward, we were all congratulated on our performance, and Isobel expressed her appreciation for sharing our music with passion.
It was a great experience.

I will be performing again on July 23rd. So if you are interested in a live guitar performance, visit St James' Church at 1:15pm.
It would be also a chance to see and hear firsthand upcoming classical guitarists Zane Banks and Jared Mallitt.
 
 
 
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