The spirit of music is alive and well in the Greater Port Macquarie region this month, with the 14th Camden Haven Music Festival off and running for 10 days of inspiring and diverse entertainment.
> Friday 24 to Sunday 26 April
The Festival’s first weekend presents sublime concerts in Kendall and Port Macquarie. Opening with ‘Candlelight Fantasie’ in the historic Kendall School of Arts, UK-based Australian pianist Daniel de Borah will play beautiful pieces by Mozart, Chopin and Schumann. Refreshments follow the concert, with wines by Bago Vineyards.
On Saturday afternoon ‘The Power of Three’ presents the lovely combination of clarinet, flute and piano, while on Saturday evening in Port Macquarie the Tinalley String Quartet will demonstrate that in spite of their quirky name, they are very serious about their music, with a list of important awards to their name. Cassegrains are conducting a wine tasting after the concert, with refreshments to accompany.
‘Young Virtuosi’ take the stage at Kendall on Sunday morning, with pianist Patrick Keith from Tamworth and the hauntingly beautiful sounds of the Chinese harp played by Brisbane musician Jingjing Lu.
The Festival’s classical weekend comes to a close in Port Macquarie with the prestigious Sydney Chamber Choir presenting four pieces from across four centuries, each offering a unique perspective on the profoundly human emotions of loss, grief, longing and hope. This is a wonderful opportunity to hear one of Australia’s best choirs.
So popular last year, you can again pay a visit to the Comboyne studio of Graham Caldersmith and Angela MacPherson. They make and donate the all-Australian-timber violin that is first prize in the annual Kendall National Violin Competition. This is an unusual opportunity to see and learn about the making of stringed instruments – violins, guitars, cellos and the like.
> Tuesday 28 April and Thursday 30 April
A change of pace mid-week with Arrebato Ensemble, just as much at home in the Jazz clubs of Sydney and Melbourne as they are at the Australian Festival of Classical Music. They will thrill their audience with a combination of cello, Flamenco guitar, mandolin, oud and percussion.
Lyrebird Blues Band should satisfy lovers of ‘good time Blues, great sounds and upbeat original songs’. Hailing from Sydney, they guarantee their audience won’t leave disappointed. Events in the Blue Water Bar at Flynn’s Beach have become a Festival tradition over the last few years and are always popular, relaxing and fun. Make an early booking and enjoy a great meal before the show.
> Friday 1 to Sunday 3 May
There’s ‘something for everyone’ at the second and final Festival weekend. Old fashioned Jazz, Blues, Gospel and Gypsy Klezmer – who could ask for more?
A great night out at Bago Vineyard awaits the audience of Blues Point Jazz Vocal Group. You can buy a concert ticket only, but why not wind down at the end of the week with a VIP Concert Package – pre-concert cocktail party and reserved seating under the pergola? There are all sorts of snacks and meals available too, from BBQ to picnic platters for 2.
Blues Point’s repertoire ranges from Jazz standards by Fats Waller, Irving Berlin and Gershwin through to hits of Ray Charles, Stevie Wonder, Joe Cocker, Elvis Presley and Queen, plus some very funky Gospel tunes, and you can be sure with frontman George Washingmachine, there is always plenty of humour accompanying the music.
Chutzpah! Klezmer band will bring a melodic and energetic beat with sprightly folk tunes, traditional wedding dances, heart-wrenching horas and even pieces drawn from Yiddish musical theatre. The band features an authentic ‘hot klezmer’ lineup of tuba, banjo and clarinet with the addition of a guest horn player.
Former Port Macquarie musician Todd Hardy will have the North Haven Bowling Club a-jumping with his Jazz quintet and vocalist Anita Spring at the Saturday Jazz night, in a return to one of the Festival’s best-loved features. The St Columba School Stage Band will open the concert.
Gospel trio The Heavenly Lights make a welcome return to the Festival line-up, with their tightly-arranged, passionately-sung Black Gospel style of the ‘40s, which has had a major influence on R&B, soul and popular music that has lasted to this day, yet is now rarely heard outside the church.
“A Slice of Haven” food and wine festival on the final day, accompanied by a three day art show, and a free Jazz ‘n’ Blues concert with Coffs Harbour duo Shiraz will wind up the Festival with fun and style. On the banks of the Camden Haven River at the rear of Laurieton United Services Club, the very best produce and food presentation in the area will tantalise your taste buds!
Come and help us to celebrate the spirit of music by getting your tickets now – online at www.chmf.org.au or by mail order. There are generous discounts for pre-purchases, and program brochures are available at visitor centres, galleries, libraries and cafés. Phone the Festival on 6556 9622 with any enquiries. We look forward to welcoming you!
Alvena Ferguson, Festival Director, Camden Haven Music Festival
Ph 02 6556 9622
Mob 0401 608 240