Woollahra Philharmonic Orchestra

Sue Morony
23rd Jun 2019

Destinations and Adventures

On a freezing rainy Saturday night this June we headed to the warmth of Woollahra’s St Columba Church to mingle with the friendly Woollahra local community and experience an uplifting musical interlude with some cinematic spectacle and melting moments thrown in, as we enjoyed Woollahra’s own, and absolutely terrific, Woollahra Philharmonic Orchestra, hereon referred to as the WPO.

Destination and Adventures delighted us with well-known musical scores from famous movies, the ballet, and more. Arriving to a vibrantly decorated church of colourful balloons and WPO members (and their instruments!) dressed in their favourite theme costumes to set the scene for the music that was soon to enthrall us. I thought, this is going to be fun!

The WPO started us off with a John Williams favourite, Star Wars Suite to get the audience warmed up. Then followed by the well-known Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker Suite accompanied by a special ballet dance performance by cellist Cindy Pan, in full costume as the Sugar Plum Fairy. She won a few little fans along the way as she delicately, and on tip toe, navigated around the audience!

We were then treated to March of the Toys from Babes in Toyland; Gabriel’s Oboe from the move The Mission; Ecstatic Dance and the uplifting theme music from the movie Jurassic Park.

A highlight of the night’s programme was the orchestra’s principal oboist, Karen Evans with a stellar solo performance of Gabriel’s Oboe from the movie, The Mission. Her beautiful solo engaged and mesmerised the whole audience. Karen has been with the WPO since 2001, and has a lengthy musical career which started with her study of the piano, clarinet, saxophone and then later, the oboe. Karen studied at the Conservatorium of Music, completing a Bachelor of Musical Studies. Her career then expanded and she has performed with the Sydney Conservatorium Symphony Orchestra and Wind Orchestra, as well as the Sydney Youth Orchestra Chamber Ensemble, and the SBS Radio and Television Youth Orchestra.

The WPO was led by conductor John Buckley who last performed with the orchestra in 2017. John’s long and successful career as a conductor, multi-instrumentalist, adjudicator, clinician and music educator has spanned thirty-five years, beginning at aged sixteen with the Australian Defence Force. John is currently the Music Director of the Corrective Services NSW Band, conductor of the senior and junior bands at Pennant Hills High School, the Sydney Wind Symphony and the Wind Symphony at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music.

The evening concluded with a tribute to the late Muriel Laverty, a long-standing member of the WPO, with a beautiful arrangement of the well-known Que Sera Sara, a joyous way to finish up the night.

The WPO was established in 1996 by local amateur musicians after receiving backing from Woollahra Municipal Council. With the continued support of the council, the WPO makes an important contribution to the cultural life of the Woollahra municipality and the wider Eastern suburbs of Sydney.

To see the next performance of the Woollahra Philharmonic Orchestra head to
www.ticketbooth.com.au to purchase tickets to Chamber Proms XI The Russians on Sunday 11 August, at 3pm at 536 New South Head Road, Double Bay. We recommend the Woollahra Philharmonic Orchestra to anyone who appreciates fine music at it’s best, and with a little bit of fun thrown in!