Last song sung
THE Prom Coast Singers gave their last official performance in December and have now moved into a period of indefinite hiatus.
Choral director Paddy Broberg said after 15 years at the helm of the choir, it was time for her to step aside.
“We came from Melbourne, my husband moved here in 1989. I was still working at Melbourne University at the time, so I didn’t get down here until the end of 1994,” she said.
“I hadn’t heard much about FAMDA at the time, but they had a problem. Their musical director who was working on their current production left rather promptly and they were stuck.
“I had a knock at the door, and a lady from FAMDA was there to ask me if I had something to do with music.”
Mrs Broberg then became musical director of the Music Man.
“I then enjoyed a good history as FAMDA musical director. In 1997, we did Annie, which had such a happy chorus,” she said.
“At the end of the production, no one wanted to stop singing so I was asked if I could lead a choir.
“A year later, the group started with eight members on the first night and grew to around 35 to 40 members over the years.”
Mrs Broberg said the group started with fairly simple material, and finished performing well known pieces like Handel’s Messiah and Carl Orff’s Carmina Burana.
“Carmina Burana is well known as being a modern and somewhat controversial piece, composed on the words from Pagan scrolls. It is quite a piece to aspire to,” she said.
Mrs Broberg said over the years, the Prom Coast Singers performed some quite interesting and challenging work.
“We also did carols, focussing more on the world carol collection and the work of John Rutter,” she said.
“We took part in festivals, sang to various groups and had our own devout following. We usually got amazing audiences to our concerts.”
One of the choir’s last performances was done as part of FAMDA’s 60th anniversary celebrations, held late in 2013.
“We presented a really interesting program, including jazz style performances. We performed a capella, which was very challenging, but the audience loved it,” Mrs Broberg said.
Mrs Broberg said it has been a hell of a lot of work, but so well worth it.
“People who couldn’t read a note can now pick up a piece of music and make complete sense of it,” she said.
“I worked them hard. We had a good two hours of solid rehearsal once a week, but often they were keen to keep going beyond that, particularly in the lead up to a performance.”
Mrs Broberg felt it important to mention several members of the choir, including accompanist Barbara Fleming and associate conductor Pamela Coad for their input over the years.
“We started Peter Bell off on a musical tack. He got so into music through the choir and FAMDA. He has now bought himself a beautiful piano and can really sing,” she said.
“Fran Allott is one of the most musical people I know, Brian Hoskins from Meeniyan has been a frequent soloist over the years and Jeannette King is a very fine soprano who also used to sing solo.
“Rodney Sharp came into the choir as an actor who had done a little bit of singing. He played Oedipus in the FAMDA production of Oedipus Rex and was just incredible.”
Mrs Broberg herself held a part in the production of Oedipus Rex and the play’s director, Raymond Dunstan was also in the choir for a short time.
The choir held its last official performance on December 1 and is now waiting for another choral director to join its ranks.
“My hope is somebody else will very shortly come to the area, or evolve from the area and take the reins,” Mr Broberg said.
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