A great free community concert last weekend, to celebrate 125 years of the Salvation Army in Bundamba, Queensland, held in the Ipswich Civic Hall. The hall is relatively new and has an interesting shape and footprint: outwardly-opening tiered fan-shaped for the stage and the front half of the hall, leading to a square box at the back, and having multiple box-shaped extrusions on the walls; the seating was flat on the wooden floor in the front, with demountable and translatable tiered-seating in the back. About 2/3 of the hall was used for this concert, the movable rear wall being translated forward. The acoustics were surprisingly good, at least in the front half, even though the sound was amplified.
The performers included four groups: the prize-winning Brisbane Excelsior Brass Band, one of Australia’s (and the world’s) best; the 125-year-old Blackstone-Ipswich Cambrian Youth Choir, a legacy of the area’s 19th-century Welsh coal-miners; the young jazz ensemble Jazz Effect; and Bundamba Quartette, a mature male barbershop quartet. Jazz Effect comprised 4 trumpets, 3 trombones, 4 saxes (tenor and alto), 2 guitars, drums, keyboards, an occasional singer (who also doubled on bongos for one number), and a flugel-horn-playing conductor. Most of the performances were very good, although I think the Jazz Effect vocalist could have benefited from a tuning fork. The music ranged from popular numbers to favourite Salvation Army hymns. Although no national anthem was played, the audience was asked to join the singing of one hymn at the end of the evening. The impact of the Salvos on Australian brass music is not something to be under-estimated, as the personal links between the various musicians, the groups, and even the compere Greg Aitken (himself head of brass at the Queensland Conservatorium) demonstrated. An off-duty statistician might have estimated the audience at about 200-strong.
Some of these performers were later seen here.