Victoria’s much loved Boite Millennium Chorus returns on Saturday 23 July with Windrush – a grand concert bringing together over 300 singers from Bairnsdale to Ballarat, Wodonga to Warrnambool and Mallacoota to Melbourne, filling Hamer Hall with the tropical sounds of the Caribbean.
Each year since 1999, when it heralded the new millennium, the Boite Millennium Chorus has connected skillful choir leaders, artists and singers from across Victoria. Ten weeks of rehearsals in seven regional centres and in Melbourne, culminate in the Choir raising their voices in celebration of cultural diversity and the universal themes of place and belonging as part of this massive participatory arts project.
This year’s concert will be led by international musicians, Artistic Director Geoffrey Williams and Choral Director Stella Savy. They will be joined by DJ Mohair Slim, Caribvic Steelband and outstanding Reggae and Ska musos – Geoffrey Hassal, Wayne Parker and Barry Deenick.
The thematic inspiration for this year’s concert is the story of migration from Jamaica to post war UK. Geoffrey’s original compositions tell the personal tale of his parent’s journey, emigrating from sunny Jamaica to cold and dreary London.
This journey was the beginning of a mass migration from the Caribbean to the UK that profoundly influenced the cultural and political fabric of England. When the ex-troop ship HMS Windrush left Jamaica, the immigrants onboard became known as the Windrush Generation. They brought with them the very essence of Jamaica.
The Windrush program features traditional Jamaican and classic Reggae songs such as Rankin’ Full Stop, Police and Thieves and the classic Bob Marley, Three Little Birds.
Artistically this era heralded the emergence of the ska reggae punk infused music of the Two Tone Label and The Specials and inspired artists such as Elvis Costello, Sting, The Clash and the Millennium Choir’s Geoffrey Williams, who lived in these turbulent times in the UK.
Alongside the talents of electro-acoustic soul artist Geoffrey Williams, who has written songs for the likes of Michael Jackson and Dusty Springfield, released five albums and has played Wembley Arena (UK), Montreux Jazz Festival as well as Woodford Folk Festival, Stella Savy leads leads the choir on their tropical journey.
Savy’s Seychelle Island heritage is apparent in her reggae and ska guitar rhythms and soulful, funky vocals, seeing her perform professionally for over 20 years. She continues to pass on her talents, knowledge and experience as a vocal coach to all ages. She is known as a culture keeper within the Seychellois community and has worked closely with Gaetan Landery to ensure the preservation of Tinge and other cultural art forms.
Boite Millennium Chorus Windrush
Hamer Hall – Arts Centre Melbourne, St. Kilda Road, Melbourne
Performance: Saturday 23 July 2016 – 7.30pm
For more information, visit: www.boite.com.au for details.
Image: Boite Millennium Chorus in concert (supplied)