Red Desert Tour: Darwin Symphony Orchestra in Alice Springs
DSO headed down the track in September 2011 to be a part of the annual Alice Desert Festival, a dynamic event that celebrates the mix of cultures and prolific art-making evident in many Central Australian communities. Collaboration and participation are key to many of the events on the Festival calendar, with space given to mentor programs, youth initiatives and workshops.
Songs from Big Sky Country
The collaboration between DSO and local artists Warren H. Williams, Jacinta Price and Catherine Satour for their concert Songs from Big Sky Country began several months before the performance, when they met to exchange ideas. Artistic Director Leif Sundstrup worked with the trio to create orchestral arrangements of their original songs, which soon came to life during rehearsals in Darwin and Alice Springs. On a clear Sunday evening the DSO and Warren, Jacinta and Catherine delivered Songs from Big Sky Country, the melding of creative techniques providing a unique experience for the audience and performers.
Symphony Under the Stars
The DSO’s last night in Alice Springs was spent at the base of the MacDonnell Ranges, which towered over the orchestra for their performance at Alice Springs Desert Park. The concert was the biggest of the tour, with people packing themselves into every nook and cranny of the park to watch.
Earlier in the year DSO had commissioned an original piece from NT composer Cathy Applegate titled Fourteen Lines: Shakespeare on Love, Time and Poetry. Cathy, a cellist in the orchestra, was inspired by Shakespeare’s sonnets and intended for them to be recited as the piece played. On the night, His Honour Mr Tom Pauling, AO QC, Administrator of the Northern Territory lent his voice to the task and sent Shakespeare’s words reverberating around the park.
On a trip to Alice Springs last year, DSO General Manager Guy Ross came across the Larapinta Primary School choir singing in Todd St Mall. Impressed by their confident voices, Guy sought out their teacher Belinda Young and asked them straight away to perform with the DSO during the Festival. Backed by a full orchestra, the Larapinta kids sang the new Territory anthem Stand as One with the composer Stephanie Harrison, and helped make Warren H. Williams’ version of Earth Song into a show-stopper.