30 Years of Musicals (QPAC Choir)
QPAC, Concert Hall
Since its first musical production of “The Pirates of Penzance” in its opening year, 1985, QPAC has hosted 134 productions of 57 different musicals, making the QPAC Choir’s 30 Years of Musical special tribute concert a terrific trip into the musical past in rendition of many much loved show tunes. Thanks to the handy program list, I could quickly calculate that I had seen almost 50 of the shows listed, over 30 of them as QPAC productions. Not bad given that I’ve only been a Brisvegan for less than half of this time. Regardless of one’s musical experience, however, it is easy to appreciate the concert’s setlist of solo songs and melodies, as tune after recognisable tune fills the Concert Hall during The QPAC Choir’s showcase concert for 2015.
The catalogue takes audiences through a selection of iconic songs from a range of major musicals, including “Chicago”, “West Side Story”, “Mamma Mia” and more. With Tina Liu as accompanist and musicians from the Queensland Youth Orchestra, audiences are treated to an assortment of arrangements. The Rogers and Hammerstein medley that serves as one of the show’s opening numbers certainly shows this, in its inclusion of songs from “Oaklahoma” and “The Sound of Music”, and even a playful ‘Nothing like a Dame’ from “South Pacific” which allows the smaller male contingent of the choir a particular chance to shine.
Joining the QPAC Choir are talented third year music theatre students guest artists from the Queensland Conservatorium Griffith University, who, accompanied by the Head of the music course, Paul Sabey, add a change of pace thanks to (amongst others) a soaring duet of ‘All I Ask of You’ from “The Phantom of the Opera” (QPAC’s longest running musical in 1996/7) from Hayley Maybury and Oliver Samson,,a peppy ‘Popular’ from “Wicked”, by Emily Monsma and a melodic Andrew Lloyd Webber tribute.
The real star, however, is choirmaster Tim Sherlock, whose swaggery moves during the end of show “Jersey Boys” medley sum up the show’s infectious energy. Indeed, although the large choir is made up of singers of various ages and performance experience, it is clear that everyone of stage is having a joyous time and with toe tapping medleys such as that from “My Fair Lady”, they are not the only ones.
Accompanied as its sounds are by projection screen display of scenes from the theatre and movie productions of the shows being highlighted, “30 Years of Musicals” offers a wonderful trip down musical memory lane. It is also a very fitting focus as part of the centre’s 30th celebratory program, given that 40% of the venue’s patrons visit to see a musical. And with “Anything Goes”, “Strictly Ballroom”, “Les Misérables”, “Cats” and “The Sound of Music” all selling tickets now for their upcoming seasons, it is a trend that thankfully seems set to continue.