Rock Choir (QPAC Choir)
QPAC, Concert Hall
QPAC Choir’s 2019 showcase, “Rock Choir” promises classic rock songs given the four-part harmony treatment. And from its opening number, a Queen medley, celebratory sensibility is clear. The set list features songs written and originally performed by a whole range of rock icons, from Fleetwood Mac to Bon Jovi… so something for everyone.
“Rock Choir” not only embodies the enjoyment of previous successful showcase concerts, but adds to the tradition with inclusion of the inaugural 32-voice youth choir, who join with the 200-voice Senior Choir throughout the night, including in share of a ‘Beatles in Review’ medley, in mark of the anniversary, 55 years to the day, of when the Fab Four brought Beatlemania to Australia in what turned out to be their one and only tour Down Under.
Though nod is given to many iconic Beatles song, it is the rousing surge of the monumental ‘Hey Jude’ that serves as a beautiful and compelling early highlight thanks to its soulful vocals and melodious musical accompaniment courtesy of the Rock Choir Band.
Indeed, there are many memorable musical moments throughout the evening, including a vibrant ‘Good Vibrations’ that not only anthems 1960s counterculture, but also the joyous mood of the evening, with its complex, textured vocal arrangements and dynamic crescendos. The group’s Chamber Choir, makes an energetic appearance also, to share classic rock hits from Billy Joel and 10CC.
The concert’s repertoire is well-chosen not only to chart the broad popular music genre of Rock and Roll, from hard rock to soft pop rock, but to offer opportunity for the live 10-piece rock band to feature as more than just support. Darren MacPherson shines on saxophone solo in a Pub Choir type singalong to The Models’ ‘Barbados’ and Lachlan Bell and Justin Bliss bring the driving consistent rhythm of Pink Floyd’s rebellious ‘Another Brick in the Wall’ to life with guitar funk.
While much of the show’s sensibility stay true to the Choir’s earlier showcases, there are some moments that threaten to detract from its identity. When dancers from Merge Dance Theatre, a Brisbane-based youth dance company, perform routine to ‘The Heat is On’ from 1980s action comedy film ‘Beverly Hills Cop’, it seems out of place without a choral accompaniment of some sort. And ‘Rock Wiz’ segments introduced into the format last year, fall a little flat and don’t entirely work in such a large venue, despite the efforts of personality-plus choirmaster Timothy Sherlock.
Still, these compromises aside, “Rock Choir” still represents an enjoyable night out, full of fun for all ages and energetic down to its late-show sway along to Prince’s ‘Purple Rain’, one of a number of songs featuring special guest artist performances by the Bachelor of Musical Theatre students from Queensland Conservatorium Griffith University.
“Rock Choir” is a must-see celebration for everyone who loves music and enjoys its nostalgic power to transport listeners back in time, assisted also by accompanying album cover projections. It is always wonderful to be reacquainted with both songs you know you love and those that you may not even initially realise you know and given the evening’s capacity crowd it seems that Brisbane audience members are in agreement.
Photos – c/o Darren Thomas