Two years ago, occasional music buddies Rodney Greene and I were asked to play a fifteen minute pre-carols set at the Burnie Carols. No need for Christmassy songs, we were assured, ‘there will be plenty throughout the evening to keep the public happy’. So we performed Simon and Garfunkel’s The Boxer and Crowded House’s Distant Sun (which we changed to Christmas Sun because we couldn’t help ourselves). Some audience members appreciated and some appeared oblivious to our presence. No matter, it was the occasion that counted.
The next year we must have missed our invitation, and I assumed with quivering lip our music wasn’t appreciated enough for a repeat performance, or they prefer to mix it up a wee bit. We never asked and they never said.
2015 Carols were approaching fast and out of the blue I received an email from the organisers. ‘How do you feel about playing a 15 minute set?’ I was asked. ‘Sure,’ I replied. Deciding I could perform a couple of my own plus one or two covers depending on how on time everything was running, all was set. I was given a time slot and a couple of weeks to prepare.
A couple of pre-carols entertainers made their apologies for varied reasons, but thankfully the rest of us proved flexible enough to oblige. Hence, my time slot changed several times as the day loomed closer.
Then, the forecast for Sunday threatened, literally, to rain on the parade. Tasmania needed precipitation, but that particular day? Really! After much deliberation the organisers decided to pull the plug on Sunday and reschedule for Monday where the forecast appeared much kinder. Rescheduling promised its own can of worms but all credit to the organisers, performers and Burnie public alike, positivity ‘reigned’ supreme.
Friend and classical string player Steph Perry told me she would be available Monday if I wanted company on stage, so on the morning of the carols we got together and ran through three songs, being Pete Murray’s Opportunity, Snow Patrol’s Chasing Cars and a track from my current CD called 100 Miles.
In a few short hours Steph and I were on stage, enjoying our set to an audience either on the phone, videoing our songs, chatting to friends or attempting to restrain over-excited-foam-antler-wearing children. Steph exited stage right and I remained to perform a new self-composition and a cheeky cover of the Oasis hit Don’t Look Back, with many lyrics changed to be in keeping with the festive season (So, Santa won’t wait, he won’t be too late and he won’t fly on by). Seemed to be well received although I heard a spattering of the audience singing the actual words, which proved challenging trying to focus on my fabrication, or mutilation, depending on your musical preference.
So, thank you Burnie for supporting the hard work and long hours put in by, especially, the headline acts. There is a lot of real talent out there from experienced players to fresh faced kids with more ‘bottle’ than I ever had at their age. Whether invited to perform at the next Carols or not, I will be there to support an amazing community event.