The SBO’s players often form small groups where there is a need for fewer musicians or ‘pop up’ mood music.
On Sunday, 4 November, a group of six SBO musicians played a few numbers at the Pioneer Theatre in Castle Hill. SBO members donated their time to the event, as the Hills Harmony Choir had arranged it as a fundraiser for Lifeline. ‘We were feeling a bit thin on the ground with only a fifth of the usual orchestra on stage, so we invited the Harmony Choir to join us for our last number,’ said domra and guitar player, Matt Morgan. ‘About a dozen of them (all men) stood on a riser behind us and hummed along to Volga Boatmen,’ he recalled.
On 11 November, nine players assembled at the Art Gallery of New South Wales during a special showing of Masters of Modern Art from the Hermitage, of St Petersburg renown. And they certainly set a very Russian mood.
‘We had a set list of a dozen numbers we intended to play and we enjoyed the The SBO is often asked to play smaller opportunity to relax and play in the gigs so it looks as if we will see more of background, rather than performing to a these ‘chamber’ groups in the future. set audience in a concert hall,’ said Matt Morgan. Though they didn’t remain in the background for long. ‘We managed to “catch” guests who loved our music, stopped to listen then came up to ask about our instruments,’ he explained.
This was not a new experience for Matt. ‘I remember visiting the Hermitage in St Petersburg on my first overseas tour with the SBO, so seeing Paul Gauguin’s The Month of Mary (pictured) again brought up a lot of nostalgia for that trip,’ he said.
‘I think everyone involved with these smaller concerts is eager for more of them. They present a challenge – without a conductor, we are forced to look and listen to each other much more closely,’ Matt explained.
The SBO is often asked to play smaller gigs so it looks as if we will see more of these 'chamber' groups in the future.