Singin' in the Rain! Ulladulla - 17 March 2019 It rained. It poured. It deluged. But the sound of the rain thundering on the roof of the Ulladulla Civic Centre never dampened the audience’s enthusiasm for the Sydney Balalaika Orchestra’s first concert for 2019 on 17 March.
It was the second time the SBO had played in Ulladulla, 230 kms south of Sydney. While the rain certainly kept the audience numbers down, it was a reminder that distance does not diminish the enjoyment of our audiences.
The orchestra played a number of old Russian favourites like ‘In the Village’, ‘Two Step’ and ‘Valenki’. Our much-acclaimed accordion player Richard She gave an outstanding rendition of ‘Fantasie in E Minor’.
Prima domra soloist Tanya Jephtha transported the audience to the Russian steppe with her evocative performance of ‘Mail Troika’. As always, a highlight of the concert was our virtuoso cymbalist Lucy Voronov, who played Liszt’s ‘Hungarian Rhapsody’ with characteristic brilliance.
A member of the audience pointed out that the concert was held on Saint Patrick’s Day.
‘Hands up anyone who is Irish!’ called musical director, Victor Serghie, to the audience. In response a hand shot up behind him: Patrick O’Neill who was on stage and tuning his balalaika. Patrick has been in the orchestra for nearly 15 years; a reminder that you don’t have to be Russian to appreciate Russian music! It was the first time for many years a prima balalaika had sounded among the strings of the SBO.
It was also the first time our new singer, Danny Hawk, sang publicly with the SBO.
The orchestra has lacked a male singer for over a year, so it is pleasing to have a distinctively Russian, male voice back on stage.
Both he and Sophia Markovtzev finished the concert off with a rousing duet of ‘Those Were the Days’. ‘Those were the days’ indeed, in Ulladulla on a very wet St Patrick’s Day. Next time we play there, we hope to bring some better weather. Since it always rains in Ireland, perhaps we had better avoid St Patrick’s Day!