Degrees of Separation: of Greeks, theatres and @SYOrchestra

Sometimes there is a fascinating confluence of occurrences. In the wonderful textures of life it is not hard to find connections. They may sometimes be negative. But usually not, and with a little generosity of spirit and enthusiasm an element of delight can radiate over the day.

Today there was a chance meeting in the street. A meeting that would not have happened had ABC Classic FM’s Graham Abbott’s dulcet tones and instruction on Wagner’s Ring Cycle held sway over the much more decadent attraction of coffee and a muffin for breakfast at that Woolloomooloo temple of baked goods, ‘Flour and Stone’ on Riley Street. Justifying the soft option on the basis that he has the iPad Ring Cycle app and the Deryck Cooke CD, your correspondent stepped happily into the unseasonally warm winter morning. Not far from the objective a cheerful greeting broke his reverie. It was Bernie Heard, General Manager of Sydney Youth Orchestras, making her way up to the St Mary’s Chapter Hall to check out the morning’s rehearsals. A gladly accepted invitation to be shown around ensued. And so it was, fortified by an excellent bran muffin, that your correspondent surveyed the, always fascinating, sight of young people learning the social, disciplinary, aural and musical skills of making music together. The enthusiasm was palpable. The eyes were shining. At every level. The image of a young girl, towards the back of the most junior orchestra, playing on an, undoubtedly prized, pink violin will linger.

We should not be surprised. Anyone who knows the power of music education understands the immense contribution these opportunities will afford these children in their later lives. But that is not the reason for this brief essay.

It was later conversation, about regional touring, where passing reference was made to the Northern NSW town of Bingara and the Roxy Theatre there. If you do not know the story, it’s worth a few minutes to read this lovely piece of Greek Australian history; a beautiful cameo of life in country New South Wales in the early half of the 20th century, and the commitment of locals to restoring and preserving these artefacts and the memories they invoke. It seems the Sydney Symphony Fellowship has played in the beautifully restored Roxy Theatre and the Sydney Youth Orchestra will also do so on a future regional tour. Although principally built as a movie theatre, the Roxy now fulfils a role as multi-use performance space, a fine example of resources vital to the cultural life of regional Australia

The confluence of occurrences will, however, not be yet clear to you, dear reader: it relates to Mrs Oz, home alone yesterday. A neighbour kindly invited her to dinner. Nothing unusual in that, but it so happened that a dinner guest was none other than Peter Prineas, grandson of Peter Feros, one of the partners who built the original Roxy Theatre complex.

Your correspondent thinks this is all worth a couple of Ouzos and perhaps a few smashed plates. Let us celebrate the Sydney Youth Orchestras and Australia’s wonderful Greek community, with all they both have contributed, and continue to contribute, to Australian life.


About johnofoz

An occasional correspondent, with particular interest in music.
This entry was posted in Memories of the Past, Music and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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