Article Title:Review: GALS - Out in the city, Songs for queer Auckland
Category:Performance
Author or Credit:Jay Bennie
Published on:23rd June 2012 - 10:41 pm
Published by:GayNZ.com
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Story ID:11913
Text:Out in the city: Songs for queer Auckland GALS Music Director: Stephen Bowness In a magnificent concert GALS tonight seemed to draw together all the experience and hard work of decades, and song after song hit the spot with the capacity audience showing their full appreciation. Underscoring tonight's success was the increased vocal maturity and discipline of the choir. The women's parts were delivered with a mellow sweetness underlying the mood and drama of individual items. But it was the bases who have, even more so, found their groove. These chaps are now producing a rich and resonant sound which adds lush earthiness or solid grunt as required. The overall effect is satisfying and uplifting. This maturity was perhaps best illustrated by, early on, the choir's acapella rendition of Moon River. It was a moment to shut the eyes and let the piece wash over like a tender, romantic breeze. Mancini and Mercer could have written this piece for GALS, it fitted so well. Later, one of GALS' set pieces, Leonard Cohen's Hallelujah, arranged by Roger Emmerson, blossomed into full magnificence when sung by the full choir. Moving and gently uplifting when sung by a smaller section of the choir at such glbti community commemorative events as the Candlelight Memorial, tonight it became soaring and magisterial. It really was that good. The Teddy Bears' Picnic GALS presented their usual mix of serious and slightly batty pieces with aplomb. Dancing bears, ass-kikkin' women and underwater frolics generated a succession of laughs. More serious moments including Gaudeamus Igitur and You've Got a Friend in Me were presented with polish. Joining GALS tonight were the Waikato-based choir GLOW Singers (still, alas, only women but eventually a few Waikato chaps must join huh?) who presented a number of songs, the highlight being the moody and calming Tihore Mai by Hirini Melbourne. Alone and in combination with GALS, GLOW added to the community feel of the night. As did the flash and dazzle of drag supremas Buffy and Bimbo. Also in keeping with the community spirit was the integration of short addresses by glbti community groups who each added their own charm to the evening. Composer David Hamilton acknowledges the choir And, ending the evening with a bang, GALS presented the world premiere of a new and gently moving work by gay Auckland composer and arranger David Hamilton, based on a poem by Keith Parke. A tribute to the determination of people living with HIV to acknowledge their struggle within but to put a brave face on it and make the most of life, Hamilton's scoring enveloped Parke's words in a compelling blend of melancholy and grit. And GALS did A Bright Light Still Shines full justice. The applause was thunderous and well-earned. Tonight was a grand night of song and fun and easily the best GALS concert, in a long line of GALS concerts over the years, this reviewer has had the pleasure of attending. It all bodes extremely well for the GALS 20th anniversary concert in October. - Jay Bennie Jay Bennie - 23rd June 2012    
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