The Arcadia Winds visited Armidale in early May to perform in the second concert of the year in NECOM and Musica Viva's Thursdays@7pm concert series. The quintet gave an inspired and energetic performance at the Armidale Town Hall which included some well known repertoire and some brand new Australian works written especially for them, Lachlan Skipworth’s ethereal ‘Echoes and Lines’ and Natalie Williams ‘Animalia’. Consisting of four movements composed in response to four arts works by artists Kristin Headlam and the Culliton sisters Lucy and Anna, 'Animalia' describes the poignancy of parting with one’s companion pet in the morning, the ‘wayward waltz’ that you see in dogs around dinner-time, five sheep characters portrayed by Lucy Culliton matching the five sheepish faces of the quintet players and the athleticism of a circus dog!
The performance was incredibly well received, with audience members commenting that there were too many wonderful moments for them to be able to choose just one favourite. The stand-out for many was the on-stage banter and witticisms of Clarinettist Lloyd Van't Hoff and Bassoonist Matthew Kneale as they introduced each piece. This helped give the concert a light-hearted and approachable feeling, allowing many to take on a new appreciation of wind and brass instrumental performances.
The Arcadia Winds share the belief that, as wind musicians instinctively breathe together and are capable of creating an enormous variety of sound worlds, the wind quintet is an outstanding chamber medium that can rival the very best string quartets. The group were incredibly generous in extending this ideal, offering masterclasses and a free blow-in workshop to young wind and brass players from NECOM and the local area.
Paul Marshall, one of NECOM's wind teachers had the following comments about the Arcadia Winds visit:
Individual members were generous enough to give some lessons to some of our more senior Wind students who all left inspired and enthused.
Friday morning saw our first (of hopefully many) Woodwind and Brass workshop. There was a great turnout for the workshop, we amassed an ensemble of over 40 players of all levels of abilities and interests. We worked on some ballet music from The Nutcracker and a few themes from Star Wars. *check out the video below with one of the final performances from the workshop.
I would like to thank the Arcadia Quintet for their generosity and enthusiasm during their visit and hope to see them visit Armidale again soon!