Thursday 31 December 2020

From the Archives - Memories and Accounts of Bush Music Club and its Origins, by Dale Dengate

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 Mulga Wire no.s 164 & 165, August & October 2004

Part 1 See REEDY RIVER proclaimed the large painted sing on the exposed sandstone above the wharves.  One of my vivid memories travelling to school through the Sydney Rocks area, during the late 1950s ... My favourite teacher was Helen Palmer ...

2. ... Most of the administration of BMC was left to the women. Over the following years we would get together with our babies and ensure the bills were paid for the BMC ... Ronda Carlin ... treasurer and Singabout evening organiser  ... Two performers stand out for the incredible clarity of their singing ... Jeannie Lewis and Sally Sloane ... Ann Maher was BMC President and sang with the Concert Party ... these memories cover the late sixties and early seventies. 

3. Part 2 BMC Memories - 1950s  ... We learnt about the decade before us ... from the reminiscences told by Merro at dinner parties .especially those held for his birthday with Chris and Virginia Woodland ... the 50s Merro had moved to a double fronted brick house opposite Waverley Cemetery near Coogee. The tenants then started to enjoy music together, Joy Durst ...

4. ...  they sang Russian folk songs in English ... Maori songs and from Vance Palmer and Margaret Sutherland's album of Old Australian Bush ballads ... People's Choir. Among it's members were Bill Berry and Chris Kempster and it was conducted by Doreen Jacobs (Bridges) ... Doreen encouraged Chris to set Australian poems to music. ... cultural evenings ... Dorothy Hewlett ...  Faith Mussing (later Bandler) singing Aboriginal lullabies, as well as songs from the People's Choir ... Hilda Lane ... Jack "Hoopiron" Lee ... Joe Cashmere ...

5. Merro recalls that about this time he formed a "small ensemble" ... Brian Loughlin,  Jack Barrie ... deciding on the name The Bushwhackers after much discussion ...  Sally Sloane ...  Chris Kempster, Harry Kay, Alex Hood, Cecil Grivas ... "Thus the Bush Music club, the first of it's kind came into existence" in 1954. By 3/9/55, the First Folklore Festival was held in Sydney with Alfred Hill as enthusiastic member and Patron. On the program were The Bushwhackers, Beth Schurr, Sally Sloane (and Fred), Joe Cashmere, Herb Gimbert, Barbara Lysiak, Jeff Way and Mary Byrnes. The ABC & People Magazine gave it good coverage. 

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