Gala on song

The Generations in Jazz Gala Concert was a resounding success at the Sir Robert Helpmann Theatre on Thursday night and hit all the right notes for its first return since 2019.

Generations in Jazz (GIJ) event coordinator Karyn Roberts said almost 400 people attended and she was very happy with how the event came together.

“I think the best part of all of that was I did not hear one person comment other than it being a fabulous concert and what a great experience,” Ms Roberts said.

“And that was both the audience and the guest artists and musicians, I think everybody just loved it.”

The concert was kicked off with an impressive Welcome to Country performed by David Williams followed by performances by James Morrison, Darren Percival, Megan Washington and Nicki Parrott, who were a major hit with the audience.

The GIJ Alumni Big Band with past GIJ scholarship finalists and winners was a highlight of the night and talented 2022 scholarship finalists performed a jam session.

Internationals The Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra and a capella group The Real Group were also streamed in during the concert.

Tenison Woods College students attended and received second place in the City of Mount Gambier National Stage Band Awards Division 4 Plus and third in the ANZ Vocal Ensemble Awards Open Small.

Other participating schools across Australia tuned into the event via live-stream and first place award winners were live-streamed onto screens at the concert.

“The kids thought it was fantastic and I think a couple of the schools have commented that it did have the Generations feel to it, which was great, that’s what we were trying to achieve,” Ms Roberts said.

Ms Roberts said she heard the musicians were very happy to have the opportunity to play again and reunite with many musos who they had not seen in a long time.

“There was a lot of happiness in the room,” she said.

“It was the spirit of Generations, you could feel the spirit, and that’s what it is, you do not know what Generations is until you experience it.”

The committee are anticipating the return of the traditional ‘Big Top’ concert next year, which attracts upwards of 8000 people.

Generations in Jazz artistic director James Morrison said he was excited to have GIJ back in Mount Gambier after a two-year COVID hiatus and said the online element of the concert was great because people all around the country could participate.

“I think the fact the people organising it, the board and everyone else who’s involved, council members, have gotten together and found a way to keep doing it,” he said.

“Even though the schools could not all come, there could have been COVID still, but to make sure that it’s back and happening so they can work towards, hopefully in the next year, having the full thing again and having thousands of kids there.

“I think it’s just wonderful to see that it’s happening again and back on, I think the schools are also really relieved and excited that it’s still around.”

Mr Morrison also announced on stage that he would be stepping down from the role of GIJ Artistic Director after 33 years.

“We can only be just really grateful and appreciative and really honoured that he’s been involved in that role for the time that he has, been involved with the event, which that will not stop,” Ms Roberts said.

“It just will be different, but exciting too, I think that’s the way we all feel about it and the show goes on, as they say.”

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