In these COVID-19 times music matters more than ever, and Squawkestra have a concert date on the 28th May. Whilst we may not be able to guarantee a traditional concert then,  we are proceeding with our program and concert repertoire in new ways.

During our lockout and lockdown we want to continue to bring the music to you. Kat, our Musical Director and Conductor, and your committee has been busy with ideas to engage and inspire you and to encourage you and your instrument to play together.

Kat has made some practice videos in short excepts so that you can play along at rehearsal speed.

First, check out The Plan, where Kat introduces this new approach.  Then pull out your Pastoral Symphony music and be prepared to practise bars 1 to the end of 36, and then bars 37 thru to 53.  We intend to post further videos on a fortnightly basis, replacing face to face rehearsals.

After watching – and playing along – please comment on the page with your suggestions or questions so we can learn from each other and refine our virtual squawkestra techniques.

We are also looking outward beyond our members, recognising the particular hardships of the arts community. Working with local composers is something we would like to do, and we encourage all members of Squawkestra who compose or know of someone who could write for us to get in touch with Kat. Now is the time to dust off those half finished compositions.

We hope you will stay with us during this new phase as we seek to continue our music-making, Squawkestra-style.

As a result of the rapidly escalating health crisis with Covid-19 we have taken the decision to cancel rehearsals until it is safe to resume. We support social distancing in order to limit the spread of the virus in the community, and to assist our health workers and hospitals. This decision was confirmed for us with Darebin Council closing all senior citizens’ halls, making our rehearsal space unavailable.

We hope that Squawkestra members will continue to play, and hopefully there are some clever people amongst us who can devise ways of teaching or practising with our peers remotely or in small groups. We may be at a distance but let’s not be isolated.

We will advise on this website and the rehearsals events on our meetup page when it is once more possible for us to play together again.

First Rehearsal for 2020

It was wonderful to be playing as Squawkestra again! Returning members, some we hadn’t seen for a while, and new friends came together to make magnificent music together.

First up was a simple folk song designed to have us playing and listening for our group sound, rather than a group of individuals making sound. Then onto a piece to celebrate the 250th anniversary of Beethoven’s birth and finally, some wizarding magic.

Upcoming rehearsals schedule are listed on the Members page and at the Squawkestra Meetup site.

2020 First Rehearsal

Make an Entrance

Our first rehearsal season is starting this week, where our focus will be on sectionals and  getting to know our sound in instrumental groups.

In the interest of trying something new, Squawkestra will be trying Principal Players positions in our first season of rehearsals. A Principal Player in big important world orchestras are players who are highly proficient performers, who often take the lead parts or solos, who are called upon to tune up the orchestra, lead sectional rehearsals and lead advice to the section on fingering and phrasing, or sometimes lead the orchestra during rehearsals. Being that Squawkestra is a big important orchestra of the world, we should give it a go too!

If you’re willing to lead a sectional rehearsal, assist orchestra members and the conductor as required, can commit the attending all rehearsals during the first concert season (Feb 6 – May 28) and can meet on Feb 13,  please complete the Principal Players – Expressions of Interest Form.  We expect these roles can be rotated through interested orchestra members in future concert seasons.

First rehearsal is tomorrow, Thursday 6th February, at 7pm, Northcote Senior Citizens Centre 18A Bent St Northcote.  See you there!

2020 Make an Entrance

Last night, instead of the sweet tones of Squawkestra rehearsing, the sound of pages shuffling and mutterings of “L, M, N, O ….. P” could be heard from Northcote Senior Citizens Centre.  Committee members and brave volunteers tackled the huge task of filing sheet music from members back into the library.  In addition to last year’s pieces retrieved from across the orchestra, we had random sheets from pieces played from many years ago.  All were sorted back into the work’s relevant section folder, then into the work’s hanging folder, to be catalogued and alphabetised for storage in the office cabinets.  A major task with music for dozens of works!  But  “many hands make light work” and thanks to everyone involved, each sheet found a home.

Next week, Thursday 6th February, is our first rehearsal for 2020, and we can’t wait to get back into music making with Squawkestra at 7pm, Northcote Senior Citizens Centre 18A Bent St Northcote.

2020 Music Sort 1

Our final event for the year, the Christmas Soiree and Party, is coming up soon on Thursday 12 December 2019.

To confirm your attendance, and to enjoy the delicious catering from the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre, please pay $25 into the Squawkestra bank account by Wednesday 4th December.  Remember to include your name and instrument in the payment description!

Account name: SQUAWKESTRA INC.
BSB: 633-000
ACCOUNT#: 131367583

2019 Christmas Soiree

Our AGM will be held in the break next rehearsal on the 14 November.

Presented will be last year’s AGM minutes, the Treasurer’s, President’s and Musical Director’s report.  If there is any other business from members please let one of the committee know so it can be added to the agenda.

Please have your nominations ready for any of the positions or general committee as all positions will be declared vacant. If you have always wanted to contribute your energy and ideas to Squawkestra we’d love to have you involved.

Soiree Success

Our Halloween soiree showcased the work of eight ensembles, several of which selected music on the “spooky” theme from the religious to the secular. It was also great to welcome several guests and Squawkestra alumni to our performance.

Listening to each soloist or ensemble was an opportunity to hear how much we are learning and improving. It is also an opportunity to give much positive feedback that is genuine and heartfelt. Each of us know how hard it is to find time to practise, to attend lessons and to get together with others to form an ensemble. Finally there is facing, and overcoming, stage nerves. But we did it!

It was a wonderful night with some memorable music-making.

Halloween Soiree

2018 Halloween Soiree

Get ready for a spooky Halloween Soiree!

We’re making the most of our regular rehearsal falling on Halloween, by having a soiree where members and squawky friends are invited to perform for the group in solos, duos and small ensembles.  Past Squawkestra members are especially welcome to return and have a play with us.

If you don’t want to play for the group, no problem, we will still be playing music as a group. No matter how terrifying the music may feel, be sure to bring your instrument.

It will be spooktacular!


VCOP Gala Triumph

This past Saturday saw our Composing Conversations workshop come to a glorious end as we performed our two new works alongside a number of highly acclaimed community orchestras at the inaugural VCO Project Gala event.

Mark Viggiani’s piece “Of Tulips and Dragons” won first place in the arrangement section of the competition. Nicholas Goulding’s piece “Overflow” was premiered with style and conviction.  It was a true honour to be the orchestra who played the winning piece!

It’s hard to pick what we enjoyed most about participating in our Composing Conversations workshop series and the VCO Project.  Perhaps it was it getting to know our composers, interpreting their music with Kat and Mark Shiell, the weekly rehearsals, our unorthodox untuned percussion (colourful plastic wheelie bins) or performing in the beautiful venue of Malvern Town Hall.

Or maybe it was the joy and quiet satisfaction where all our practising turned into confident and convincing playing, culminating in a triumphant performance.

Thank you to Kat, our conductor and fearless leader for inspiring us to take part in this project and for endless organisation – we really appreciate the opportunities you provide. Thank you to Nicholas and Mark who entrusted us with their music. Thank you to Jane for the beautiful green paper flowers. Had there been a prize for the smartest dressed orchestra, we would have won it thanks to Jane’s artistic skill. Thank you to Jeannie, Henry and Kath who provided the aforementioned wheelie bins.

And finally, thank you to all Squawkestrians who worked so hard and played their best creating the music magic.