The Festival Statesmen celebrated their 5th birthday concert this weekend at Star Theatres, an occasion marking an anniversary and a commemoration of their many achievements and growth since their humble begins in 2009.
From rehearsing in various lounge rooms to taking gold at this year’s National A Cappella Championships in Melbourne, the Festival Statesmen have truly made a name for themselves exuding true talent, a passion for music and a love of what they do.
This all-male a cappella group are stunning and moving with their gentle harmonies and beautifully powerful songs.
Act I of the program showcased their origins in the barbershop style with numbers such as “Blue Skies” and “Let’s Burn up the Town”. They then progressed into a rich, choral sound which included a haunting rendition of the traditional Scottish song “Loch Lomond” which had the audience sitting in silent awe.
Act II included a brief video of the group’s progression over the years as they grew both in numbers and strength. Adding a little humour, they showed a “behind the scenes” look at their various road trips en route to an array of competitions where they’ve never walked away empty handed. This part of the show moved into a more modern vibe from a contemporary a cappella scene.
The barbershop quartet Now in Stereo! made up of members from The Festival Statesmen performed a few of their favourite numbers with a more playful and upbeat energy creating their own twist on songs such as “Kids” by Robbie Williams and classics like “Good Vibrations”.
The full chorus then came back to perform a powerhouse rendition of the J.R.R. Tolkien poem “Over the Misty Mountains Cold”, the song that was featured in the recent Hobbit films.
Bringing the tempo back up, they rocked the house with “Get Back” by The Beatles before wowing the appreciative audience with Ben Folds’ “Still Fighting It”.
Throughout the show different members of the chorus came up to address the crowd, introduce themselves and the different numbers, also sharing stories of the past five years and their favourite memories. This added a personal feel to the concert and allowed the audience to connect on a more intimate level.
The show ended with the traditional song “Irish Blessing” in which past alumni and members of the retired Festival Statesmen Senior Chorus were invited up to share the stage to be a part of the finale.
One can only imagine The Festival Statesmen will continue to excel on their promising journey. Here’s to the next five years!
Reviewed by Daisy Sumersford
Photo courtesy of The Festival Statesmen