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Running With Cheese

a cappella gospel, early music, tremolo guitars, lactic solids, the Heavenly Lights, vocal workshops, music publications, recordings and other associated musical projects...

the Backroaders

Tony Backhouse - Monday, May 15, 2017

Back in Sydney, recovering from the 9 days of choral madness with the Backroaders. After 3 days' solid rehearsal & pop-up performances in the Blue Mountains (Three Sisters, Evans Lookout, the excellent Basil Nut cafe), we took our doubledecker off to the charming and out of the way town of Millthorpe NSW. A standing ovation followed our performance at the Millthorpe School that night, and we followed that by singing in the pub to the pub chef and an innocent bystander who, as it happened, had just lost his brother. We didn't know this until later, but at the time our singing lifted him considerably and he later said to Raymond ' it was like being inside a miracle.' Our next 2 performances were classic community events, singing to the volunteers at the Millthorpe Museum (who had kindly made all 58 of us breakfast) and to the tinys at the Millthorpe School who were a wonderful audience. 

Our repertoire:

When I Get Inside (trad)
Noways Tired (rev. James Cleveland)
Da Pacem Domine (Melchior Franck)
Sweet Home (Margaret Allison)
Don't You Want To Join That Number (trad)
Don't You Want to Go (trad)
Nobody's Fault But Mine (trad)
Baby a re yeng (Nancy Jacobs)
Thapelo (trad - Soweto Gospel Choir)
Fa'afetai i le Atua (T. Backhouse)
Call Me Elvis (T. Backhouse/P.Dasent)

From Mullthorpe, to Canberra via Yass. R&R in Canberra at the War Memorial and National Art Gallery, then to the beautiful Murramarang Resort (serene sandy beaches, full moon, opportunistic kangaroo poulation - nearly had my breakfast snaffled) for three nights, and three quite intense gigs at the St Johns Anglican Church in Moruya. Lovely church, cool Reverend Linda, great gigs, all standing ovations. We had the advantage at this point of having Josh Cunningham of the Waifs and his wife Jacqueline Jewel join our program. Our star soloist, Caitlin Drew sang Josh's song Temptation ( actually, she made it her own) with Josh on guitar & Jacqui on piano, aided by the Backroaders blokes, and the whole choir joined Josh & Jacqui on his song 'Walkin'. 

Jacqueline Jewel, TB, Josh Cunningham

         Our final performance took place at the Nan Tien Temple in Wollongong, singing in the courtyard to the temple visitors and some of the nuns. By this stage, illness and exhaustion had taken it's toll on a few people, and  in spite of Yani's remedial vocal health warm-ups, Caitlin and I were struggling a bit. But it seemed to go OK. Raymond is now plotting the next Backroaders tour which goes to Northern NSW: The Dharma Trail, May 2018. 

      Thanks are in order: to Raymond Hawkins, whose vision this was, to Yani Mills for co-leading and for excellent performance and vocal coaching, everybody who anticipated my obsession and brought me a coffee at breakfast, the J sisters, the glorious Caitlin, the generous and charming Josh and Jacqui, everyone who cooked for us - and to the 58 wackos who embarked on this road trip, thank you for your generosity of spirit and willingness.