Voices in the Forest 2014 is the one we will talk about for years, as we do about the Hothouse Flowers and Dire Straits concert, a few Canberra Symphony Orchestra Proms Concerts, this year’s Diner en Blanc and the muddy madness of Elton John at Stage 88. It rained for them all and the way we coped is a reflection on our sense of humour. The hilarity of being rain soaked and just a bit tipsy, prepared to suffer the dripping rain seeping into every orifice of the plastic ponchos and soak the exposed extremities was a new experience for many but this concert was a resounding success.
The organisation was brilliant; whether bussing in or lucky enough to have VIP or paid parking our arrival on a steamy Sunday arvo was handled by a personable bunch of volunteers directing all to their seats. And didn’t it feel good to open this concert on a positive note with Alex Sloan at her effervescent best from beginning to finale with weather info, attitudinal aspects – lets face it we can all cope if we have the right attitude - and a clear understanding of the ‘evacuation’ process when the storm threat became a problem. To this end I found funny photos. Photos to show we can laugh at ourselves and cope well with the weather...whatever.
Our Chief Minister and her green friend, that’s Katy and Shane of course, looked a treat dripping in plastic and the divine divas in the annex; Christina Wilson wearing a garbage bag so elegantly, Louise Paige tossing back her head and laughing, Inessa Galante looking so glamorous among the sound paraphernalia and all of us happily enjoying a few delicious drinks and eats as the storm moved through. Memorable too a couple of blokes ‘singing in the rain’ when the majority headed for the buses, the Village Centre or home.
But those who stayed will always remember this night, the magnificent voices, a program that was just perfect for a wide range of tastes and ages, the magic of the music and choirs under the baton of the acrobatic and energetic Roland Peerlman, and how this event can and should be a permanent fixture on our Canberra calendar.
Then there was more as the concert came to a close and those who were dining drifted to the Village Centre for a beautiful dinner party where our bedraggled clothes, disastrous hair and make- up didn’t matter a toss as the man who makes it possible Bob Winnel, thanked his stars, his guests and everyone he came into contact with, as he worked the room. He is a man of exceptional generosity, he is without pretensions and he made sure that just being there was what made Voices in the Forest unique for us all. Thank you to everyone who made it happen.