by S Lowe 5THE FM’s newsonline wattlerangenow
Rendelsham Variety Concert 2015 Souvenir Program
All roads led to Rendelsham Saturday night when over 250 music buffs made their way to the the little hamlet hosting the ever popular Variety Concert. It was so successful 35 years ago, the public demanded a return and by the enormous amount of talent displayed it will be talked about for another 35 years. Rendelsham was certainly the music capital of the south east Saturday night with local talent ranging from 11 years old to older!
Rendelsham’s Robert Leslie arranged very full a 3+ hour program of the who’s who of guest performers including himself Robert Leslie, Rendelshamite Alan O’Connor Irish fidler and his son Lugh on the tin whistle, songster Drew Baker, former local boy Henk Groot, the Company of 7, Trevor Rayson, Scott Leslie, Julie Ann and David Thomas, Eric Chambers father of Bill and grandfather of Stacey, the Murkott Family, Adam Hamilton, the re-formed Dusty Peat Band and Ian Potter and Laurence Davis.
MC Rebekah Lowe welcomed the 250 strong crowd and promised a program jam-packed with the best of local music, comedy, poetry and memories.
The Murcott family, Robyn, Daniel, Jeremy, Tommie and Joshua from Glencoe began the program. After being home schooled they decided they enjoyed each others company so they now work together, farm together, make movies together and for some years have performed together on a variety of string instruments. Saturday night they performed selections from Fiddler on the Roof, the Cossak Dance, the themes from Sherlock Holmes and Schindlers List.
One of the many highlights of the evening was the re-forming of the Dusty Peat Flat Band starring original members Henk Groot, Robert Lesslie and Steve Bowering, joined by Rod Bellenger, Catherine Foster and Scott Lesslie. Their first performance was at the Rendelsham Centenary in 1980 and they went on performing for another 17 years. Bob Payne and Paul Hamilton could not attend Saturday night but Scott Lesslie took his grandfather Bob Payne’s place. Catherine Foster joined them again on stage 35 year later as violinist and Rod Bellenger joined them on drums. Other artists to perform with them years ago were Horace and Peter Aberle, Jackie Brooks and David Clark. performed the ballad of William Bloat, With a swag all on my shoulder, and the Rendelsham song unchanged from the original version penned for the centenary. Story goes that the reference to the late Rocky Smith and sandwiches in the Rendelsham song, may have referred to a prank played by the then younger Rocky who replaced corned silverside with red tyre tubing at a Rendelsham dance in the hall and being the gentleman he always was, handed them around to the unsuspecting ladies present! It’s the stuff folklore is made of and brought back many memories with the Smiths, the Fosters, Chilton and Huppatz families featured.
Catherine Foster an accomplished and well known musician who has often played with the South Australian Symphony Orchestra was recently asked by fellow musician what she was up to musically. Story goes she replied she was playing with the reformed Dusty Peat Band, which brought the response in good humour -“so you’ve made the big time then!” Catherine is a music teacher of violin and piano, is a member of a string quartet and is sought after to perform in many productions.
The Dusty Peat Flat Band
The Company of 7 provided a spot of hunour with Jan Armit reciting several ditties and Chris Hollingsworth performing as Polly Darton displaying all the original’s assets. Story goes that Chris asked husband Geoff if her hair was ok at a dress rehearsal at home. Geoff said he wasn’t looking at her hair!!
Rendelsham’s Drew Baker has competed in Eistedfords receiving a first placing in her first Eistedford when she sang ‘The Show” and has everal honourable mentions in her short career. She received first place for the Eliza Doolittle version of the son “Pack Up”. She will be performing at the Mt Gambier showcase in a few weeks time. She sang Wings by Little Mix and left the crowd eager to see where her career takes her. A fellow artist described Drew as the 11 year old with the voice of an 18 year old.
Another Rendelshamite, Alan O’Connor moved to Rendelsham 3 years ago and took up the Irish fiddle again just recently after an absence of some years. He learned to play in Ireland, taught by his grandmother, a well respected musician and is passing on the musical genes to his 11 year old son Lugh who performed with him on the tin whistle.
Julie Anne and David Thomas, former Rendelshamites, performed at the centenary concert 35 years ago and took to the stage again Saturday night. Julie Anne is a talented musician and music teacher and tutored recognised musician Hugh Stuckey. Both are former Rendelshamites and said they were pleased to be back home again to perform. They performed St James Infirmary, Linsey and Don’t it make my brown eyes Blue.
Eric Chambers or Jake and many know him is a ling term Southend identity – father to Bill and grandfather to Kasey performed unaccompanied and showed where the Chambers talent comes from. Eric has performed at many gathering over the years and son Bill is always happy to welcome his dad to the stage when he is performing on the occasional trips home to the South East.
Adam Hamilton admitted to it being his first stage appearance and it was more frightening than playing premiership football for Hatherleigh. After a typically Aussie g’day to the crowd he admitted to doing a bit of ‘crying on the inside’. But even though he has been more used to singing around the campfire than on the stage, he wowed the crowds accompanying himself on the guitar and harmonica with Heart of Gold and Caledonia. We can be assured Adam will be on the stage again before long and his performance caused the MC to say she thought she was listening to the artist himself. Adam is keen to pursue more opportunities to perform.
Scott Lesslie, son of Robert and Suzzanne is one of 5 boys and has one sister. Scott was tutored in music along with his 5 siblings by his father Robert and grandfather Bob Payne on guitar and banjo – is accomplished on both and what a performance with Foggy Mountain Breakdown and Drowsy Maggie.
Millicent’s band Oath recently supported POOR and opened the inaugural Rock ’til you Drop festival at Beachport. They have been playiong live rock and blues around the region plus covers and originals. A talented group featuring 16 year old Jack Lane performed Roadhouse Blues, Cool Guitars and Spinning Wheel Blues. The group consisted of Jack Lane, Chris Copeland (unable to attend) Terry Bishop, Ken Lane and Don Lucas.
OATH – a Millicent Band
Well known identity Trevor Rayson performed some of his popular and favourite poems, attired in arkubra and drizabone. He is well known around the region for his auctioneering at the Rendelsham market and other events donating his time to volunteer as a public speaker and auctioneer.
Prime Time – Mark Moffat, Robert Lesslie, Steve Bowering and Rod Bellinger and Leonie Sutherland have been performing for just over a year and performed Copperhead Road, Gypsy Queen, Made in Japan and Peaceful Easy Feeling. Other members Jens and Mark were unable to attend the Variety Consert.
Southend residents Ian Potter and Laurance Davies raised the roof with Apache, Pipeline, Wipe Out and Guitar Boogie. When the crowd insisted on an encore they jokingley said they only knew 4 songs together but they returned with Apache much to the crowds delight. Ian is a local from Southend and has enjoyed playing guitar for many years. Story has it that when Laurence and Carmella moved to Rendelsham there was a rumour that he was a guitarist of some note and by Saturday nights performance, that rumour was an understatement. Ian and Laurence have only practised together a few times but blended well. Steve Bowering joined them on bass and Rod Bellinger on drums.
Ian Potter and Laurence Davies with Steve & Rod
The organising committee was led by Robert Lesslie and included Graeme Smith, Lynette Brooks, Dawn Williams and Rebekah Lowe. Robert Lesslie organised the event, performed and provided support for other acts, acted as stage manager and roadie all in one doing an ‘amazing job’ the MC said and he received a well earned round of applause.
The Rendelsham cooks provided a fine spread of country fair which was enjoyed by all.
Mr Brian Foster spent the evening in the control room providing a slide show of Rendelsham in its former days which was prepared by Brian and Cathy, much to the enjoyment of locals who remember and the interest of newcomers.
All artists headed to the stage for one last performance and the audience was encouraged to join in with a rousing rendition of Country Road. With such a positive response to the 2nd popular Rendelsham Variety Concert it has almost guaranteed another one soon, perhaps in 12 months time.