‘Stories in Song Storytelling Concert’ 

This is a belated post about a community-inclusive Sunday afternoon concert that Chris Purcell and I held at Kez Watson’s studio/concert space in Armidale on 9 July 2023. The concert featured the involvement of the Firebirds Community Choir (directed by Chris for the past 20 years) and the choir performed five songs in the opening set. After a short break, Chris and I began our ‘Stories in Song’ performance, where we shared the stories behind our songwriting process for a selection of our collaborative songs. We performed six of the songs in the second set, and three guest vocalists performed Pastor & Purcell songs of their choice as well. Kez Watson, who owns the studio space, played her beautiful mandolin on one of the songs. In the time preceding the concert, Chris wrote arrangements to include the choir in two of our songs – with verses for soloists in each of the songs – and the choir joined us back on stage to perform those.

Chris and I really enjoyed sharing our songs and our songwriting process in an intimate acoustic concert space. I was really pleased that seven people – which included choir and non-choir members – volunteered to perform solo in front of an audience, three of them choosing to perform a whole song on their own. That’s a huge step forward for these singers and one they’re now keen to do again. Since the concert, the choir have performed at the Black Gully Music Festival in Armidale. Chris has also just received Arts North West funding to compose further work for the choir.

Many thanks to Orana Arts who provided funding for this project through a Country Arts Support Program (CASP) Grant.