Tuesday 26 March 2019 2:51pm
Dr Graeme Downes performs with the Dunedin Symphony Orchestra during Tally Ho! 2 in 2017. Photo: Dunedin Symphony Orchestra.
Featuring 24 iconic Dunedin songs and seamlessly bringing together classical and contemporary music and musicians, this April’s Tally Ho! 3 concert is set to celebrate the enduring appeal of songs that provided the soundtrack for a generation.
As with its highly successful predecessors, the concert will pair the Dunedin Symphony Orchestra with rock and pop musicians – many from the Dunedin Sound’s heyday.
Otago music lecturer and Verlaines frontman Dr Graeme Downes says the concert – to be held at the Dunedin Town Hall on 13 April – will feature many of the more iconic songs from Tally Ho! 1 and 2.
"When the late Roy Colbert and I invented tradition with the second Tally Ho! concert we decided that it would, like the first, begin with The Clean’s Tally Ho and finish with Submarine Bells by the Chills with the remaining 21 songs being unannounced."
“Fans can safely bank on Pink Frost and Getting Older being in the mix – and several songs from the era will be reworked for the event,” Dr Downes says.
Seven new orchestrations will be heard for the first time at the concert, which is part of the University of Otago’s 150th Anniversary Celebrations.
“When the late Roy Colbert and I invented tradition with the second Tally Ho! concert we decided that it would, like the first, begin with The Clean’s Tally Ho and finish with Submarine Bells by the Chills with the remaining 21 songs being unannounced,” Dr Downes says.
The performance will feature several current or former University staff members and alumni: Peter Adams will conduct; former contemporary music Associate Professor Rob Burns will play bass; Rob Craigie will drum and Tessa Peterson will lead the orchestra that contains many current students and alumni. Dr Downes says he will “also have a role”.
The programme will also highlight the talents of newer performers, including Nadia Reid and Anthonie Tonnon, and special guest soprano Anna Leese.
“The tradition of extraordinary song craft emanating from this city is decades old now. That their work can survive on the same programme as some of the enduring greats of yesteryear speaks highly of their stature as songwriters and performers, and shows the tradition is still developing.
“And Anthonie is an alumnus who I am proud to have had a part in moulding back in the day. With nearly all the established artists that started out in the 1980s still being active (the Chills will be on tour in the US immediately prior) there is an exciting inter-generational dynamic happening with the inclusion of the new superstars.”
"... no city of 120,000 the world over could expect to put on a concert of home-grown songs in orchestral garb with the success the Tally Ho! concerts have enjoyed ... We punch above our weight and the world knows we do."
Dr Downes says that while rewarding, converting pop to orchestral arrangements presents a unique set of challenges.
Most of the songs are guitar-based and “orchestras don’t strum,” he says.
“The challenge is in translating vertical musical events into horizontal ones. Each song presents a unique set of challenges that I enjoy rising to, such as the sometimes bittersweet dissonances they employ. But this is not without precedent and my go-to people are generally Stravinsky, Mahler and Shostakovich.
“I have known many of the songs quite intimately having taught the Dunedin Sound in various papers down the years. I understand the ‘language’ and find it relatively easy to inhabit them.”
Tally Ho! 3 will be a further celebration of the contribution Dunedin has made to a number of musical genres, and its continued ability to pack cultural clout despite its size.
“When asked about Dunedin’s contribution to global music my stock reply is that no city of 120,000 the world over could expect to put on a concert of home-grown songs in orchestral garb with the success the Tally Ho! concerts have enjoyed. This, of course, translates to a wider New Zealand context. We punch above our weight and the world knows we do,” he says.