The hills will definitely be alive with the sound of music when an alpine tradition since the 1970s begins on Friday.
Musicians from Victoria, NSW, Queensland, South Australia, ACT, Tasmania and Northern Territory will join this year’s Harrietville Music Camp, which continues until January 20 at Mountain View Holiday Retreat.
About 100 participants aged from their 20s to their 80s will complete daily tutorials, rehearsals and performances, culminating in two public concerts.
The big band’s free evening performance takes place at Harrietville Hotel Motel next Friday, January 18, with the Showcase Concert the following day in the Bright Community Centre at 2.30pm, entry by donation.
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Overseeing the players are musical director Gerald Keuneman, who also leads the Whitehorse Orchestra and the Victorian Concert Orchestra, and choral director Doug Heywood, best known for his work with television’s Carols By Candlelight.
Camp co-ordinator Sally Dugan said the then Council of Adult Education started Harrietville Music Camp more than 40 years ago and invited Whitehorse Orchestra to become involved in 1996.
A decade later, the council handed over the event to the Melbourne community orchestra.
“We took over in full from the 2006 camp, which we decided was probably the 30th anniversary,” Ms Dugan said.
She felt the relatively remote location added to the camp’s attraction.
“You can’t go home, you can’t worry about external things, really, because you’re up there and trapped, so to speak, and it’s a beautiful place,” she said.
“I think it works because it’s a non-competitive experience, people come and they know that they will just enjoy.
“Everybody supports each other so the less advanced people learn a lot not just from the tutors, but from the people they’re playing with who are more experienced than themselves.”
Mr Keuneman, who received a Medal of the Order of Australia in 2016, taught at his first camp in 1985 and fell in love with the region.
“North East Victoria’s a very, very beautiful area, especially if you live in the city,” he said.
“I always look forward to the camp and it’s lovely to meet people.”
This year the camp will tackle the rarely-performed Wellington’s Victory, a 20-minute work by Beethoven where duelling halves of the orchestra represent the French and English armies.
“Beethoven always is a technical challenge, people will have to work hard during the week, but I’m sure we’ll get there,” Mr Keuneman said.
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