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GSOV 80th Anniversary weekend in Dunolly

Labour Day long weekend March 6th - 9th 2015

To celebrate the 80th anniversary of the Gilbert and Sullivan Society of Victoria (GSOV), our good friend, Honorary Life Member, Past President, and former Principal Soprano Rachel Buckley hosted a huge Gala Concert Weekend at her property - "Buckley's of Dunolly" - 1787 Maryborough-Dunolly Road, Dunolly - in the "Savoy Gardens" and the "Foundry".

The Events as they unfolded…

Friday 6th August, 2015

The first eager party-goers arrived in Dunolly as soon as they could ditch work. Assembling in the Dunolly Caravan Park, and on Rachel’s Property; we self-catered and braced for an eventful weekend.

Saturday 7th August, 2015

The day started with a game of adult hide-and-seek: otherwise known as “Who’s here already?”. Those who were “found” spent the day decorating the Foundry with an array of British flags, Japanese fans, and fairy lights. We set up chairs and tables for the coming days, and intermittently ran to town to pick up new arrivals and extra food. At 6pm there was a “Knees Up Mother Brown Party and Dinner” in the Foundry. However, the advertised sing-a-long was short. Instead the “ravenous horde” spent hours eating, drinking, and talking. We devoured a hot roast dinner with jacket potatoes and salad: Of course “salad” was an understatement. I counted no less than ten different salads.

Sunday 8th August, 2015

At 2pm, a crowd made up of Dunolly locals and GSOV members packed Rachel’s roomy Foundry to experience G & S Eighty Years of Songs and Memories.
Clutching our music (which as it is in every production was an eclectic mix of Chappell and Schirmer scores) our compere, Rachel urged us to sing even if we didn’t know what we were actually singing. ”Gilbert and Sullivan is built on its choruses” advised Rachel “and G&S has some of the most glorious chorus music around.”
We took this advice to heart: and had plenty of enthusiastic Gondoliers, Love-sick Maidens, and Citizens of Titipu.
Personal highlights for me were trying to sight-read the non-Japanese of the Mikado (which I have never done); a charming story by Richard Burman about a performance in the former Pentridge Prison where the male cast was preparing to defend the female members from the prisoners; and Jenny Coll’s interpretation of “Poor Wandering One” which involved an enthusiastic chicken impersonation.

Dinner was at the Golden Grain Café; a buffet including a wide variety of extremely yummy roasts. We may possibly have performed an impromptu rendition of Eagle High conducted by Greg Hannan. But if we did, it was in deference to the cast of Utopia who, in the 1980s, were evicted from a café for loudly singing that same number.

Sadly, I was required to leave before the Cricket game on Monday 9th. However, I am led to believe that Peter Hurst’s team lost on a matter of principal.
This weekend was an incredible experience and a chance to catch up with Society members I have not seen in years.
If you ever invent a time machine, I suggest you attend this weekend.

Review by Caroline Creasey (nee. Jones, formerly Jacobs)

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