Over the course of the past several years, Dr Graeme Downes has delved deeply into the heart of Dunedin music to create new versions of beloved songs.
This Saturday, the fruits of his labours will be showcased once more in the Dunedin Symphony Orchestra’s “Tally Ho! 3” concert at the Dunedin Town Hall.
A major collaboration between the orchestra and contemporary musicians, with a touch of opera, “Tally Ho! 3” features Anna Leese, Martin Phillipps, Shayne Carter, Anthonie Tonnon, Nadia Reid, Molly Devine, Metitilani Alo and Downes himself, with Rob Burns and Rob Craigie in the rhythm section, under the baton of conductor Peter Adams.
The line-up of songs includes some of the most popular songs from the first two “Tally Ho!” concerts, including Death and the Maiden (The Verlaines), Submarine Bells (The Chills), Pink Frost (The Chills), Cactus Cat (Look Blue Go Purple, Tally Ho! (The Clean) and Dialling a Prayer (Straitjacket Fits).
The return of Reid and Tonnon to the performance line-up led to the inclusion of several new songs in the 24-song programme, while others seemed suited to the University of Otago’s 150th anniversary celebrations.
Downes has also revisited the orchestration of several of the songs from the first show, after refining his technique.
With the performance team having experienced the “Tally Ho!” project at least once before, everyone knows what is expected of them, Downes says.
‘It’s quite easy now – everyone knows the drill and knows how much preparation they need to do,” he said.
“And it’s always interesting to hear the different singers’ approach to the music.
“And the songs are great, no matter who is singing them.”
The association with the university’s 150th anniversary is a fitting one as Downes, Adams and DSO concertmaster Tessa Petersen all work in the Otago music department, and many alumni are among the singers and players.
“The colour, energy, drama and emotion of this wonderful music translates so well to the orchestral medium, and I know audiences to ‘Tally Ho! 3’ are in for a real treat once again,” Adams said.