In this month's newsletter we're excited to share some of our new digital activities including a curated Spotify list, a video message from Kathryn Stott and the first video in our AFCM Video Stories series - combining concert recordings with memorable Festival images. This first one is set to a beautiful ABC recording from last year's Church Concert.
As we're getting used to the new 'normal' which includes restaurant meals in our own homes and fabulous digital concerts, we're pleased to let you know that here at AFCM HQ we have some superb digital concerts of our own planned for later in the year - so stay tuned!
With restrictions starting to lift and the ability to start travelling again, our fabulous sponsors at Travel Associates
have put together some amazing packages available for travel throughout Queensland.
We hope you enjoy our newsletter!
The AFCM Team.
Image: Travel Associates
Pianos in the Tropics
Here’s a test for you....how many AFCM pianos are there in Townsville? Answer – none. The Festival doesn’t own any pianos, however, each year we needs about nine of them.
The Civic Theatre is the only place in Townsville with a concert standard piano, so this means AFCM needs to ship the pianos up to Townsville each year, and back again. They come from Sydney no less, because even Brisbane can't supply that many instruments.
Each year, AFCM with huge help from our valued partners Theme and Variations, ships the instruments from Sydney. But, why so many? Well, it's not just a matter of concerts at the Townsville Civic Theatre; we also have concerts at The Pavilion at The Ville and other venues like St James Cathedral, plus we need a number of rehearsal pianos. AFCM rehearsals take place next to the Civic Theatre in the Pit Building (where the V8 Supercars operate out of each year). Each of the six rehearsal rooms needs a piano, tuned each day and used all day for rehearsing.
Pianos are one of the logistics challenges for our Production team. Not only must they be shipped safely, stored securely, used carefully and tuned each day, they must be moved occasionally too! You may have noticed a the Festival Finale concert we have two pianos on stage? This means the piano at The Pavilion needs to be transported after the final Concert Conversation. Meanwhile, all remainig pianos are being packed away in the truck, and then at 11.30pm after the finial concert, the last pianos are uplifted and the boys set off for the long drive to Sydney.
There’s one last thing...Townsville is not a good climate for pianos. For six months of the year it is too humid and hot. One thing you see in the tropics when you open the lid of an old piano is...mould! That often means the end of that piano. They are remarkable machines, tough and well built, but a simple bit of humidity could ruin a $300,000 instrument forever. So we say thank you to our good friends at Theme & Variations
for the valuable work they do each year.