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Edward

OTHAFA posterOnce upon a time, in a land of ‘Technicolour’ trees
and ‘Thomas the Tank Engine’ skies,
there was a kingdom known as OTHAFA,
where good acronyms were in short supply…

The 17th October 2009 saw an eager and excited audience follow the Melbourne Rainbow Band on a journey through the mystic lands of OTHAFA. The king, with his trusty steed Tofu the peach poodle, journeyed through mighty forests and treacherous mountains to the Masonite City in search of The Wizard of Was. Along the way they encountered a vanity driven dragon and the Military Fairy, battled with the Wicked Wobins of the West, and finally returned to the Queen who had meanwhile improved her strokes at the Royal Golf Course.

The comedic story, courtesy of musical director Mark Lyall, brought together an otherwise eclectic mix of music, including a lush selection of programmatic music (Hall of the Mountain King, Heart of Lithuania, Pilatus: Mountain of Dragons, Children’s March), film scores (Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, Shrek, Wizard of Oz) and swing numbers (Ain’t No Mountain High Enough, On a Clear Day).

With stunning visuals and an eager cast, the Melbourne Rainbow Band produced a show that the audience confirmed was unsurpassed in the band’s history.

The 17th October 2009 saw an eager and excited audience follow the Melbourne Rainbow Band on a journey through the mystic lands of OTHAFA. The king, with his trusty steed Tofu the peach poodle, journeyed through mighty forests and treacherous mountains to the Masonite City in search of The Wizard of Was. Along the way they encountered a vanity driven dragon and the Military Fairy, battled with the Wicked Wobins of the West, and finally returned to the Queen who had meanwhile improved her “strokes” at the Royal Golf Course.

The comedic story, courtesy of musical director Mark Lyall, brought together a otherwise eclectic mix of music, including a lush selection of programmatic music (Hall of the Mountain King, Heart of Lithuania, Pilatus: Mountain of Dragons, Children’s March), film scores (Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, Shrek, Wizard of Oz) and swing numbers (Ain’t No Mountain High Enough, On a Clear Day).

With stunning visuals and an eager cast, the Melbourne Rainbow Band produced a show that the audience confirmed was unsurpassed in the band’s history.

Love & War PosterIn May 2009, the MRB held a sold-out concert at Chapel Off Chapel, title d “Love & War”.

Rather than a showcase concert of individual pieces of music, Love & War was a musical exploration of emotions associated with conflict. From classical to swing, from movie themes to folk song, the performance spanned all musical styles, which the band presented alongside special guests MGL Youth Chorus and singer Liam Pedersen.

The concert was framed with the epic Mars, the bringer of war at one end, and the intimate Pacem – a Hymn for Peace at the other.  Mars is a piece that evokes brutal­ity and futility from a terrifying ‘bird’s eye’ perspective, whilst Pacem offers expressions of love and hope in a more intimate arena. The program explored the tension between these distinct perspectives; between the epic and the intimate.

Some of the music performed was easily categorised by one per­spective or another. Hymn to Red October, Virginia and The Dam Busters evoked Russian, American and British nationalism respectively. In contrast, Schindler’s List and Angel are intensely personal reflections. Other works were harder to place because they inhabit both perspectives; Les Misérables is one example, Eric Bogle’s anti-war anthem And the Band Played Waltzing Matilda is another.

And the Band Played Waltzing Matilda, sung by guest Liam Pedersen and arranged by Mark Lyall, was easily one of the highlights of the night, along with the MGL Youth Chorus’ performance of Angel.