Hamilton ready to make magic with CSO

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Vocal soloists Jacqui Hamilton (pictured) and Rod Gilbert will accompany the Canberra Symphony Orchestra for this year’s Canberra Weekly Matinee Magic concert on Saturday 20 October 2pm at Llewellyn Hall, ANU. Photo supplied.

It’s that show in the CSO’s calendar that every year evokes the beauty and majesty of the golden era of swing and big band.

This year’s Canberra Weekly CSO Matinee Magic is no different, as vocal soloists Jacqui Hamilton and Rod Gilbert taking centre stage for Divas & Crooners.

Hamilton told Canberra Weekly she conceived the show as a duet, and called on Gilbert, a good friend of hers, because she knew he has chops performing with big bands.

“He’s such a dynamic performer and a good mate, so I thought ‘Oh, we could do it together in the vain of Ella and Louis’, so we’ll perform some of the iconic duet standards and some solos too.”

She said the repertoire for Divas & Crooners will consist of well-known pieces with a contemporary twist.

“I’ve looked at iconic versions of songs I’ve loved and have mixed them ever so slightly so they’re a little bit mine so it’s got a familiarity and a newness about it.”

Being based in Melbourne, the singers will take the stage with minimal time spent rehearsing with the CSO, but Hamilton feels their individual preparations will put them in good stead.

Musicians Michael Bailey and Julie Watson have both been playing with the CSO for the past 12-15 years since studying at the ANU School of Music. Photo: Eva Schroeder.

“I’ve been playing all the songs we’ll be doing with a small group down here in Victoria at a couple of jazz clubs,” she said.

Hamilton said she’s never had any higher aspiration than to get on stage with a big band and string orchestra.

“My first love is jazz music, and I absolutely adore all of the orchestral big band arrangements,” she said.

As someone with a lot of family in either the military or politics, Hamilton has a lot of family in the ACT region, but has mostly found herself visiting Canberra for her music.

“You all care so much about your food and wine and coffee … I’ve always had a great time up there, so my connection has always been a really enjoyable one; it’s a great town,” she said.

The Canberra Weekly CSO Matinee Magic, Divas & Crooners will take place at Llewellyn Hall, ANU on Saturday 20 October 2pm.

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