Minifests

The main focus of AICSA is concentrated upon the annual, official Intervarsity Choral Festivals. There have been, however, a significant number of intervarsity choral events interposed between these annual festivals, especially when there was an interval of eighteen months between them. The merits (or otherwise) of these additional events has been discussed at length, but they have been musically substantial enough to warrant more than mere relegation to oblivion. Festivals that are smaller again than these, such as microfests and other celebratory gatherings with no official acknowledgement from AICSA, are covered here.

The earliest gathering so far unearthed that was could be accorded the name “minifest” took place in Hobart in 1960, and was attended by TUCS and MUCS. They also presented a concert in Devonport to a very small audience, as the locals had forgotten to advertise! Over the next five years, these two societies made a regular commitment to organising a mini-festival which was shared between them, and usually held in the August/September university break. The list below gives some brief but salient details of these early get-togethers.

1960 Hobart. August. Concerts were given in Devonport and Hobart. Approximately 20 MUCS and 16 TUCS took part.

1962 Hobart. September. Concert given in Hobart City Hall. The major work was Britten’s St Nicolas, conducted by Rex Hobcroft.

1963 Melbourne. Concert on 27 August, in St Paul’s Cathedral. Program was: Handel Zadok the Priest, madrigals and chansons, Bach Komm, Jesu, komm, Beethoven Mass in C. Soloists: Helen Marchant, Judy Paterson, Arthur Coates, Hugh Deakin. Conductor: Bryan Dowling. With the MUCS Orchestra.

1964 Hobart. Concert on 1 September, in the Hobart City Hall. TUCS, MUCS, MonUCS and “Australian University Choral Societies” were represented. Verdi Requiem. Soloists: Bettine McCaughan, Florence Taylor, George Hegan, Bryan Dowling. Conductor: Rex Hobcroft. TSO Provident Fund Concert. This is believed to be the first time in Australia that an ABC orchestra was used for a non-ABC sponsored event.

There is no information in the archives to suggest any reasons for the cessation of these minifests around 1965. Perhaps they were just too difficult to organise, or the driving forces had left the movement. In February 1969, the Secretary of MUCS, Elspeth Macracken, sent a long letter to the Presidents of MonUCS, TUCS and LaTUCS outlining plans for a Melbourne Minifest in September 1969, and inviting their cooperation. Although Di Atherton of TUCS sent a letter in reply, it never arrived, and no response was received from the other societies. Macracken wrote to them all in a tersely worded letter which suggests that there had been a lapse of some years in the organisation of minifests:

Due to the overwhelming (lack of) response to the reviving of Mini Festival, the MUCS Committee has decided to abolish its plans for the holding of Mini Festival 1969.

At the same time, MUCS got into difficulties with its first term concert and had to postpone it, leading Macracken to admit that “it turns out that it would have been nigh impossible to arrange Mini Festival anyway”. In 1972, the idea was expanded to include many more choristers from other societies around Australia, with the publicity announcing the “First Inter-Varsity Minifest”.

Minifests are usually small in scope that the full IV festival. They last closer to 10 days rather than 16 and usually present only one major concert.

Intervarsity Minifests

MF#

Year

Location

Dates

Major Combined Work

01

MF1972

Melbourne

18-25 August

Haydn Nelson Mass

02

MF1973

Melbourne

17-24 August

Bach Christ lag in Todesbanden; Vivaldi Gloria; Handel Solomon (excerpts)

03

MF1975

Canberra

10-18 May

Kodaly Missa Brevis

04

MF1976

Adelaide

22-28 August

Haydn Missa Brevis in F; Allegri Miserere; Bach Coffee Cantata; A. Scarlatti St Cecilia Mass

05

MF1978

Sydney

26 August-3 September

Poulenc Gloria; Anne Boyd Death of Captain Cook (premiere); Tippett A Child of Our Time

06

MF1980

Melbourne

23-31 August

Orff Catulli Carmina; Gounod St Cecilia Mass

07

MF1983

Hobart

16-23 January

Duruflé Requiem; Handel Solomon (part); Lambert The Rio Grande

08

MF1984

Canberra

25 August-2 September

Berlioz Te Deum

09

MF1985

Sydney

23 August-1 September

Mendelssohn Elijah

10

MF1989

Melbourne

20-29 January

Tallis Spem in Alium; Orff Carmina Burana

11

MF1990

Adelaide

21-30 September

Mozart Mass in C minor

12

MF1992

Sydney

3-12 July

Borodin Polovtsian Dances
Brahms Ein Deutsches Requiem

13

MF1994

Melbourne

1-10 July

Bruckner Mass in E minor

AICSApedia: Minifests (last edited 2010-11-07 04:02:05 by PeterCampbell)