The past 10 days has seen the ACO’s unique surf film and live music experience, The Reef, given its US debut to four highly diverse and appreciative audiences on the east and west coasts. On this tour, the ACO was joined by Broome based singer/songwriter/guitarist Stephen Pigram, didgeridoo player Shelton Murray from Central Arnhem Land, as well as singer Craig Johnston, bass player Brian Ritchie and guitarist Jim Moginie.
Stephen Pigram and Shelton Murray performing with the Orchestra.
The tour started in LA where The Reef was presented by the Los Angeles Philharmonic in the iconic Frank Gehry designed Walt Disney Concert Hall. An audience of over 1,500 gave The Reef a rousing standing ovation and the Australian Consul General to Los Angeles, Chelsey Martin, hosted an exclusive and very buzzy post-concert reception for our musicians, guests of the ACO and the Australian Government.
The iconic Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles.
Next stop, New York. Going from 32 degrees to -3 degrees in one day was a shock to the system for all but the buzz of New York soon distracted everyone from the cold and hearty Ramen noodles at a fabulous little restaurant, cleverly sourced by the ACO’s Multimedia, Music Technology and Artistic Assistant, Joseph Nizeti, proved the perfect late dinner location on arrival from JFK. Over steaming bowls of ramen, plans were made for sightseeing (for some on the tour it was their first visit to NY), and visits to museums, galleries and jazz clubs, as well as shopping, in any spare time in NY.
This ramen noodles restaurant proved to be the perfect late dinner location arriving in NYC.
Our New York performance took place to a sold out house at the 92nd Street Y on the upper east side. An amazing space, this community centre has hidden within it a beautiful 900 seat concert hall, the Kaufmann Concert Hall. By 7pm on the night of the concert, the foyer was packed with excited audience members, eagerly anticipating the concert. This US tour of The Reef was particularly special as it was the first major event for ACO US, the ACO’s recently constituted charitable entity. Our ACO US Directors (including our Australian Director John Taberner) all personally supported the performance and also rallied a strong group of supporters. They were joined by many of our Reef Producers’ Syndicate members and their guests, many of whom had travelled over from Australia for the performance, Australian ACO Board Director and The Reef film Executive Producer Simon Yeo, guests of our NY performance sponsors Newscorp, Manikay Partners, Lexington Partners, UBS and guests of the Australian Government. Following the concert, our special guests attended a packed post-concert reception in the Weill Art Gallery at the 92nd Street Y, kindly hosted by Australian Consul General to New York, the Hon. Nick Minchin. The room was buzzing and everyone was on a high after such a stunning performance. Our Executive Producer of the ACO’s Producers’ Syndicate, Tony Grist, was heard to say that it was better than the Grammy Awards, which he and his wife Michelle had attended in LA earlier that week!
Richard Tognetti in rehearsals for The Reef.
After NY, the tour headed to Richmond Virginia, where again The Reef was hugely popular with the audience at The University of Virginia. After Virginia we said farewell to the majority of our touring party and a smaller group of 5 ACO musicians, along with Stephen Pigram and Shelton Murray travelled to LA for Tourism Western Australia for a special private performance of highlights from The Reef for hundreds of appreciative tourism industry representatives at the 2016 Australian Tourism Summit. There couldn’t have been a more perfect way to showcase the spectacular culture, heritage and environment that Australia has to offer. In a fitting conclusion to this instalment of our surf and music odyssey, Richard Tognetti and Senator the Hon. Richard Colbeck, Minister for Tourism and International Education, bonded over a love of King Island, where the ACO’s exploration of surfing, film and music – Musica Surfica - began in 2008.
Strategic Development Manager