Steph Cooke

Cowra-Inspired ‘World Peace Suite’ To Premiere In Cowra On Sunday

Written by: The Cowra Phoenix

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IMAGE: The Cowra Vocal Ensemble prior to its winning performance at the recent Cowra Eisteddfod.

A musical suite inspired by Cowra’s history will be performed for the first time this Sunday, with the Sydney Youth Orchestra teaming up with Cowra’s own Cowra Vocal Ensemble to perform ‘World Peace Suite’ for free to the public.

WPS features three movements, a musical term for ‘sections’, and was composed by Australian composer Nicholas Gentile during a visit to Cowra in 2020.

Mr Gentile stayed in Cowra for 3 months during an artist residency, learning about Cowra’s colourful history during his stay, and composed WPS based on the events of the Cowra Breakout, the World Peace Bell, the Cowra Japanese Garden, Peace Precinct and Cowra’s ongoing commitment to international understanding.

WPS’ movements are titled ‘Once Foes, Now Friends’, ‘The Cherry Blossom’, and ‘Path Of Piece’- a chorale and the main movement and finale which will feature both the SYO, CVE, and even the ringing of the World Peace Bell, which has been scored into the music.

The first two movements will be per-formed solely by the SYO.

CVE Conductor Mary McKay, who has been preparing the choir for the event, said it was very exciting for Cowra.

“We’re very excited to be playing with the SYO. It’s a very rare and special opportunity,” she said.

“Cowra is the first stop of the SYO’s tour of Western NSW and it’s the first ever public performance of the WPS.”

The lyrics for the finale were written by local musician and author Lusi Austin, giving WPS even more of a local touch The CVE will feature 30 singers and will be conducted by Mrs McKay, while the SYO will have 70 musicians and will be conducted by James Pensini.

The free event will take place at Cowra Civic Square on Darling Street, the area in between the Cowra Civic Centre, Cowra Regional Art Gallery, Cowra Library and Cowra Shire Council offices, and run for 1.5 hours from 11am. In the event of increment weather the performance will move inside to the Civic Centre auditorium. Should this occur seating will be offered on a first in, first served basis.

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Steph Cooke