A performance with a difference

Bach in the dark: Cellist Rachel Scott, along with percussionist Ben Sibson, will perform at the Manning Regional Art Gallery this Saturday.

Bach in the dark: Cellist Rachel Scott, along with percussionist Ben Sibson, will perform at the Manning Regional Art Gallery this Saturday.

This Saturday, September 15, there will be a performance with a difference at the Manning Regional Art Gallery.

Cellist Rachel Scott, accompanied by percussionist Ben Sibson, will present Bach in the Dark.

Dusty Walkom invites you to join the Friends of the Gallery (FOGS) who for $25 will provide you with a glass of champagne and light refreshments whilst you sit in the dark and experience the music of Bach washing over you through cello and percussion performed by the two world renowned musicians from Sydney.

Tickets are available from at Bass’n’Blues, Manning Regional Art Gallery and Margaret’s Underfashions. Those attending are asked to arrive at 6pm for a 6.30pm start.

Creator Rachel Scott explained how it all began.

“In July 2008, I went to visit a school in western NSW as part of a music program I run for the Australian Children’s Music Foundation.

“On one very chilly morning I went into the year four class and asked the twenty-two children there if they had ever seen a cello before. There was silence.

“These ten year old kids could drive and shoot and were good little farm workers – but no-one had seen or heard a cello before.

“I had brought mine with me (I travel with a purple sparkly cello that Sydney kids have christened “Rocky”), so I got the children to lie on the floor of the demountable classroom (to feel the cello’s vibrations), and began to play. Like most cellists, I love Bach – so I started to play a prelude from the first cello suite. And there was silence. When I stopped, a little freckle-faced boy sighed and said, ‘That was the most beautiful thing I’ve ever heard’.

“I kept playing – and those children lay there and just listened for six more movements. Both their teacher and I were transfixed by their reaction – it is one of those moments I will remember until the day I die.

“It got me thinking. How many times have I played these suites, but not really listened to them? How many times have I played them in a concert, but people haven’t really stopped to be in the moment? And how could I create a concert where people could stop – and just listen?

“In 2009, I began the series at St James Church – Sydney’s oldest church. An intimate audience would join me in the crypt (which, up to that date had never been used for concerts), and sit with a glass of wine, in the dark – so that nothing would distract them and both performer and listener would travel together for an hour. And I played Bach – to thank the children who showed me how to listen again.”

Rachel is a renowned cellist and music educator, known for her unconventionality. For more information ring Maurie Stack on 0427 668 821 or Dusty Walkom on 6551 2674.