here comes the choir


Some time ago the Devonport Regional Gallery made me feel incredibly validated and special by purchasing a few of the video works that made up my MFA submission.  A couple of those works have had a considerable life since, but The Last Farewell (2005) has not, until now, been seen out in public since the submission.

I’ve been so distracted by some other things that I can’t believe I neglected to post that this show was going on.

Devonport Regional Gallery
Friday 1 May – Sunday 28 June 2009
Curator: Ellie Ray
Artists: Ricky Maynard, Amanda Davies, Troy Ruffels, Denise Ava Robinson, Sally Rees alongside other pieces from the Devonport City Council Permanent Collection

The Last Farewell features a volunteer choir of folks from the Hobart art community who turned up to sing a Roger Whittaker song with me on a cold Hobart winter night for naught in exchange but a BBQd sausage and a beer (we were sponsored by J. Boag and Son.  Go Boags.).

The blurb on my old website (new website still coming.. sorry… sorry…) used to say:

A cheerful, boozy choir serenades the viewer with Roger Whittakers’ The Last Farewell from the centre of a football oval.

The camera focus slips in time with the groups collective dissipation but sharpens again as they confidently pull together for the stirring chorus:

“…for you are beautiful
and I have loved you dearly
more dearly than the spoken word can tell.”

When I made it I remember wanting it to feel like the choir is singing to you as you view it.  A warm and fuzzy.

I take every opportunity to name the choir because they were just so generous to freeze their arses off for me,  so here I identify them in alphabetical order:

Julian Barraclough, Joseph Barrows, Lucy Bleach, Jane Busby, Brian Coates, Monica Coates, Jack Daniels, Amanda Davies, Susie Findlay, Joybelle Frasson, Neil Haddon, Andrew Harper, Bill Hart, Derek Hart, Morgan Hart, Maria Kunda, Colin Langridge, Fiona Lee, John Lendis, Celia Lendis, Dale Lewis, Verena Oeltjen, Rod Payne, Suan Payne, Daniel Petrov, Emidio Puglielli, Lucienne Rickard , Caz Rodwell, Neil Rowe, Richard Skinner, Mary Scott, Tristan Stowards, Bec Tudor, Lucia Usmiani, Chris Usmiani, Annabel Watkins, Billie Watkins, June Watkins, Philip Watkins, Dean Vaughn Williams and Alan Young.

Dear choir – if you found this blog post by ego-surfing and Googling your own name,  hey,  someone wanted you for their collection. I am still very grateful and thrilled that you were happy to entertain an odd idea with me for one evening.  It’s great to remember how many people really love art and want to try to help you make it.


3 thoughts on “here comes the choir

  1. Hi Sally

    Somehow or other I found your blog and I’m just writing to say that we have the same name !! I live in the beautiful town of Nelson, New Zealand which is at the top of the south island. I have been living in Aus in Brisbane and Gold Coast for 4.5 years but returned here permanently only 3 weeks ago. The Rees side of our family come from St Fagans near Cardiff in the lovely land of Wales. Do you know any history about your family? I went to Art School in Wellington for a year several years ago and really enjoyed it although I am not currently or probably never will be anything like an artist. Lets keep in touch !

  2. Hi Sally Rees and Welcome to my blog!

    Wow! And you have an art history too! Spooky.

    No I don’t have much of a clue about our family pre-Oz. I know quite a bit about our history on the West and East coasts of Tasmania but that’s about it.

    I was recently contacted by a Scottish guy on Facebook whose daughter is Sally Rees too!

    I was in Wales a few years ago but a day trip to Portofino was about the limit and then it was time to fly on again. But I’d love to go back.

    I’d love to come to NZ one day too 🙂

    Yes do keep in touch – I’m always here!

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