Coming up on March 18 is a showcase of a unique instrument, the euphonium, played by MacKenzie Bird with piano by Alison Patterson throughout the night and food provided by a local chef. This is a concert promoting local talent, including a local business and using a local venue which organisers say is a real positive for what Cootamundra has to offer.

The local talent is MacKenzie Bird, returned to farming from his horticultural studies, playing at an advanced level on the euphonium. The local business is Planted, Cootamundra, where Richard de Belin is the executive chef and owner, providing the evening meal, including canapés, main course and dessert. Part of his mission is to connect with the community and provide healthier food choices. What better place to hold something like this than at The Arts Centre, Cootamundra, an excellent acoustic space for music.

MacKenzie has captured the style of a wide range of music. With the euphonium he can cover the melodic lines of a piano, trombone, voice, violin and Latin American style “Jazz” in this program. MacKenzie has played at the Wagga Wagga 100th Music Eisteddfod in September 2022, of the three Open sections that he entered he won two and received a Highly Commended Award. He has won the Peter Hedley Memorial Trophy IP for the Open Instrumental (any instrument) Solo in Jazz/Pop/Funk Style. These 3 pieces will be included in the concert.

The performance will include exhilarating modern American composers who have written specifically for the euphonium, as well as music from the Baroque Period with Bach and Handel, to Classical to Australian Jazz. It is $50 per person and the ticket includes a free glass of bubbles upon arrival. Alison Patterson wants this niche instrument to be heard by Cootamundra. “It is still a relatively new instrument.

There are so many piano composers or strings or violin composers, but not many euphonium players have written for the instrument,” she said. “Because there is a relative scarcity for music written for the euphonium, most of the music played on it was transcribed from other instruments. MacKenzie is playing beautiful melodies originally written for the violin or piano. “There’s also a Latin American piece written by an Australian composer, it’s a bossa nova, if people aren’t familiar with it then it is an overarching title for Latin American jazz. “It has been transcribed to euphonium and it works really well. It was the piece he won awards in Wagga for. “It’s a brass instrument, same shape as a tuba but it has less coiled brass tubing.” The sounds tend to be more mellow but less brassy from the euphonium. “You have that beautiful mellow sound; it’s often referred to as the cello of the brass instruments.

“The one that McKenzie is playing descended from the British style that was developed in 1874 so it is quite a new instrument and along with the saxophone, it’s not a standard instrument in an orchestra. “It’s always difficult to get an audience for one person on an instrument that is not well known and that’s why we’ve teamed up with Richard from Planted, Cootamundra to provide a meal for us during the evening. It’s a real evening out if you like entertainment and beautiful food.” Bookings for catering, with any dietary requirements, by Tues March 14, is important. Either at TACC booking office, Tues, Wed, Thurs 1-4pm or via TACC website.


Jack Murray