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'Collaborating with a symphony orchestra has been a lifelong dream for Dave Faulkner, lead singer of the Hoodoo Gurus, one of Australia’s best-loved rock bands. Next year, that dream will come true, when the band joins the Canberra Symphony Orchestra for Symphony in the Park in March.
'“We’re really thrilled to be doing Symphony in the Park,” Dave Faulkner, Hoodoo Gurus founder and songwriter, said. “It’s going to be extraordinary. The last time we performed in Canberra was 2017, and we can’t wait to get back there.”
'Already, Mr Faulker and prolific composer Alex Turley have created an arrangement of 1983 hit My Girl for the CSO string quartet, which was performed on Thursday.
'“It’s a great honour to be asked to be involved in a project like this,” Mr Turley said. “The music of the Hoodoo Gurus has soundtracked a lot of people’s lives. Among the songs Dave and I have chosen are some hits and some lesser-known tracks, some funny songs and some serious songs and some romantic songs. It really is kind of an emotional journey.
'“For me as the orchestrator, I’m tasked with finding ways of expanding the musical world outside the four musicians of the Hoodoo Gurus, who will now have a 40-odd piece orchestra behind them. It’s about building the music into this cinematic, epic soundscape – allowing the two genres, rock plus the orchestral side, to fuse together and create something really new and exciting.”
'Symphony in the Park is one of the highlights of the Enlighten Festival, and Tara Cheyne, ACT Assistant Minister for Economic Development, said she was proud Canberra would deliver the world-first collaboration.
'“The Hoodoo Gurus were ground-breakers when they first began playing live shows in Aussie pubs and clubs in the early 80s,” Ms Cheyne said. “Forty years later, they’re still trailblazers, and this is demonstrated by the band’s enthusiasm about collaborating with one of the most progressive orchestras in Australia.
'“We’re excited that Canberrans will be the first to experience this latest incarnation of the Hoodoo Gurus at Symphony in the Park, and encourage everyone to come along and enjoy the experience.
'“Symphony in the Park is always a highlight of the Enlighten Festival, and it’s sure to be spectacular with the Hoodoo Gurus taking to the stage alongside our amazing orchestra.”
'“Symphony in the Park is a chance for Canberrans to experience classical music in a fun and engaging way,” the CSO’s CEO, Rachel Thomas, said. “Over the years, the CSO has treated audiences to orchestral versions of Abba hits, songs from the film Babe, and music from electronic duo Electric Fields. Being able to work with a band as beloved as the Hoodoo Gurus to set their songs to classical music is something we’re incredibly excited about.”
'The Enlighten Festival entertains visitors and locals, and financially benefits the Canberra community, boosting the tourism sector and local businesses, Ms Cheyne said. A record 391,826 people attended this year’s festival, which generated more than $19.9 million of expenditure in the ACT.
'The Enlighten Festival will welcome visitors from 1 to 11 March 2024; Symphony in the Park will be held on Sunday 10 March – “Always a fun family evening of musical entertainment,” Ms Cheyne said. To find out more about Symphony in the Park at Enlighten Festival 2024, visit enlightencanberra.com.
'“More details about what is planned for 2024 will be available through updates on the Enlighten website in the lead up to the festival,” Ms Cheyne said. “Remember to ‘save the date’ for this special night of musical entertainment.”'