by Rohan MacMahon, Feb 2003

It's great to be able to say that the Bees had a very successful 2002. At the beginning of the year it was with some trepidation that we began our first efforts without our founding director Tony Backhouse. After discussion, a new musical committee (including Fi Lamb, Jenny Jackson, Stephen Clarke and myself) was formed. And the choir agreed to embark on a demanding schedule of gigs and rehearsals, learning new material and at the same time searching for a new Musical Director.

During the year we debuted challenging new material which demonstrated the group's improving abilities. These included:

  • the traditional song "I Shall Wear A Crown", arranged by Tony Backhouse and Patrick Johnson and featuring a solo from Orlando Savage
  • "Sacred Heart", written by Melbourne singer/ songrwriter Peter Cupples, and dedicated to the outreach program of the Sacred Heart church in St Kilda. This beautiful song was arranged for us by Fi Lamb
  • James Cleveland's "Peace Be Still", also arranged by Fi Lamb, and featuring Stephen Clarke's solo

We were also to perform at some fabulous gigs. My own highlights were June's support for Melbourne's Brilliant Captains of Love, with Andrena Gorman's original songs blending soul, gospel and funk. And of course our own headline show at St John's Darlinghurst in October, supported by the Soul Sisters from Sydney's Tongan community.

Thanks greatly to those who ran workshops with us during the year - including Lisa Morgan, Eduado Santoni, Stuart Davis, Linda Calgaro and, visiting from the United States, Dr Patrick Johnson. These sessions also introduced us to Dynes Austin, who subsequently commenced with us as our Musical Director in February 2003.

2002 also marked our transition from Glebe to a new location in East Sydney. The church hall at St Paul's Lutheran now feels very much like home base, and we are looking forward to new challenges and achievements in 2003. Watch this space!