With the countdown underway towards the premiere of my cabaret show, Hear My Voice, at Nexus Arts during the 2023 Adelaide Fringe, the first of my garden concerts was held on the weekend to Ed and me into stage performance again, after the long years of Covid.
Sunday was a very warm December day, and we were thrilled to welcome 45 wonderful music fans to my little French garden, Le Jardin du Jazz et du Blues, in Prospect. It was our premiere garden concert. And from all reports, what a success it was!
This concert has been a long time coming, so let’s reflect on its origins and then take a glimpse at what’s in store as the Adelaide Fringe approaches.
It was love at first site with my gorgeous French garden
When I first walked into My gorgeous French style Parterre garden over 12 months ago, I immediately knew I had to purchase the house as my creative vision was crystal clear.
The garden felt inviting, beautiful, and serene, the birds were chirping and a gorgeous butterfly flew past me. I instantly felt relaxed and all I wanted was to invite people into my space to share that feeling and enhance it with music, good people and good wine.
I heard the sound of the water from the fountain, the sun on my back and the wind in my hair and knew what I needed to do.
Three offers later (and some serious negotiation in the middle of a cabaret workshop, ironically), I purchased my gorgeous heritage cottage in Prospect built in the 1880’s with an established garden of 20 years, and from that moment on I knew I had to create something special.
I decided I wanted to create a series of regular concerts for at least 6 months of the year or longer in my garden and in an alternative venue if needed over the colder months that would build a community of music lovers and friends.
I wanted to create something that would give both Ed and me a chance to have complete creative freedom and to have the satisfaction of creating something in our own way with absolutely no venue constraints or expectations and to connect with an audience intimately and gradually keep building in new repertoire that everyone enjoyed.
My vision was to create an experience for a discerning audience that wanted quality music, an intimate concert experience, an opportunity to connect with friends in an environment that was as different as it could be from traditional venues and pubs and who also shared a love for jazz, blues, cabaret, connection, gardens, good wine and champagne.
Supporting the people who support artists
There was also another motivation behind Sunday’s event.
I wanted to ensure that my first invitation-only concert was a lower cost premiere for people who had supported me in all sorts of ways over my creative development as a way of saying thank you as I would not be here doing this without you. And so I invited those of you who have been key fans who have come to see me regularly at venues in the past as well as family, friends and my fellow creatives.
So Sunday was special to me for so many reasons and I know, from all reports, I was not alone in that experience.
In fact, I had already imagined exactly what ended up happening on Sunday. There were people standing around the gorgeous lily and fish pond drinking Champagne and wine, mingling, laughing and chatting with an anticipated buzz in the air as the concert was due to commence. I loved seeing my dream come to reality – every minute spent on making it happen, even during illness was worth it for the joy it created for us and for all of you. With the help of Steve and Brett on the bar and Steve’s wonderful MC role, what a mood was created!
Confidently striding on the path towards Hear My Voice at the Adelaide Fringe
After over 3 years not performing due to the impact of COVID, it felt amazing to be singing again and to be able to have the opportunity to try out some of my cabaret skills. It was also good to see how it landed. Both of us had a fabulous time performing for you. I truly felt that the part of me that had been missing for 3 years was back. I was finally “home” and I was on home soil doing it – what could be better than that?
We did all we could to give you two, varied sets that allowed for a contrast of songs and emotions, from upbeat tunes from Ray Charles, Hallelujah, I love him so, to ballads such as Cry Me A River from Julie London to cheeky tunes like Frim Fram Sauce and Blossoms Blues and one of the ultimate favourites of the day, Randy Newman’s ironical tune, I think it’s going to rain today.
Finally, how could we forget the Christmas additions of Little Drummer Boy and This Little Light Of Mine where we got you to all join in!! What a wonderful tuneful group you were creating harmonies like there was no tomorrow and joining in with absolute commitment and emotion.
What did the people say?
At the end of the concert, I challenged the audience to share how they’d describe my voice. It was an eye opener. These insights were amazing.
So what did people think of my voice and the experience of the concert?
Here are some of the quotes:
“Smooth, sensual and inviting”
“Your voice is like Red velvet on a chaise lounge – classy, rich and deep”
“So much light and shade, colour in your voice and great expression”
“I loved the choice of songs – such variety and emotional expression”
“A delightful afternoon. Loved your stories between the songs. The contrast of your deep soulful songs with a cheekier, sexier mood was fabulous”
“Your voice is like a thai warm salad – crisp and clear like the flavours, lots of variety in how you use your voice like the blend of flavours and ingredients in a salad and so warm”
“A Sunday spectacular …. For many decades I have attended the Grand Opera Halls and Concert Theatres in Europe, America and Australia and have heard magnificent sounds from world class artists…… I have enjoyed this privilege immensely but I don’t think I have really enjoyed myself as much as I did at your performance on Sunday”
“The intimacy, the sensitivity, the colour, your wonderful choice of songs, it was truly a magnificent afternoon”
“Your garden is beautiful – such a perfect place for this concert”
“Ed is such a wonderful accompanist – he watches and listens, complements, never gets in the way and allows you space to shine and then he steps up when you hand over to him to do the same.
Thank you so much for such wonderful feedback. Every bit of effort that went into it was completely worth it.
Will you come to Hear My Voice in 2023?
Two bits of exciting news have arisen, if you’d like to “hear my voice” in the New Year.
Firstly, given the resounding success of the first garden concert, a second one has been booked for Sunday, January 15. Invitations will be sent out soon.
At the January concert, we’ll give you a taste of Hear My Voice, without spoiling it, so that your Fringe tickets will be valuable and unique. We may take some video footage for a show reel and include some new songs in advance of the show.
So if you loved what we did on Sunday with the storytelling component, then welcome to the world of cabaret (that show will be fully crafted). If you have not experienced that kind of show before – perhaps think about some tickets for friends as great Christmas presents.
Of course, people have many choices for entertainment so we will rely on you to help make our artistic expression viable and available to those who love jazz, soul, and blues.
We’d be most grateful if you’d help us spread the word and subscribe to our special mailing list via my website at alexandrafrost.com. There’ll be treats and insights in store for subscribers!
And if you prefer Facebook, we have the Alexandra Frost Performance Page, where we’ll post more updates and event invitations.
There will also be some videos added to my new Youtube channel, where you can subscribe and have a listen.
Book early for our next garden gig and/or our three Fringe shows. I think our seating limit is about 45, so it will be first in, best entertained!
Finally we wish you a Merry Christmas and a safe, relaxing holiday and new Year.
See you in January.
Again, thank you sincerely for supporting us with our entry back to live music after all this time.
Alex and Ed