Sarah Mary Chadwick’s grand organ performance will have you awestruck

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Sarah Mary Chadwick’s grand organ performance will have you awestruck

Sarah Mary Chadwick
Words by Tammy Walters

Melbourne Music Week’s tenth iteration brings forth a jam-packed program of must-see performances, panels and presentations.

Last year saw Australian label, Rice Is Nice celebrate their tenth anniversary with a mega showcase of their roster, including performances from Spod, Summer Flake, Rebel Yell and Sarah Mary Chadwick.

The latter Rice Is Nice alumni, Sarah Mary Chadwick, will be returning to the event series to deliver a jaw-dropping organ-led performance at St Paul’s Cathedral.

“I did a commission on Melbourne Town Hall organ, it must have been maybe this time last year, and part of that commission was to write a record, or collection of work, to be performed on that organ,” Chadwick explains. “For Melbourne Music Week this year, I will be doing the same kind of performance but on the St Paul’s Cathedral organ.”

The record in spotlight is The Queen Who Stole The Sky, as written and recorded on the Town Hall’s 90-year-old Grand Organ, which was built in 1929 and refurbished in 2001, and currently stands as the largest grand romantic organ in the southern hemisphere.

A haunting and incredibly raw collection of 11 arrangements, including the epic title track and the heart-wrenching ‘Confetti’, The Queen Who Stole The Sky will echo to the heavens in such a setting.

“I’m really looking forward to it actually, because I don’t play those songs very often. I can, but they were written for a specific instrument, so it will be nice to have another turn on an organ. At this stage I will be playing the entirety of The Queen Who Stole The Sky record with no support; just one, kind of, 45 minute performance.”

No support will be necessary for the New Zealand native, now Melbourne claimed musician. While her performance will leave audiences reeling, no support is more Chadwick’s style. Although she has an incredible support network and bandmates to call upon for an album, Chadwick generally works on her own most of the time anyway.

“I always like no supports because I’m old and I get tired and my attention span is super short. I always like it if it’s the thing that I went to see, really,” she laughs.

While a lone soldier during writing and performing The Queen Who Stole The Sky, Chadwick has brought back her band for her upcoming records, which she confirms will be released very soon.

“I’ve been working on two pieces; a new record called Please Daddy and the first single for that will be out in a couple of weeks… the album will be here in January. There was a lot more arrangement than I’m used to, and I think it’s probably my favourite to date. Again, it’s quite different to what I’ve previously done, but it works.

She also has a second album in the works that won’t be out until the latter half of 2020. Two albums in less than a year seems like overkill for a musician, unless it’s King Gizzard & The Wizard Lizard of course, but this too is not unlike Chadwick.

She had back to back releases in 2018 with Sugar Still Melts In The Rain, Hit and Miss and This One’s For Me and is now just continuing the practice.

“I write quite quickly. I’m not a perfectionist, I don’t rewrite things. I’m more like, sit down for an hour and that’s a song done kind of thing. Even when I watch people live I would rather it be memorable and watch it fall apart than it be really slick. Anyone can be tight with practice. Any idiot can play something well. That’s the easy part, really!”

Don’t miss your chance to see Sarah Mary Chadwick performing The Queen Who Stole The Sky at St. Paul’s Cathedral this MMW. She performs on Tuesday November 19 – grab your tickets via the MMW website.