ERA’s Got Talent

1 April 2016

Last month a group from the Darwin office dusted off their shirts and frocks to watch our very own Senior Resource Geologist Stephen Pevely conduct the opening Master Series concert of the 65 member Darwin Symphony Orchestra (DSO).

Stephen says the orchestra rehearsed tirelessly in the weeks leading up to the event. The effort certainly paid off and was a fabulous performance enjoyed by over 1000 audience members.

“To be in control of that sound is a real privilege. I cannot really put it into words!” Stephen said.

“If you rehearse the orchestra well there is less likelihood of the players (or me) being overly nervous before a performance. A few nerves are good of course, as it sharpens the concentration. This tends to make the orchestra sound much tighter and more vibrant on the night,” Stephen said.

This was the fifth time Stephen made an appearance on the podium as guest/resident conductor. He says people often wonder what the conductor actually does.

“The basics of the job are to ensure everyone starts and ends together and play faster, slower or louder or softer together. This is all done with hand gestures (the actual conducting) and verbal requests during rehearsals.”

“Artistically, the job of the conductor is to respect and realise the work of the composer using the music score in front of you and to bring the players with you on that journey,” he said.

Stephen has in fact been a member of DSO since 1989 and has performed in almost every major DSO indoor and outdoor concert as principal clarinet.

“When I joined it was a very social, amateur gathering. In those early days we did some amazing regional outdoor concerts at Katherine Gorge, Nourlangie Rock, Standley Chasm and Glen Helen Homestead near Alice Springs to name just a few,” he said”.

Rumour has it there was even a proposal to have the orchestra play in the bottom of the Ranger Pit 1 just before it closed in 1996.

“I think the health and safety team thankfully got the better of that one! But we did manage a concert on the Jabiru lake shore back in 1995 as part of a “Mines tour” which included concerts in Nhulunbuy and Groote Eylandt,” he said.


The last DSO show was a free Opera Gala outside concert at the Darwin Waterfront on Saturday 21 May.