1940s Dance, Albert Hall, Canberra Centenary


Here are some pictures for you of the Canberra Centenary 1940s Dance which I had the great pleasure of emceeing in the Albert Hall, Canberra, Saturday 25 May 2013.

Canberra is the capital of Australia. It was planned and designed by Walter Burley Griffin. Canberra was officially named in 1913, hence the centenary this year.

Firstly, I was very honoured to meet and introduce the Canberra 100 Creative Director, the much celebrated and super talented Robyn Archer

Greg Poppleton getting ready to introduce Canberra 100 Creative Director, Robyn Archer
Greg Poppleton getting ready to introduce Canberra 100 Creative Director, Robyn Archer

The dance was held in Canberra’s oldest venue, the Albert Hall, built in 1927…

Albert Hall, Canberra, lit up for the 1940s dance
Albert Hall, Canberra, lit up for the 1940s dance

The Albert Hall features a Compton Theatre Pipe Organ, lovingly restored by the Theatre Organ Society Of Australia. Stuart Warner opened the night with a program of 1940s tunes…

Stuart Warner plays the Compton Theatre Organ in the Albert Hall, Canberra
Stuart Warner plays the Compton Theatre Organ in the Albert Hall, Canberra

The music was swing vs rockabilly with three bands and dance demonstrations by the Canberra and Sydney SwingKatz

Sydney SwingKatz at the 1940s Dance
Sydney SwingKatz at the 1940s Dance

To MC the night, I wrote a hip script modeled on the 1940s AFRS ‘Jubilee’ radio shows.

This, with 40s suit and intonation (without resorting to an out-of-context American accent) created a genuine 1940s feel to the evening, which was my brief.

The original Jubilee shows each featured a big band, small group, and a comedian. This variety template fit hand-in-glove with the night’s swinging 40s theme and jam-packed three band plus four floorshows format…

Greg Poppleton, 1940s Canberra 100 Dance MC
Greg Poppleton, 1940s Canberra 100 Dance MC
Introducing Spectrum Big Band
Introducing Spectrum Big Band

The Spectrum Big Band pianist dressed up as the Tin Man from the Wizard of Oz

The Spectrum Big Band pianist dressed up as the Tin Man from the Wizard of Oz
The Spectrum Big Band pianist dressed up as the Tin Man from the Wizard of Oz

Luke Wensing, one of the night’s organisers wrote…

“I first learned about Greg at the second in a series of 12 social dance events to celebrate the Centenary of Canberra. It was a Roaring 20s night and he was the singer and commentator for the Lounge Bar Lotharios.

The night was remarkably successful and it was a sellout 5 days (250 tickets) before the event. This was before the patrons had even seen or heard of the “Lotharios”. Many in the crowd commented to me specifically about how much they enjoyed the Lotharios and Greg’s contribution.

When planning the upcoming 1940s night. (Bobby Soxers V Rockabilly Big Band Bash, May 25, 2013) the organisers. Canberra City Band, were thinking about an MC. I did not hesitate to suggest Greg. as l had read his CV and personally saw him in action. The President was very pleased with Greg because it soon become clear that the band leaders and dance demonstrators would be working with someone who really knows about music and dance and entertainment and who would enhance the presentation.

On the night it soon became evident that Greg had done his homework. He arrived early to familiarise himself with the venue. He knew all the personnel involved by name. He had created humorous and informative patter about the music and dances without becoming boring or loud. His presentation was classically in the period. People stopped to listen when he took the microphone. His careful presentation lay in drafts of script where those involved could correct or contribute. Nothing was missed out!

I am sure that my suggestion to Canberra City Band to engage Greg has been one of my better decisions in planning this year-long high profile Centenary of Canberra commissioned dance programme. l look forward to working with Greg again in the not too distant future.”

Luke Wensing
SoCanbance Consortium
Presenting the Kick Up Your Heels Dance Programme
For Centenary of Canberra

Introducing the Canberra SwingKatz
Introducing the Canberra SwingKatz

To MC your event, I am represented by Sally White at Encompass Management

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