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Get ready, music lovers, as the Darwin Symphony Orchestra (DSO) returns to the iconic George Brown Botanic Gardens with their huge Amphitheatre spectacular, Iconic.

By Tierney White

THIS LARGE-SCALE performance by Darwin’s beloved orchestra is always a hit with the masses, as tunes a lot of us know and love are given the classical treatment.

This year’s presentation of Iconic features the DSO, made up of volunteer musicians, and a front band of amazing local musicians. You could say it’s a bit of a flex on Territory talent, because boy, oh boy, do we have it in spades.

Pull up a patch of grass or pop on those dancing shoes for a boogie, as an electrifying anthology of incredible hits blast out into the palm trees. DSO Artistic Director and Chief Conductor Jon Tooby says the epic amphitheatre concert is always a hit, which saw audiences lining up all the way to Mindil Beach last year.

“I’m a little bit nervous this year, after last year, because we will almost certainly reach capacity. We’re putting in extra security … to manage the crowd, because last year we were a bit overwhelmed, it was huge, it will just help get people through a little more smoothly,” he says.

“I think it says a lot about the people of Darwin, actually. It’s such a unique community in that way. I see it in other concerts we do as well, the capita buy-in for culture and the arts generally speaking is huge, and of course this event has got kind of a momentum now that grows and grows, it’s really fun.

“We’ve taken great pride in the product that we create, and because we’ve got a band that’s local, directed by Michael Clark, they’ve really taken ownership of it. There’s so much care taken in how we curate it, and all the transitions, and I think that Darwin Symphony Orchestra has really claimed it as our event and that’s really tangible from the audience.”

Somehow, they’ve worked down a list of 100 songs to 20. From Elvis to Aretha, Tina Turner to Adele, AC/DC to Beyoncé, Iconic brings together the sounds of music legends by local music legends. Tooby says he’s particularly excited for a couple of them.

“We’re doing a song that I think is going to be amazing, for the orchestra, and that’s Toxic by Britney Spears. And my own personal favourite is Cashmere by Led Zeppelin … There’s a great version of their last performance at Royal Albert Hall, and I just thought, we can do that!”

In a DSO Amphitheatre show first, there’s a bunch of VIP tickets up for grabs, which includes priority access, designated seating, two drinks and light refreshments, plus access to a private bar. Swish.

But of course, no matter where you settle in the beautiful tropical space, on your own comfy picnic blankets and chairs, you’ll hear and feel the electric vibes of the orchestra emanating from the stage.

With food trucks and bars on hand to quench your thirst and fill your tums, it’s a sweet way to spend an eve in the Top End’s blissful Dry season. Iconic sounds about right.


Photo: Tim Nicol Photography

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