Dennis Bird, CEO of Abmusic Perth, Western Australia approached me to write an album for two Indigenous artists, Luke and Dan Riches who were born at One Arm Point in the Kimberley. These two brothers are such talented singers and songwriters and are already touring in their own band The Struggling Kings. I have had the pleasure of teaching them vocals for the album and also producing the entire album. I wrote nine of the original songs, the boys wrote a song each to complete the album. Musicians who played on the album are Rod Christian Bass, Keys, Guitars and Drum programs using Logic X, Mike Nelson (Keys), , Paul Millard (Saxes), Mark Underwood (Trumpet), George Janicki (Guitars), Dennis Bird (Percussion),Jenny Wrenn Nelson (Backup Vocals), Kelly Green (Backup Vocals) and Paul Reynolds (Backup Vocals.)
It is envisaged that we will be touring this album around Western Australia in 2019/2020.
Yvonne Antoine at work in Print Hall WA Newspaper House. circa 1936
Yvonne at age 98.Photo taken in 2016
This is a fascinating story about my parents, Ron and Yvonne Christian (nee Antoine) set during World War 2. They met in 1935 while both working at The West Australian Newspaper and the rest, as they say, is history.
I took mum (100years old March 2018) to see the Print Hall and she showed me exactly where the pay window was and can remember everything very well. I decided five years ago to write my next big musical based on their story, which from that point in 1935 is so interesting.
I have been interviewing my mother in short sessions for the past 7 years,from 2012-2017. She is still very alert and her memory is good at 99.5 years of age! The musical “MATES” is now completed after eight years work. 18 original songs are featured in this musical set during WWII, 1939-1945.
West Australian Newspapers Article 1942
Yvonne Antoine in the VAD Uniform 1941
Captain Ron Christian WX3093 M.C.and Bar 2/16 Battalion
Military Cross Citation
The story of my parents, Ron and Yvonne Christian (nee Antoine) is a fascinating account of events leading up to and pduring WW2.They first met in 1935 while both working at the West Australian Newspapers.
Mum was a pay clerk at the West Australian Newspaper office at 125 St Georges Terrace. Dad was lining up for his pay in Print Hall (which has recently been restored to its original condition).
I took mum (100 years old March 2018) to see the Print Hall and she showed me exactly where the pay window was and can remember everything very well. I decided five years ago to write my next big musical based on their story, which from that point in 1935 is so interesting.
My parents met in 1935 at The West Australian Newspaper, 125 St Georges Terrace Perth where they were both on staff.
They fell in love.
Mum joined the Voluntary Aid Detachment (Dalkeith) in about 1935/1937.
Dad proposed to Mum at the Embassy Ballroom in William Street Perth in 1939 just as WW2 was declared.This is a scene from the musical where the action is down at the Embassy Ballroom in William St Perth WA.
This is the song “Saturday Night.” The Embassy Ballroom is packed with people who are out for a good time trying to forget about the impending war ahead. Ron, Yvonne and Bret Langridge are there along with their friends enjoying the music and dancing. There are three girls out front of a big dance band and they are singing the song.
Dad’s best mate, Bret Langridge, was also keen on mum.
Dad and Bret joined the 2/16th Battalion when war broke out and went to train at Northam Army Barracks. They were subsequently sent to Syria in the Middle East in 1941.
In 1941 Mum was was one of those from her VAD detachment who volunteered for service in the Middle East. She was attached to the 7th AGH and travelled on the Queen Mary. She was later also attached to the 6th AGH.
Dad heard she was there and came down from the battlefields to the makeshift hospital where mum was stationed. They spent their “day off” together in Palestine. Bret Langridge was also there.
It was then they began planning a wedding, and Dad was keen to have it at the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem.
Dad’s Battalion was then brought home by Curtin to defend Australia. He went to Queensland where he trained with the 2/16 Batallion for New Guinea.
Mum stayed in the Middle East until February 1943 when her detachment returned to Perth. Dad returned briefly from New Guinea where he had been an integral part of the Kokoda Campaign as a Captain of the 7th Division 2/16 Battalion. He won his first Military Cross for bravery at Isurava/Abuwari when he helped plan the attack on Shaggy Ridge north of Kokoda and defeated a Japanese advancing party “with only the remnants of his platoon.”
“BRIGADE HILL on Kokoda” c. Rod Christian 2017.
This is the music that accompanies the scene in the musical.
Bret Langridge was killed at Kokoda – he and Dad had been close friends. They both became Captains and both contributed a lot to the successes of the campaign.
Bret had intimated to mum that if anything ever happened to Dad, he would look after Mum.
The irony is that Bret was killed in new Guinea and dad never got over it.
“WHY SO YOUNG” copyright Rod Christian 2016
This is a song featured in my new WW2 musical, “MATES!” based on my parents’ life experiences during WW2. The song is about a mother longing for her son to return from war. He has been called to duty on the Kokoda Track in New Guinea in the 2/16th Battalion. She is writing a letter to him asking the question “Why So Young”- my only son! He is sitting on his stretcher bed and replies to her letter. The duet captures a moment in the musical where we question whether he will make it home.
Bret is killed in action on Kokoda the very next day! The REQUIEM scene in the musical is where he is formally buried in Port Moresby New Guinea.
I have set “THE ODE” by Laurence Binyon to a SATB chorale.
This is from Scene 12 in Act 2. Vocalist Perry Joyce.
When the Kokoda Campaign had finished, he returned home briefly to Perth where he married mum at Star Of The Sea Church in Cottesloe on 26 February 1943. See AWM website reference here: AWM website.
This is the wedding song my father sings to my mother at the wedding ceremony. It is titled “Another Chapter, Another Page.” The artists on the recording are West Australian vocalists Louise Anton Miller and Perry Joyce.
She had brought Egyptian lace home from the Middle East, and her boss at WAN got last-minute permission from the Minister for the Army to be married out of uniform. This story was carried by the West Australian Newspaper and she had many offers from dressmakers to make her wedding dress in time for her wedding.
After the gruelling Kokoda Campaign, the Battalion was sent to Borneo to further stop the Japanese at Balikpapan, and Dad won his second Militay Cross for bravery.
Mum went back to work and transferred to the commercial staff as Secretary to the CO of Hollywood Hospital.
This is a very telling story about my parents’ early lives together. Recently the family came across some actual footage of the events at Kokoda on an ATN Channel 7 film made back in the 50s. Dad is actually interviewed on this programme which I have restored to DVD. It is a fascinating account from various people who served in the Middle East and in New Guinea. Please view this here. We Were Anzacs 1956.
Please also see photos taken by Yvonne Antoine in the Middle East on the AWM website.
In this composition, Prelude and Dedication to ULURU for orchestra and Choir, I have tried to encompass the early beginnings of ULURU through to the present day, the spectacular sunrises and sunsets, the bird and animal life there, the spiritual connections, the sometimes relentless harshness of the heat, the storms and remoteness of the area.
Above all, I have paid tribute to the beauty and the spirit of this sacred place where the Indigenous Anangu people traversed the song lines of their land and settled here some 20,000 years or more ago. The choral section relates this story and talks about the language, the legends and the meanings of the Anangu language.The orchestral prelude depicts the beginnings of time when Uluru was first formed, the sunrise, the bird life and the call of the spirits.
First conceived from early December 2014 as a choral work for SSA voices and piano.
In December 2016 I composed the prelude to the choral work for full orchestra and the choral section. I used Logic X and East West Symphonic Orchestra and featured is Louise Anton Miller on vocals.
My new agent for this composition is the AMC (Australian Music Centre.) Check out the availability of Uluru here:
ULURU for orchestra and Choir had it’s European premiere in Vevey Switzerland as part of MLC Perth’s Music Tour to the Montreaux Jazz Festival in July. This is the video link to the event held in St Martin’s Church on Wednesday 5 July before a packed audience. The MLC Senior Orchestra and Choir did a magnificent job performing this work with over 80 students taking part. Please enjoy:
ULURU for SSATB Chorus and Piano
On Sunday 28 July 2019 Dr Margaret Pride directed the Perth Symphonic Chorus performing a new re-worked version of Uluru. This was set for SSATB and Piano. This performance was a world premiere at Christ Church Claremont and was enthusiastically received by a full house.
The Mt Pleasant Primary School Choir with Director Ms Jenny Coleman and Composer Rod Christian
Year 4/5 Class Poseidon Primary School with Marie Paragelli and Rod Christian Composer.
Hello Primary and Secondary music teachers. This song is gaining momentum and popularity in WA schools and choirs. Recently 4 Primary schools, Leeming Primary School, Mt Pleasant Primary School, Creaney Primary School and Poseidon Primary School in Heathridge performed Western Australia at their assemblies. The reaction was amazing, so much so, I have decided to publish the work so that all schools and colleges and choirs can access the song. You can now purchase the song in single or two part harmony complete with piano score and full backing track. The package now available is. 1. A full backing track. 2. A complete piano/ guitar/vocal score. 3. A video of the song that can be projected on an AV screen while the song is performed.This appears below featuring extracts from the video. Total cost is on application, depending on your requirements. This also covers the copyright for reproducing multiple copies of the score. Please contact me here directly for more details: firstname.lastname@example.org
I will invoice your organisation and send the package to you on receipt of payment.
I have just completed a recording of the choir at Mt Pleasant Primary School singing “Western Australia” under the direction of Ms Jenny Coleman. View the video below:
Click here to view the first two pages of the score.
I am working on a piece called the Karri Valley/Margaret River Suite which I started way back in 1990. This was inspired by a number of visits to these places including wineries such as Voyage (see picture),and my impressions musically of certain landmarks (Karri Forest Pemberton WA).The second movement of six movements is scored for piano, strings and oboe. The genre is contemporary Jazz and the influences are from my rock/jazz days as a performer on guitar, bass, piano/keyboards and percussion. The medium I use for the sequenced backing is Logic Pro X as well as live performers, namely Roger Garrood, Paul Millard and Mike Collinson to name a few. Featured is the Second Movement titled “Tranquillo” which reflects the tranquility and beauty of the Karri Valley near Pemberton Western Australia.
[mp3j track=”KV.mp3″ title=”Click to play track here:”]
I compose music from a variety of genres including pop, r&b, rock, jazz, contemporary, dance, classical, film, documentaries and commercials. There are two main sites where you can log in and hear my music here:
Press play to hear my latest addition to Unearthed.
Search Reverbnation artist – Rod Christian. I publish songs under my own label Yendor Music and also through my Australian publisher Middle C Associates in Geelong, Victoria. Contact me direct through this website or on Facebook.
I am currently writing/producing/ recording/ maketing my songs and pitching them to major movie and advertising clients all over the world.
At present two of my songs, “Just In Time” and “Tranquillo”, an instrumental composition for oboe, piano and strings are being considered for an advertising campaign and a major motion picture in the US.”Just In Time” has just been selected by WOA records on thier No 1 hits CD Volume 4 which will be distributed to radio networks and played all over the world.
These compositions can be heard on my reverbnation website here. reverbnation website
Flashback Rock ‘n Roll Showband was formed in 1988 with fellow musician and friend Peter Waterman. Peter and Rod were already discussing writing a musical Cruisin’ at this stage of their respective teaching careers. This became a reality in 1995 with the first production at the Dolphin Theatre University of Western Australia. The band Flashback was very popular as a corporate band and provided backing for much of the development of Cruisin’ the Musical in the early stages. Regular appearances at the Parmelia Hotel Christmas shows and New Years Eve were highlights of the band’s success.Members of the band: Rod Christian Lead Guitar/Vocals, Peter Waterman Lead Vocals/Guitar, Trevor Cooksley (dec.) Piano/Keyboards/Vocals, Paul Millard Saxes/Flute, Norman Buchanan Drums/Vocals.
OH SUSANNAH, a traditional song composed by Stephen Foster in 1840 is a song that lends itself to choral part singing. I arranged this in a jazz style as I have a real interest in unusual chords and the jazz genre.
The setting is for five parts, Soprano 1 & 2 with splits; Alto 1 and Alto 2. There is also an SATB setting of the song. The two arrangements are available from my publisher here, Middle C associates in Geelong Victoria.
From the publisher: This stunning treatment of the 1848 Stephen Foster classic was crafted by one of Western Australia’s most talented composers and arrangers of choral music. Featuring tight jazz influenced chords and interesting harmonies, Christian achieves an uplifting, reflective, almost spiritual sound. The arrangement contains an optional piano part and is available for treble SSAA or mixed SATB choirs.
Click here to hear OH SUSANNA performed by the Iona Presentation College Chorale.
I record artists at my studio Hotel Sorrento and feature them on Reverbnation under the title Pure Magic. This is the playlist where you can listen to my compositions sung by various artists.
Click here: reverbnation website