VIDEO: Tchaikovsky goes off with a bang at Fort Scratchley

THE big guns boomed, cymbals crashed, bells tolled, and even mother nature got into the act with some complementary lightning and rain for added apocalyptic ambience.

For the lucky thousand at Fort Scratchley for the sold-out  ‘‘Music of the Guns’’ on Saturday  it was a memorable night, even if the fort’s century-old guns couldn’t quite keep up with Tchaikovsky’s gruelling arrangement of 16 shots in two minutes.

The   two-hour program  culminated in the Russian composer’s stirring 1812 Overture with the fort’s mighty six-inch BL Mark VII guns playing a starring role.

The event was hosted by the Fort Scratchley Historical Society and featured the Australian Army Band Newcastle joining forces with  musicians from the Hunter Central Coast Regional Wind Ensemble and Newcastle Grammar School Brass RaZoo.

Those with a historical bent may note the irony of performing a tune celebrating a Russian victory being held in a fort that was originally built to deter the threat of Russian invasion, but as the smoke cleared no-one seemed to mind. 

The  gun crews  knew  they were aiming high to get their guns to keep pace,  so what they lacked in speed they more than made up for in enthusiasm as they continued to  fire volley after volley to an enthusiastic crowd well after the music finished.

Christ Church Cathedral also joined in the fun, with its bells tolling across the city during the explosive finale. 

 For those who missed out another concert is planned for March next year.  

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