The Hanrahan Theatre on the grounds of Villanova College at Coorparoo (Brisbane, Australia) was the venue of a ground-breaking concert on Friday, 19 May 2017. Entitled Augustine: The Way. Songs of Love, Loss and Liberation, the concert is the fruit of twenty-five years of creativity led by Tony MacPherson, who was a Villanova teacher for twenty-seven years (1984-2010).The concert featured seventeen vocal compositions by Tony MacPherson, which together portrayed Augustine’s life and loves in a way that captures his humanity and emotions. Various stagecraft techniques were used to engage the audience: song, music, lighting, movement, visual effects and voice-over. This combination led the audience to experience the life, the passion and the sheer potency of Augustine as sensed in the writings of his “Confessions” from which key excerpts were interspersed throughout the concert.
Three professional singers participated, mostly singing solo, but there were a number of duets and a finale sung by all three singers; their dramatic performance accompanied their singing. Augustine was portrayed by Simon Hyland, a former Villanova past pupil, Augustine’s mother Monica by Samantha Shaw, and Augustine’s un-named partner of about thirteen years was captured by Caroline Mulveena. Simon accompanied most of the singing by playing the piano.
The ninety-minute presentation was attended by over 250 people, predominantly from persons with Villanova College connections. From further afield there were three staff members from St Augustine’s College at Brookvale (Sydney) and the Principal, Deputy and Religious Education Co-ordinator from St Augustine’s College Springfield, a large Brisbane Archdiocesan P-12 school founded with an Augustinian ethos in 2003.
Plans are now underway for the concert to be presented interstate and overseas. In the meantime, each of the seventeen songs from the concert are available on I-Tunes. Simply type into Google the album’s title: Augustine: The Way. Songs of Love, Loss and Liberation, and follow the prompts on the I-Tunes page. A CD (including a booklet with all the lyrics) has been produced, and details about its purchase will be announced shortly.