The evening was kicked into life by synchronous singing sisters, The Fry Babies. A Bernard Fanning song with beautiful counter melodies was followed by a delicate version of Jim Webb's Love Hurts. They went more uptempo with a choreographed Fernando by Abba to which the audience sang along and finished with The River by Laura Marling.
Dennis Squires explored three genres he's been drawn to. The first was country music, with John Prine's Souvenirs. Then followed folk music illustrated by John Martin's May You Never. Blues. Dennis concluded with a version of 1946's The Drifting Blues. Fine fingerpicking and singing!
Then came the surprise of the evening. Armonnia were four siblings on holiday who had put together over the last week three a cappella songs. They were sensational! The harmonies were exquisite and the timing and showmanship spot on. The audience wowed to their versions of Cold Play's RuleThe World, Royals by Lorde and a Bruno Mars tune.
Telegraph Tower, solo guitar and vocalist performs originals with unusual melodies, thoughtful lyrics, atmospheric finger picked guitar and Tim Buckleyesque vocals. His three numbers were a treat once more. Two had been a response to reading Patrick White's The Vivisector.
The World Music Ensemble took us to the break with songs from Russia, South America, Israel, and other places, performed on an interesting variety of instruments: guitar, bass guitar, violin, cello, mandolin and clarinet. One of the special things about TUF is the incredible variety of performances. We enjoyed the trip.
Vocalist Shelly Hughes accompanied on keys by Dan Brown took us through different aspects of our own voices. She got us trying out our 'sob' quality by asking us to sing as if we were yawning. She then illustrated this quality with Save Your Love For Me. The next vocal quality to explore was 'twang', best illustrated by a duck's quack. Ain't Nobody Loves Me Better was used to show how this quaility can be used in a song. Shelly finished with a song about herself. Professional singer and singing tutor shone through in rich interpretations of each song. Dan's understated playing complemented her performance perfectly. The audience were privileged.
Rod Sims took us through the golden years of West Coast American country rock with Neil Young's Heart of Gold, a Steven Stills tune, Sandman by America, and followed by a slow fingerpicked version of Men At Work's Down Under. Great fretboard work and harmonica added to Rod's delicate vocal stylings.
Howie Hughes is hilariously entertaining, whether it be singing the folk tune Grandma's Lye Soap or a parody of Bottle o Wine about Barry O'Farrell or an original about climate change. The audience demanded an encore. Howie invited daughter Shelly up to duo with him. Wonderful.
Liora Claff is an artist who always performs with heart. She began with a passionate song about Refugees. "When I design a bracket it takes on a life of its own," she told us. Then talked of singing Tom Lehrer songs in the car with her children. That's how Tom's We'll All Go Together, about nuclear Armageddon made it into her set. Liora concluded the evening with a haunting Jewish prayer song.
Thanks to audience contributions, $530 was raised for the charity Opportunity International.