On Saturday 2nd April, after two decades of work, the Cobar Sound Chapel was officially opened. Erected in 1901 the iconic 33-foot-high Silver Tank in Cobar supported the thriving mining town for many years, however, after years of disuse, this water tank has been architecturally repurposed and filled with something new – music.
This recorded musical performance ‘The Noise String Quartet’ was composed by the projects’ visionary Georges Lentz and performed by violinists Véronique Serret and Mirabai Peart, violist James Eccles and cellist Oliver Miller.
Approximately 150 members of the community attended along with friends and family of the creators and invited dignitaries to celebrate this unique vision being realised.
Aunty Elaine Ohlsen opened the event with a Welcome to Country, acknowledging the Ngiyampaa and Wangaaypuwan people as the Traditional Owners of the lands where the Cobar Sound Chapel stands. Georges Lentz, who is behind the concept, artistic direction and sound art, shared his journey from being shown various sites around Cobar in 2008 to its completion today. He said, “the world-first art/sound installation may house a piece of music as polarising as Pollock’s Blue Poles, but in these times of pandemic and war, we needed music as a response to this.”
Architect Glen Murcutt OA, spoke about how his vision of buildings was always to sit quietly in nature. He said this was particularly apt after Aunty Elaine’s Welcome and that we respect whose land the Cobar Sound Chapel stands on. Dennis Karp, Chairman of Manuka Resources Ltd who is a Principal Sponsor of the project and Georges Lentz officially unveiled a plaque commemorating the event.
COVID prevented Cellist Oliver Miller, from The Noise String quartet from travelling to Cobar to witness the opening of the Cobar Sound Chapel, a project he has been instrumental in. Miarabi Peart was also affected, testing positive in Cobar and isolating in her motel room. Luckily Georges Lentz was able to step in and complete the quartet who performed Haydn’s Sunrise quartet after an improv opening.
Outback Arts, Board Member Kylie Harvey attended the event and said ‘the atmosphere as the sun set to the strains of the string quartet was peaceful and appreciative. That someone would have the vision, persistence and passion to see this project through is remarkable. What a gift Georges Lentz has given to the community of Cobar.” ‘
She went on to say, “The CSC is open, now it’s up to our community to enjoy it and promote it further so it continues to music, art and inspiration to our lives.”