SHOWSTOPPER: Elizabeth Swain ready to celebrate her 80th birthday this weekend.
SHOWSTOPPER: Elizabeth Swain ready to celebrate her 80th birthday this weekend. Christian Morrow

Music is life... so play on Elizabeth

REHEARSALS continued apace this week for the Festival for Elizabeth, which will see members of the extended Swain family gathering to celebrate the musical matriarch, Elizabeth Swain's 80th birthday at the Brunswick Picture House.

Liz Fest will feature a 20-member choir accompanied by a eight-piece Chamber Orchestra performing Henry Purcell's Come Ye Sons of Arts followed by a pop-up reworked rendition of Gilbert & Sullivan's Trial by Jury.

The family has no shortage of musical fire power - Elizabeth's son is Andrew is musical director of Dustyesky, daughter Janet is co-founder and conductor of Dynasty 8 choir and the Lovey's and grandson Louis is keyboard player of the band Parcels who are currently sweeping all before them in Europe.

Trial by Jury has been considerably re-written and will feature local comedian and social commentator Mark "Alternative Prime Minister” Swivel as the judge.

Elizabeth has had a long career in music education in Melbourne, London and Sydney and has been awarded an OAM (Order of Australia Medal) for services to music education.

"Music has the mainstay of my life life and we are so lucky that both my children and grandchildren are all musical,” Elizabeth said.

"That has been the greatest gift for me in life, that my husband Roger and I produced kids and grandchildren who have got such enormous talent.

"Roger has been very supportive over our last 60 years of marriage and I must say their musical talent and capacity for improvisation and composition comes from Roger who has enormous natural talent even though he never did any formal training.

"Music has continued to bring us together as a family even now. I thought we would be stuck in Sydney in our dotage but it has turned out that we are all here together which is just wonderful.

"It's great be able to see the kids grow up and then see the grandkids succeed as well.”

Organisers hope that Liz Fest will become a regular classical music event and there will be a chance to donate to Liberation Larder at this weekend's event.

Festival for Elizabeth kicks off at 5pm this Saturday at Brunswick Picture House.

Supper will be served at intermission.

Tickets are $40 for adults and $30 concession at www.

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