Grade 4 - Postcards From Big Things

Composer: Kara Williams

Grade: Grade 4

Category: Wind Ensemble

Additional Notes:

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 Primarily constructed to promote businesses, local attributes and achievements, and tourism, Australia has seen an increasing number of 'Big Things' since the 1960s. Now estimated at over 600 in number, these diverse novelty structures and sculptures have become iconic landmarks in every State and Territory, and some have even developed quite a following. Given a musical composition representing all 600+ 'Big Things' would be a journey too tiresome for the composer, player, and listener; 5 Big Things from just one State were chosen - and as the recipient of postcards featuring Big Things over the years, a suite of miniatures seemed apt. Please enjoy this small collection of Big Things from Eastern New South Wales:

1. Goulburn's BIG MERINO

The 'World's Biggest Merino' is a three-story structure of concrete and steel measuring 15.2 metres high and 18 metres long. Built in 1985 as a celebration of the Goulburn and surrounding district's fine wool industry, it is based on the likeness of local stud ram 'Rambo'. Although Rambo is clearly spectacular from the front, most people actually take their tourist photos from the car-park side…

  Befitting Rambo’s stature in life and internationally famous ‘Big Thing’, the opening postcard in this suite features a small pastoral interlude bookended by a brash fanfare and march. The swagger refers to Rambo’s obvious self-assurance–but also more subtly to the lyrics of Waltzing Matilda.

 2. Robertson's BIG POTATO

Promoting the main crop of this productive and beautiful area, Robertson’s potato was built in the late 1970s measuring around 10 metres long and four metres wide. Like many Big Things: however, it fell into disrepair over time, and faced being torn down until a group of locals lovingly restored the local landmark. Passing through Robertson on several occasions, we developed fondness for the Big Potato, and it was actually the catalyst for this suite. The Potato’s postcard is melancholy, soft (like its mashed potato decorated interior), and full of yearning to be visited - and viewed as more than a big poo (which, incidentally, is just down the escarpment at Kiama).

3. Ballina's BIG PRAWN

 Originally built in 1989, like the Big Potato, the Big Prawn fell into such disrepair there was discussion regarding its demolition. Thankfully, the hardware store next door came to the rescue with funding, and the new improved prawn (now complete with tail) was unveiled in 2013 and has since taken centre stage as one of Australia’s favourite Big Things.

Pointy, darting, and full of vigor, this quirky little postcard of the Big Prawn relies on exactness to keep it light and moving along like its namesake. If needed there are indicated optional slurs in semiquaver patterns. Aim for the beat 1 and 3 anchor points.

4. Singleton's BIG SUNDIAL

Set beside Hunter River in Singleton, this monumental Sundial was constructed in 1988 as part of the Town's Bicentennial Riverside Park Project. Although it is now surpassed as the 'World's Largest', the Singleton Sundial is still recognised as the biggest in the Southern Hemisphere by the Guinness Book of Records at 7.92 metres tall and around 30 tonnes of steel-reinforced concrete. 

 Weighted with intent, the sundial silently and motionlessly marks the changing seasons and seasons of change. Savour each entry and the way the tonal character either sustains or transforms and let both the sound and silence breathe.

 5. Coffs Harbour's BIG BANANA

 Australia’s oldest and most iconic ‘Big Thing”, the Big Banana has been a family-run business since it opened in 1964. Hard to miss as you drive through Coffs Harbour on the highway, the Big Banana signposts the popular local amusement park and other amenities surrounded by banana plantations.

  The final postcard in this suite is a playful and eccentric 6/8 march featuring carnival-like undertones honouring the brilliantly flamboyant big old banana overlooking the highway that started it all!

- Kara Williams


Duration 8:20min

Instrumentation: Picc, Flute 1 2, Oboe 1 2, Bassoon, Bb Clar 1 2 3, Bs Clar, A Sax 1 2, T Sax, B Sax, F Horn 1 2, Bb Tpt 1 2 3, Trom 1 2 3, Euph (BC & TC), Tuba, Dbl Bass, Timpani (opt.), Glock, Marimba, Cymbals, Sn Dr, Tenor Drum, Bass Drum, Triangle, Tambourine, Tub Bells (5 percussionists can cover all of the parts... 4 will work well as a minimum)

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