The Spooky Men's Chorale perform as part of 2018/2019 Woodford Folk Festival (Sunshine Coast).Image: Facebook
Get ready for Australia's very own bearded - not to mention a little creepy - 'men in black' The Spooky Men's Chorale, performing at Woodford Folk Festival in 2018/19.
Led by 'Spookmeister' Stephen Taberner, the ensemble is a vast, rumbling, steam-powered and black-clad behemoth, seemingly capable of rendering audiences moist-eyed with mute appreciation or haplessly gurgling with merriment.
The 'Spookies' seek to commentate on the absurdity and grandeur of the modern male armed only with their voices, a sly collection of hats and facial hair, and a twinkle in the eye.
While the 'Spookmeister' was busy attending to matters of a ghoulish nature, 'Smirkmeister' (and bearer of whiskey) Macken took some time off from scaring small children to answer some questions.
How has 2018 been for The Spooky Men's Chorale and what have been some highlights? [Macken] Well, the beard grooming has remained a challenge for some of the blokes. But overall, it's been good.
We went to New Zealand and a couple of the younger spooks climbed up to the top of Mount Taranaki in a pair of thongs. Turns out it's quite cold at 2500m.
What made you want to form the Chorale in the first place? The Spookmeister was greatly inspired by the sounds of the male choirs of Georgia and went looking for men in the Blue Mountains who might be able recreate something similar. Unfortunately all he could find was us mob, so he had to make do.
In your opinion, what's the spookiest thing that happened in 2018? In August, we went to the NSW town of Mullumgrad and had a noisy sing-off against our friends Dustyesky. I think vodka was the winner.
What will you be performing at Woodford Folk Festival? That's a good question. We can honestly say the audience will be surprised, because at this stage we certainly will be. There have been some rumours of choreography, but that sounds dangerous and possibly illegal.
What are the key responsibilities of a 'spookmeister’? To pretend to be pleasantly surprised by the sounds and odours being generated by the line of men behind him.
The spookiest experience you've had as a band? Last time we were at Woodford we were on stage at midnight on New Year's Eve during the candle ceremony - it was pretty spooky seeing the audience's faces all lit up by individual candles.
The spookiest thing you've done as a band? Wazza in the mid-section has a wombatorium at his place, and earlier this year we spent a day carrying rocks and digging trenches to enhance the facilities for the rescued wombats who live there. I think the wombats thought we were pretty spooky.
What does it take to become a member of The Spooky Men's Chorale? Accidentally stumbling into the secret audition process with the right kind of hat is a good start. Ability to knit and/ or serve up roadkill in a salad are other worthy attributes.
I can't sing but I look real good wearing all black; can I join? Sure, I think that's how I got in.
The Spooky Men's Chorale perform as part of 2018/2019 Woodford Folk Festival (Sunshine Coast), which takes place 27 December until 1 January.