John Shortis marked his achievement of having survived 40 years as a full-time musician with a concert of his songs, performed by Shortis & Simpson, Peter J Casey, Ian Blake, Jon Jones, Dave O’Neill, with guests Jeannie Lewis, Kerry-Ella McAullay, Yanto and Peter Shortis, Mark Shortis, and Andrew Purdam. Canberra Southern Cross Club, March 4 2011

‘John Shortis’ celebration of 40 years full time in the music business rightly attracted a happy full house and a standing ovation at the end…. in the company of partner Moya Simpson and a stage full of musical friends and relatives, Shortis made the most of it……The result was a thoroughly enjoyable wander through his considerable range of song writing…. Long may the revels continue for Shortis the songwriter and performer….’ Alanna Maclean, Canberra Times March 9 2011

‘…a happy autobiographical concert……..not all songs brought tears of laughter; there were tears of poignancy too….stunning versatility through every gamut from satire to blues and even opera. …Aren’t we lucky we can call Shortis & Simpson our own?’ Clinton White, City News March 9 2011



a witty look at the world of wordsmiths

The final show in the Q’s season in 2011 saw John Shortis’s quirky take on some of the world’s great songs and songwriters, but from the point of view of the lyrics- performed by Shortis & Simpson, with Peter J Casey, Ian Blake, Jon Jones and Dave O’Neill- directed by Carissa Campbell.

‘….a lively and funny celebration of wordsmiths from Johnny Mercer
to Paul Kelly, tracing musical lineages from W.S. Gilbert, via Ira Gershwin to
Tom Lehrer, all explained with John Shortis’ trademark wit. Anyone with a love
of the written word will get a real kick out of the way John teases apart the
triple rhymes of Lorenz Hart, explains the device of throwing in a foreign word
as a rhyme and demonstrates how Rolf Harris originally taught him how to scan. ……Backed by the versatile Ian Blake on saxophones and bass, Jon Jones on drums and Dave O’Neil on guitars and a mean bluegrass electric fiddle, and with segments by talented cabaret artist Peter J. Casey on baby grand, Moya Simpson’s voice bends to every genre you can name, from jazz standards to country, rock and folk. Most notably, Moya performed a spine-tingling, faithful and beautiful cover of Kate Bush’s Wuthering Heights which was worth the entry price alone….’

Cathy Bannister- Stage Whispers Dec 3 2011         

Q Theatre Queanbeyan,
Fri/Sat Dec 2/3, 8pm, Sun Dec 4, 5pm.


Worldly Goods Choir turns 13 – spotty faces, blossoming body parts, sulky attitudes, slamming doores, and not a teenager in sight.

In October 1998, Moya Simpson formed a community choir, called Worldly Goods, for a one-offproject planned to last 3 months. Thirteen years later, that choir is still
going strong. We’ve turned teenage!

With world music as the repertoire, Worldly Goods is open to anyone, is audition free, and songs are learned by ear. With numbers always around 70 at any one time, the sound is joyous. Over the years there have been births, deaths, marriages and
enduring friendships.

The choir has participated in an enormous range of projects, such as representing the ACT at the Bendigo Gospel Festival, being part of a major Centenary of Federation event called Candid Canberra, mixing Beatles songs with Georgian folk song in John, Paul, Ringo and Georgia at the Hobart Voices Festival, and workshopping with choirs in an unforgettable trip to South Africa.

To celebrate the choir’s adolescence, the Belconnen Arts Centre will ring with Belco Belto, the big sound of Worldly Goods belting out 13 years of songs in 90 minutes, along with guest spots from choir leaders, Shortis and Simpson. Songs of Macedonian
Gypsies, Georgian toasts, Croatian love songs, South African chants, Pygmy
yodels, French Christmas carols,Beatles, Queen, Shortis originals, Canberran
ditties, and much, much more.

And all this as the sun sets over Lake Ginninderra.

All money raised from this concert will go towards the cost of Worldly Goods first CD, out next year.

Joyful, surprising, humorous, touching, uplifting – don’t miss it.

Belconnen Arts Centre, 118 Emu Bank, Belconnen. Sun Nov 13, 5.30pm.
$28/$20 conc. Plus booking fee. Bookings 6173 3300 or


American Pie

To mark the 40th anniversary of this landmark song by Don McLean, Shortis gave his take on what he reckons those cryptic lyrics mean, as Simpson switched between the songs of Janis Joplin, Buddy Holly, the Stones, Beatles, Dylan, Don himself, and more- with plenty of laughs, and the odd serious moment. Teatro Vivaldi. Fri/Sat Aug 26/27, 7pm. Sun Aug 28, 5.30pm.

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