George Hoad likes a challenge and the song Ol' Man River is giving him one.
The show tune, from the 1927 musical Showboat, has a two octave vocal range, and is one of two solos he will sing as part of the Manning Valley Concert Band's upcoming show, Broadway to Hollywood.
"It's a challenge. I'm really pleased and hopefully I'll meet the challenge. It's great working with (music director) Roger (Griffiths) and the band, they're so passionate."
He will also sing Moon River, which he said many people would associate with Audrey Hepburn's performance in the film Breakfast at Tiffany's.
It's the third year George, from Killabakh, has been involved in the band's concerts, as a vocalist and also compere.
The songs are chosen by Roger, who puts together the program of music for each concert.
"Some of the orchestral pieces lend themselves to a vocalist and for the audience it is a mix of the concert band and vocal, but it's mainly the band."
For concerts like these, George enjoys singing songs he has never done.
"It's a lovely thing and with the band I'm getting a chance to do another. I'm working my butt off to get them right."
With so many different versions of Ol' Man River around online, it has been a challenge to rehearse.
"The core bit is well known but it's all the verses leading up to it where there is lots of variety.
"What I love about this song particularly and what I want to keep is the flavour of how it was written. It speaks to the story of American negros and universal themes."
Preparing for Moon River has been easier with an orchestral recording available that was the exact backing the band will play.
George enjoys working with the band and credits music director Roger with shaping the quality of the band as a unit.
"Roger is fantastic. I really like that he applies a professional attitude to the band. Rehearsals start at 6.30pm and he starts rehearsing at 6.30 and when we're there to rehearse, he's very accommodating but strict."
It's a similar approach to how George works.
"My background in the theatre is very much that you have a rehearsal schedule and you get there 15 minutes early and get going on the dot."
Because he doesn't get a lot of time to rehearse with the band, he does a lot of work in his own time to ensure the time together rehearsing is valuable.
George is also busy as president of The Garden Clubs of Australia and in the few weeks before the concert will visit both Tasmania and Victoria.
Manning Valley Concert Band's Broadway to Hollywood is on at 2pm on Sunday March 31 at St John's Anglican Church, Taree. Tickets are $10 and available from Bass'n'Blues Music.
George joins Jodi Cooper and Lisette De Gray as vocalists.