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The voice of Emma Donovan carries deep currents within it. With family from both sides of the Australian continent, her many musical influences reflect her early experiences singing country music, as well as the rich legacy of soul which she famously inhabits so powerfully.

In The Old Rugged Cross Donovan explores another side of those early wellsprings: the gospel and hymns she grew up with in communities. Some of these songs – like the title track, ‘I’ll Fly Away’ and ‘Will The Circle Be Unbroken’ will be familiar to lovers of the country gospel made famous by the likes of Johnny Cash, the Carter Family, and Elvis Presley. Emma will also perform songs by her grandfather Micko Donovan, and deliver a memorable tribute to Aretha Franklin, ‘Amazing Grace’.

For The Old Rugged Cross, Emma joins forces with celebrated pianist, composer, arranger and conductor Paul Grabowsky, plus a powerful collection of Sydney's finest jazz musicians. This stellar collection of talent pays tribute to a rich musical legacy in arrangements given the inimitable Grabowsky treatment, a loving nod to grand traditions, to the domestic and the divine, and a homage to the great Emma Donovan herself.


Switched On flicks the switch on an iconic venue and activates the Hall in a new light. A sonic shift to contemporary music and a whole new dimension in listening.

CRH Presents Switched On is supported by Restart Investment to Sustain and Expand (RISE) Fund - an Australian Government Initiative.


CRH Presents Switched On is supported by the NSW Government through Create NSW.


Visitor Safety Information

Before you arrive at City Recital Hall, familiarise yourself with our new venue protocols here.

Please do not attend this event if you are feeling unwell. If you have tickets and are no longer able to attend:

  • View our updated Terms & Conditions 
  • Visit for the latest advice and information about COVID-19
  • Contact the Coronavirus Information Line 1800 020 080 for any health enquiries

*Details correct at the time of publication.