Music moves in to new room

ALBANY’S newest live music venue will be more “show than gig” and more “Hi-fi than PA” according to its coordinator and general music aficionado Geoff Waldeck.

Tucked down the back of Six Degrees bar, the new 6dLIVE room will offer a boutique live music experience in an intimate setting and will quench the thirst for the growing demand for quality visiting acts.

As the finishing touches were being applied to the room’s bespoke lighting and sound, The Weekender had a quick sneak peek and got the run-down on the concept from Waldeck and Six Degrees licensee Anton Davey.

“When we built the place, it was designed around the idea of catering for musicians and artists,” Davey said.

“This will be a unique place for soloists, duos and small bands to per- form. We just want to see live music flourish and there isn’t really a small venue in town like this.”

Davey’s right-hand man in the project, Waldeck, said the room will fit 150 people standing or 70 seated and is all about providing a quality sound to go with the quality of talent he has booked.

“We’ve already tested the room as we’ve been treating it acoustically, and it’s going to be pretty nice. There is no [sound] spill between the room and the rest of the bar,” Waldeck said.

6dLIVE will be officially launched when it hosts alternative folk artist Riley Pearce on Friday, April 6 ahead of his UK tour, although it will get a test-run on Easter Saturday when local outfit Pinstripe take to the stage sans bass player to put the room through its paces.

Tickets are available for Pearce’s April 6 show through the Six Degrees Facebook page.

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Dolphin makes splash

AMIDST graphic design, illustrations, photography and his day job as production manager with The Weekender, Mt Barker artist Andy Dolphin finds time to oil up his canvas and produce stunning life-like representations of the Great Southern.

Two of his recent artworks, Rural Morn and Organised Chaos, won first-class recognitions at last weekend’s Wagin Woolorama.

Rural Morn, an image of an aged shed near his property, won first place in Class 1 – Oil or Acrylic, and Organised Chaos, a depiction of a white gum tree, won the Woolorama President’s Award.

Dolphin was surprised to hear of his win when he received a phone call Friday evening.

“It was great to win. I haven’t entered in four or so years,” he said.

“I always enjoy Wagin; there’s always quality work and they don’t shy away from traditional works.”

Dolphin’s winning works slot into the plein air genre, which is the main area he dabbles in, both during his own time and his Thursday morning adventures with the Albany Plein Air Group.

“I love the great outdoors. I always tend towards rural for my art,” he said.

“When it’s just me, I’ll just get into my car and go; I look for interesting shapes and different light and shade.”

The next project on Dolphin’s agenda is participating with the Albany Plein Air Group in the Southern Art and Craft Trail set for September 15 to 30.

You can keep up to date on Dolphin’s movements and check out his gallery of the Great Southern online at

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Albany to draw first Breath

FORMER Albany boy and acclaimed author Tim Winton’s book Breath has been adapted for the big screen and fans can get an early sneak peek at the film next month.

Breath was filmed in Denmark and follows the story of two teenage boys growing up in a small coastal town, who form an unlikely friendship with a mysterious surfer who pushes the boys to take risks.

Director and actor Simon Baker, Winton, and lead actors Samson Coulter and Ben Spence will appear at the premiere WA screening at the Albany Entertainment Centre on April 21, and the community screening on location in Denmark on April 22.

In an interview with Cinema Australia, Baker said he felt privileged to take Breath and “hand deliver” it to Australian audiences.

“I’m especially thrilled to be returning to the Great Southern region of WA, to share and celebrate with those communities who welcomed us so warmly, and contributed with great spirit to the making of Breath,” he said.

“It’s their film.”

Tickets to the early screenings can be found at

Breath will be released in cinemas on May 3.

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A journey through time

WITH the sound of gentle waves lapping up against the nearby rocks and the grand Cheynes IV as their backdrop, The Albany Shantymen took audiences on a journey through time with their voices last Thursday night to commemorate the final season of whaling at Albany’s Historic Whaling Station.

The sun made a glorious afternoon appearance as concert-goers settled into their chairs or on their picnic rugs, but ducked behind the clouds just in time for the 6pm start, giving people on the far side of the makeshift venue a chance to watch the concert without shielding their eyes.

Content with their sausage sizzles, ice creams and snacks, the audience was raring to go as the Shantymen took to the stage.

Their deep, rumbling harmonies and infectious merriment made it irresistible to tap your toes and bob your head through their songs about sailing, whaling, women and beer.

The cheeky remarks thrown back and forward between songs added to the charm of the blokey band, and gave audiences a few extra giggles along the way.

Despite tackling a more sombre topic – the whaling history of Albany – The Albany Shantymen made the commemorative concert light, digestible and fun for all.

A long day at the office was worth dealing with, to be rewarded with these gents’ talented voices on the beach at sunset (well… close to the beach).

2018 marks 40 years since the last whaling season in Albany and this milestone will be celebrated throughout the year with various events and activities at Albany’s Historic Whaling Station.

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Spinning discs for forty years

MAKING the music flow has been one of Albany radio personality Warren Mead’s favourite aspects of his job.

He certainly could be considered an expert on music flow, considering on-air time has been his gig for the past four decades.

The 1611AM Gold MX voice celebrated 40 years in the business late last year and remains ever so humble about his great achievements.

Mr Mead started his career in the late 1970s at the ABC in Albany, where he dabbled in disc jockeying, on-air broadcasting and copywriting advertisements.

“I had to use a typewriter back then,” he laughed.

After a stint in Perth with 6PM, he married his wife Kira and moved back to Albany and joined 6VA.

For the next decade, Mr Mead went to and from stations across WA, adding to his now expansive CV of experience.

He went from Albany breakfast shows to Bridgetown, back to Perth with 6IX and then back to Albany with 6VA.

It was after this round-trip of WA that Mr Mead decided to set up his own shop in his hometown.

“We had 87.8 Farm FM in 1993 and then acquired 88FM in 1995, and that was an easy-listening station,” he said.

“They were hugely popular with the older folks in town.

“They were hugely loyal listeners, so we gave our Farm FM CDs away to them in a competition when we stopped that station.”

The next cab off the rank was 1611AM Gold MX, once known for country music but now playing ‘good times and great classic hits’ from the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s.

This station became unique when Mr Mead converted it to commercial in 1998 after its launch in 1997.

“The 1611AM frequency was granted a section 40 commercial license, the first 1611 in Australia to do so,” he said.

“The official AM band goes to 1602AM and we were operating on 1611AM, so we decided to go commercial and have a broader reach.”

Mr Mead’s list of achievements grew again with 88 Fly FM in 2006; the new face of 88FM now played the current chart-toppers.

After a brief pause in his radio career – selling Gold MX and Fly FM to The Great Southern Weekender in 2014 – Mr Mead made his comeback a couple of years later.

“We needed to have a rest, but I missed it,” he said of his return to the airwaves.

“Making the music flow; that’s always been my favourite part.”

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Edwardian London comes to Albany

WE ALL know the rain in Spain stays mainly on the plain.

But did you know that My Fair Lady is coming to Albany?

Weeks of preparation and rehearsals now leave students from Great Southern Grammar just eight days away from the first night of their interpretation of the 1964 musical film, and musical director Emma Luxton said students are excited to get the show on the road.

“They are really looking forward to the next stage of rehearsals being on the big stage,” she said.

“They really enjoy the excitement of the lights, headset microphones, more sets, detail on the stage and knowing the shows are only in a few days.

“They are always very excited in the final week and it is lovely to work with them.”

Ms Luxton said My Fair Lady was selected for the biennial middle and senior school production as she believed the group of students involved would really bring the characters to life.

“It is a show that talks about class divide and has a strong female lead, and we love the story and music,” she said.

Ms Luxton also said students had developed cross-year group friendships by producing the play, and are all now proficient waltzers.

Tickets are still on sale for the March 16 and 17 shows at the Albany Entertainment Centre, and can be purchased online at Ticketek or via the AEC Box Office.

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Seasonal focus for tasty showcase

A CLOUD of tantalising aromas has settled over the Great Southern.

It’s the aftermath of the Porongurup Wine Festival and a preview of what’s to come on the IGA Taste Great Southern agenda.

So, get your palates cleansed and your best wine glass out, because the masters of food and beverage are coming and you don’t want to miss out.

The IGA Taste Great Southern festival officially began on the weekend, but not to worry; there is still plenty on the menu for you to try.

Demonstrations from the likes of Marco Pierre White, Justine Schofield, Anna Gare and Chandra Yudasswara will take the event to a new level, as the event calendar already includes long table dinners, food and wine festivals, cook-offs and banquets right across the Great Southern.

Event coordinator, Richard Campbell, of CMS Events, said the thing he loves most about the festival and its location is its seasonality.

“I genuinely believe the Great Southern has the best produce in the state,” he said.

“There’s world-class wine and high-quality produce.”

Mr Campbell revealed the In The Raw event for March 11 had a slight change of plan after one of the selected produce became unavailable due to the season ending.

“We’ve brought in marron instead,” he said.

“At first, I was a bit disappointed, but that’s the beauty of the whole thing – we are keeping with what’s in season.”

However, Mr Campbell remained tight-lipped on the much-anticipated Secret Affair Journey dinner planned for March 22.

“It’s a great location,” he said.

“The presentation will be quite different; we are telling people to roll up their sleeves for a night out.

“It’s going to be fantastic.”

Mr Campbell encouraged people to join in the festival and try something different.

“There’s a natural, unique attraction to the South Coast; people know they will be spoiled,” he said.

“We do have a few events already sold out, so people need to make sure they book in as soon as they can.”

You can view the full event schedule and ticket costs at

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The stuff of dreams

FOR some young boys and girls, their first introduction to the timeless tale The Nutcracker was the 2001 animated film Barbie in the Nutcracker.

The graceful tones of Tchaikovsky’s score and the twirling story of the sugarplum fairy soon became the backdrop of dreams and bedtime stories, and meant The Nutcracker remained in the hearts of children well into their adulthood.

For those wanting to relive the magical journey of Clara and the Nutcracker, Moscow Ballet ‘La Classique’ will bring the story to life on March 18 at the Albany Entertainment Centre.

The Nutcracker follows protagonist Clara on Christmas Eve, who is gifted a nutcracker doll that comes to life when the clock strikes midnight.

The young girl is then whisked away to the magical land of the sugarplum fairy, where she must help defeat the evil mouse king.

Often the choice for the traditional Christmas Eve movie and a popular theatre production across the decades and across all generations, The Nutcracker on an Albany stage should be a night to remember.

Tickets for the March 18 performance are on sale now and can be booked online via Ticketek or by calling the AEC Box Office on 9844 5005 or 1300 795 012.

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Fringe fest a success

THE inaugural Fringe Arts Regional Festival has been labeled a success by its organisers, following the sold-out performances on Saturday night.

Vancouver Arts Centre Arts Administration Officer Steven Finch said the high quality of performances allowed for an incredibly successful event.

“We have already had really positive feedback for the festival,” he said.

“People in particular enjoyed FAR Fetched and FAR Out on Saturday night.”

Mr Finch said the festival filled in part of the gap left by the Perth International Arts Festival after it announced it would no longer come to the Great Southern.

“The festival was put together pretty quickly,” he said.

“We had a gap to fill for exciting artistic events and the festival definitely did that.”

Following large amounts of positive reviews of the month-long event, Mr Finch said there will be another Fringe festival in 2019.

“Nothing is locked in yet, but we’ve got a few performers that are excited for next year,” he said.

“The event really needs to come from the community though.

“Next year we’re hoping for lots of independent and creative people to get involved that we haven’t heard of before.

“We’re providing a platform for performers, so we’d love to hear from the community for what we should have next year.”

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Thar she blows again!

THIS year marks a number of significant anniversaries for the Great Southern, including 40 years since the closure of the Cheynes Beach Whaling Company in 1978 and the end of whaling in Australia.

November 21, 1978 saw the Cheynes II, Cheynes III and Cheynes IV whale-chasing ships berthed at the old Albany Town Jetty after their final hunt, signalling the closure of the last shore-based whaling station in Australia and the end of 150 years of whaling in the waters around Albany.

To commemorate the 40th anniversary, Albany’s Historic Whaling Station will host a series of events and exhibitions throughout the year, commencing next month with a family-friendly concert.

Station general manager Elise van Gorp said the events over the next few months will commemorate both the historic period in Australia’s whaling industry as well as the lives of past whalers.

“We will launch a new exhibit here at the whaling museum, an interactive whale chasing experience on-board Cheynes IV whale chaser,” she said.

“There will also be a variety of travelling exhibitions from the Australian National Maritime Museum and a comprehensive school education program and concert series.”

With the range of events and exhibitions culminating around the anniversary date in November, the first concert in the series on March 8 marks the beginning of the 1978 whaling season.

The Last Season Sunset Concert will feature rousing vocals from The Albany Shantymen and will take place on Albany’s Historic Whaling Station grounds with the Cheynes IV whalechaser as the backdrop.

Guests are encouraged to bring a picnic and rug for an evening of music, and to enjoy the sausage sizzle, coffee and ice cream available for sale.

Tickets for the sunset concert are now on sale at; doors open at 5.15pm.

More information on the 40th Anniversary events is available on their website.

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