Digital donation aids concert

A CONCERT will be held at Albany’s Oceans Church next week to raise money for YouthCARE school chaplaincy programs in the region.

Albany City Wind Ensemble will join forces with AboutFACE Youth Choir for the family-friendly event A Concert for Chappy featuring a highly-varied program.

From the soundtrack of Shrek to Lord of the Dance, to children’s fables and pieces from the Glenn Miller Big Band, music director Sue Findlay promises there will be something for everyone.

She said the addition of a brand-new instrument would take the performance to another level.

“We’re usually locked into venues with grand pianos for our concerts,” Ms Findlay explained.

“Particularly if we want a soloist to perform.

“This new digital piano will make such a difference and the great thing about it being based at Oceans Church is that other community groups can use it too.”

The new digital grand piano is a gift from Albany accountancy firm Lincolns, who had the instrument in storage.

Lincolns partner Craig Anderson was happy to see the piano go to community use.

“It’s better than it sitting and collecting dust!” he laughed.

Ms Findlay said tickets to the June 22 concert commencing at 7.30pm would include a light supper, and proceeds would go to YouthCARE Albany programs.

Adults are $22, concession $18, children aged six to 17 $8, and children under five are free.

Tickets are available at the door or online via trybooking.com

Continue Reading

Dancers form Floyd choir

A GROUP of Albany dancers will take part in the upcoming Echoes of Pink Floyd tribute concert when it rolls into town on July 6.

Students from Twilight Dreams will form the Another Brick in the Wall Part 2 choir and sing alongside the tribute band during the chorus of the song.

Twilight Dreams owner Anyes Icher said her dancers were excited to participate in the performance.

“I think they chose dance students rather than singing or music students because my dance students are motivated to be theatrical,” she said.

“And that’s what they [tribute band] want – they want drama and a bit of attitude.”

The Pink Floyd tribute concert will feature the entirety of the original band’s iconic album The Wall, and be headlined by singer Matt Goodluck, guitarist Daniel Hunter, drummer Jason Miller, bassist Mark Dole, Paul Bindig on keyboards and synthesisers, and Mark MacNab on rhythm and acoustic guitar.

Hunter said each member of the band loved and respected what the original Pink Floyd gave to the world with their music.

“We want to bring this to life for the audience who may not have had a chance to experience a Pink Floyd concert, or wish to relive memories from their youth,” he said.

“We aim to ensure every aspect of the original Pink Floyd music is captured authentically.”

Echoes of Pink Floyd will perform The Wall tribute concert on July 6 at the Albany Entertainment Centre.

Tickets are available online or at the entertainment centre’s box offic

Continue Reading

Unravelling stigma of death

DENMARK workshop facilitators James Gentle and Ruth Maddren hope their upcoming wool and timber-based activities at Albany’s Vancouver Arts Centre will provide people with a safe space to talk about death.

The Unravelling, The Last Loop and Bed Beneath The Earth will take place over three weekends in June and July and the creations from those workshops will be showcased in the final exhibition Permission to Die.

It’s all part of Dying to Know Day which aims to stimulate conversation and reduce the stigma surrounding death, dying and bereavement.

“There’s multiple stages to the project,” Gentle explained.

“The Unravelling will see people dismantling knitted woolen clothes, they will then use that material to crochet flowers in The Last Loop which form part of the final installation, and then they will be helping to construct a coffin in Bed Beneath The Earth.”

Maddren said the creative element of the workshops should help alleviate any stress or pressure felt when talking about a sometimes-uncomfortable topic.

“I think it’s important for people to come together when they have a difficult discussion such as about death, but they can be distracted by busy hands,” she said.

“If they don’t want to make eye contact with someone, that’s okay; they can sit in silence or they can just speak every now and then.

“We’re not intending to give a lecture on the right way to die or deal with death; we’re merely creating a space so people can share their stories.”

The pair remained tightlipped on the content of the final exhibition Permission to Die but did reveal how the workshop creations would come together.

“It will be in three different parts and be interactive,” Gentle said of the exhibition.

“The crochet flowers will be on the coffin and the coffin will be there so people can ‘try out’ death – they can lay in the coffin and take a picture of themselves in it.

“This is quite a confronting thing for some people, but death is something that is going to happen to all of us, so it’s important we talk about what things we’ll need, like emotional support.”

“We just hope people will feel like they have permission to explore the rituals we have with death, like the coffin and sitting in a room, because usually, the only time we do is when we’re grieving,” Maddren added.

“This is an unusual opportunity to experience it.

“I know even with my experiences with cemeteries and death – my grandfather was a grave digger and gardener – I know I have blockages when it comes to talking about this, so I hope people can find peace and resolution in our project.”

Gentle and Maddren said the project and exhibition was open to all ages but children must be accompanied by an adult.

The Unravelling will be held at Albany Public Library on June 22 from 1-4pm and at Vancouver Arts Centre annex on June 23 from 1-4pm.

The Last Loop will take place at Albany Public Library on June 29, 1- 4pm and at Vancouver Arts Centre annex on June 30, 1-4pm.

Bed Beneath The Earth will be held at Vancouver Arts Centre annex on July 6 and 7, 1-4pm.

All workshops are free, and RSVPs are encouraged but are not compulsory.

RSVPs can be made via Vancouver Arts Centre.

Permission to Die will exhibit in August.

Continue Reading

Snapshots of history

THE history of Indigenous families in the Great Southern will be pictorially displayed at Vancouver Arts Centre from tomorrow in celebration of NAIDOC Week.

Averil Dean and her son, Lindsay gave the Weekender a sneak peek at the exhibition prior to the opening on June 14 and were excited to set everything up.

Photos in the Voice Treaty Truth exhibition include images from Ms Dean’s childhood alongside photos taken by Australian anthropologist Norman Tindale, who in 1939 documented various Indigenous families in the region, their cultural habits and tribal groupings.

Dr Tindale’s image collection includes photos of Ms Dean’s grandparents, Lily Toorlijan Williams and Eddie Womber Williams.

“I think this exhibition has been a long time coming,” Ms Dean said.

“It tells the real story from our point of view, and how we saw what was happening.”

“It’s interesting; people want to know the truth now about this somewhat dark history,” Mr Dean added.

There are nearly 30 images in the exhibition that capture snapshots of Indigenous history, including Indigenous experiences in missions and the effects of the Stolen Generation.

“This is our history, of all the Aboriginal families in this area,” Mr Dean said.

“It tells the real story.”

Local history coordinator for the City of Albany Sue LeFroy added that the pictorial records were “powerful representations of the past”.

“They give families a voice,” she said.

“Seeing the Tindale images alongside and incorporated with family photographs of past generations tackles dark history head on; it is an exhibition of parallel histories, encapsulating the resilience of a family, a people and a culture – a story of survival which is meaningful to us all.”

Voice Treaty Truth will be on display at Vancouver Arts Centre from June 14 to July 18.

This year, NAIDOC Week will be celebrated from July 7 to 14.

Continue Reading

Chorus dancer call

DENMARK choreographer Annette Carmichael is seeking 200 women over the age of 14 to create her final dance performance in The Beauty Index trilogy.

Carmichael hopes to bring women together from Denmark, Bunbury, Mandurah, Ravensthorpe, Perth and Albany for the project and perform it over the March long weekend in 2020.

She told the Weekender that Chorus would highlight the need for violence against women to stop and hoped her performance would reignite conversations about it.

“Talking about violence against women is known to be a key ingredient in prevention,” Carmichael said.

“In the past, this topic was hidden behind shame and ‘private’ family business, but now we can talk about it with more frankness and compassion.

“Chorus will reveal the strength and solidarity of women and symbolically reclaim the power that was historically held by women.

“Through the process of creating this original dance work with 200 women, we are also creating new social networks and new friendships that will add another layer of support for women.”

Carmichael described Chorus as “epic” in scale, as it will be performed in a “large amphitheatre wrapped in eucalyptus trees”.

Denmark composer James Gentle will create the musical composition and Albany artists Kevin Draper and Indra Geidans will bring their black and white sculptures as props.

Carmichael encouraged interested ladies to attend ‘taster’ workshops coming up soon and reiterated that women of all abilities could join.

“In Denmark, women can choose from three groups, Gentle, Active and Core,” she explained.

“The Gentle group involves simple gestural movements and formation walking; the Active group is for women who can only commit to a workshop once a week but want a strong physical experience and; the Core group is for those wanting an intense experience both creatively and physically and are willing to commit to twice-weekly sessions.

“In Albany, women can participate in the project via a week of rehearsals that happen in the July school holidays, followed by eight additional sessions in the lead up to the performance in 2020.”

Carmichael promised she would make everyone look “incredible, no matter what your past experience or physical capacity”.

She is hosting the taster workshops in Albany at Vancouver Arts Centre on June 8 and 9, and at Denmark Civic Centre on June 15 and 16.

“It’s best to come to both days of the taster workshops,” Carmichael said.

“If you live in Albany but can’t make the Albany taster, please come to the Denmark tasters and vice versa.”

Head to www.chorus.annettecarmichael.com.au to register your interest.

Continue Reading

Sensory journey out of this world

MULTI-SENSORY theatre performance Whoosh! is open to the public at the Albany Entertainment Centre next week for one show only after its eight other shows completely sold out to local primary schools.

Whoosh! is the brainchild of Perth group Sensorium Theatre and is designed for children with disabilities.

The set of the show allows participants to touch, taste, smell and feel the story unfolding around them – they must work as a team with the characters of the production to fix a crashed spaceship so it can return to Earth.

It is suitable for children aged five to 10 years, including those with multiple and complex needs and those on the autism spectrum, and is wheelchair-friendly.

Co-artistic directors Francis Italiano and Michelle Hovane described Whoosh! as the Theatre’s most “ambitious production to date” and were keen to bring it to Albany.

“Sensorium Theatre always brings our audiences right into our stage settings with us, but with Whoosh! we wanted to bring them into being part of the actual story,” Mr Italiano said.

“When past audiences suggested we explore outer space, we started dreaming up a story world where technology could help them really feel part of a spaceship crew, so that we could all take the journey of our imaginations together,” Ms Hovane added.

The 60-minute theatre experience will be held on June 15 at 10.30am and tickets can be purchased online or at the entertainment centre’s box office.

Continue Reading

Music eisteddfod turns 40

THERE is less than a week to go until the Albany Music Eisteddfod begins and musicians of all ages and skill levels are tuning up to showcase the best of their talents.

The event celebrates four decades this year and in recognition, has had a bit of a facelift.

The Eisteddfod will this year be performed at Wesley Uniting Church from June 11 to 14 and audience entry is by gold coin donation.

Albany Eisteddfod Committee President Elizabeth Burns said a special primary school choir session would be held at the Free Reformed Church on June 15, and that the winner concert would be at the Albany Entertainment Centre on June 14.

“There is so much fantastic local talent in this region which deserves to be celebrated,” she said.

“We really want to make this event more accessible to the community, so that’s why for 2019, we have moved the event to Wesley Church and decided to make entry for audience members by gold coin donation.”

Ms Burns encouraged everyone to come along to the performances.

“It’s a great atmosphere and local artists have worked hard to perfect their performance which deserves to be appreciated by an audience,” she said.

“It’s particularly special for younger performers who are just starting out – they get the opportunity to come and watch students who are a bit further along in their musical career and be inspired by that.”

Visit www.albanyeisteddfod.com.au for more information on session times.

Tickets for the winners concert at the AEC can be purchased online or via the AEC box office.

Continue Reading

Murder mystery is a family affair

NEXT up on the calendar for amateur theatre group Plantagenet Players is a genre-bending production penned by one of the Players themselves.

You Heard What I Heard is the first full stage production Roxanne Mills has written and she’s excited to see it come together.

The murder-mystery-comedy-musical also had the help of fellow Player Michelle Harris who looked after the musical parodies, so Mills could focus on the show script.

The pair are counting down the days until curtain call, which is just two weeks away.

Mills said the inspiration to write her own play came from working on the set of Rams, a feature film starring Sam Neill and Michael Caton that was filmed in Mount Barker and surrounds.

“I thought about how I’d always wished that I could make something that comes from my imagination,” she said.

“After speaking with the PR coordinator on the Rams set, I decided to give it a go.

“It’s a delight to see my vision alive; my Players family have been so supportive.

“They say you can’t choose your family, but I disagree with that sentiment.”

You Heard What I Heard follows the story of Detective Danny Francis and his sidekick Longmire who investigate the circumstances surrounding a body found in the local industrial estate.

Mills promises it will deliver the regular Players mixture of laughs and gasps and be “the most baffling and unusual murder mystery of the year”.

You Heard What I Heard will play at the Plantagenet District Hall on June 14, 15, 21 and 22, and part proceeds from opening night will be donated to the Porongurup Community Association.

Tickets can be purchased at Mt Barker Scrap Shak on Langton Road.

Continue Reading

Stand-ups head down

FIVE big names in comedy are heading to Albany this week for a one-night-only performance from the Melbourne International Comedy Festival Roadshow.

Comedians Tom Cashman, Kirsty Webeck, Paul Williams, Xavier Michelides and Mawaan Rizwan will hit up the Albany Entertainment Centre on May 26.

The Project writer and comedian Xavier Michelides has performed across the country for many years and starred in No Show with Ben Russell and Maggie Look, podcast Tokyo Hotel and worked on You’re Skitting Me and ROVE live.

Described as a festival veteran, Michelides will bring his “unique brand of surreal character comedy” to Albany.

Newcomer to the comedic scene Paul Williams has already performed in four countries since 2016 and was nominated for two awards at the Melbourne and New Zealand International Comedy Festivals respectively.

He is “very sorry” if you don’t enjoy his work.

Straight from the UK, actor, comedian and writer Mawaan Rizwan will bring his sparkly tracksuit and confessional stand-up comedy to the show.

He shot to fame via his Youtube channel, where he landed his mother a Bollywood acting career by including her in his videos, as well as with his acting work, such as in BAFTA-winning television series DNN.

The final act on the bill will be Melbourne-based comedian Kirsty Webeck.

Webeck made her debut at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival in 2015 with her show Hoping for the Best and has since performed sell-out shows at the festival and Adelaide Fringe Festival.

Fellow Aussie comedian Tom Cashman will MC the evening.

Tickets are still on sale for this Sunday’s May 26 performance and can be purchased via the Albany Entertainment Centre’s website or at the box office.

Continue Reading

Tap show with bells and whistles

FORGET everything you thought you knew about tap dancing.

That’s the main message from creative director and cast member Jordan Pollard, who described his current work, The Tap Pack as full of “percussion, jokes, the greatest swing songs and being ridiculous most of the time”.

The modern twist on a tap dancing show will storm the Albany Entertainment Centre stage on July 2 and promises to keep audiences tapping their toes and singing along the whole night.

“This is old school cool from the new kings of swing,” Pollard said.

“There’s a lot of creativity and joy in this show and it’s really exciting.

“It’s completely different from the tap dancing we used to see in black and white movies.”

The Tap Pack was the brainchild of Pollard and fellow writers Jesse Rasmussen, Thomas J Egan and Nigel Turner Carroll five years ago.

The current cast consists of Pollard, Egan, Sean Mulligan and Tom Struik, who have each made a name for themselves in productions such as Westside Story, Singin’ in the Rain, The Boy From Oz and Jersey Boys.

Pollard’s love for tap started well before his professional career kicked off.

“My mum was a dance teacher, so I got put into tap when I was about five years old,” he said.

“And I stuck with it until the end of school, when I did my first professional production, Guys and Dolls.

“I just fell in love with tap and I have a real passion for it, but I didn’t realise it until I first entered the professional realm.”

It was upon working in professional productions that Pollard met his future The Tap Pack co-stars.

“We really wanted to create something with a lot of tap dancing,” he said.

“We had the idea of tap with music from the likes of Frank Sinatra and Gene Kelly, because they were massive icons for us.

“So, we combined a bit of these worlds and realised the glue of it all was us and being Australian, so we bring that larrikinism to the show.”

The Tap Pack has been touring for the past five years and Pollard said it has been going from strength-to-strength.

“It’s great entertainment, first and foremost,” he said.

“We’re forcing our way ahead which is really exciting.

“The show has been evolving over the past five years and we’re always trying new things.”

Pollard revealed the most asked question he and the ensemble often received was related to their fitness.

“People always wonder how we keep so fit,” he laughed.

“Because tap is a weird mix of cardio and short, sharp movements; it’s micro moving.

“It can be really strenuous but I would never say it’s a chore; it’s fantastic.”

Described as a mix of “slick humour, high energy entertainment and world class tap dance”, The Tap Pack will feature music from Sinatra and Sammy Davis Jr, to Michael Buble, Ed Sheeran and Beyonce.

Tickets to the family friendly show are on sale now via the entertainment centre’s website and box office.

Continue Reading