Sunday, July 31, 2011

crowds flock to burrinja community opening

Saturday saw the official community opening of Burrinja Performing Arts Centre in Upwey. People came out in droves to look a the new theatre and gallery spaces.

Here I am pictured with long time Burrinja volunteer, Tracey who was keenly handing out brochures to everyone as they passed by.

Organisers had put together an amazing program to showcase the centre and there was something for everyone.

To start the days proceedings Aunty Dot Peters did the traditional welcome to country.

Next up was a presentation to Burrinja Executive Director, Ross Farnell. Ross and his team have done a tremendous job throughout the construction and the Committee of Management (of which I'm a member) thought it was important to recognise his efforts.

To kick off the perfomances in the theatre a community choir made up of choirs across the region, too many to name, sang as One Voice One Community. It was a fitting start, Burrinja exists because of the enormous support of our local community.

Local singer and choir leader, Barb McFarlane, led not only the community choristers but the audience too in beautiful group singing.

Suzanne Frisk did a great job keeping the singing going.

Chris Risely led local choir Sweet Sassafras in a great rendition of Beds are Burning to celebrate the landmark decision to award the Gunditjmara and Eastern Maar people native title rights in South Western Victoria.

Utassy Ballet School delighted onlookers with a mix of traditional and contemporary dance pieces. It was wonderful to see the potential the new theatre brings.

Last, but certainly not least, we were treated to a performance by the Nicholas Chamber Orchestra performing Peter and the Wolf with Derek Guille narrating the story. It was wonderful to experience this long time family favourite live in a theatre setting. Young and old alike were captivated.

It was a wonderful day, hundreds of community members were there to enjoy their brand new $9million facility. I feel immensely proud to have played a part in bringing this state of the art performance venue to the Dandenong Ranges.

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