People with a purpose

Broadly Speaking - 22 August 2017

Last Tuesday’s meeting gave me the opportunity to thank Past President Glenn and all members of the Rotary Club of Bendigo for their practical and financial support to the Bendigo Youth Choir.   A generous donation of $10,000 kick-started our fund-raising efforts and assisted us to raise $52,000 to get 15 excited young choristers to a once-in-a lifetime experience of singing in Carnegie Hall, New York.   Together with Associate Artistic Director/Conductor,Gail Godber, I spoke about the trip and the effect it had on the lives of the young participants.     Our young singers joined other youngsters from Colombo, Venezuela, Indonesia, and several choirs from across the States, to present the Premiere performance of ‘La Avispa Brava’ (the Angry Wasp) to a packed house.  Some of the children were barely 10 years old and the performance was electric, vibrant and joyous.   Dressed in wasp costumes with bobbing antennae

and quivering wings, the children sang in fluent Spanish, whilst at the same time performing synchronised eurhythmic choreography involving body percussion.   We discovered that there is a difference in the pronunciation of South American Spanish and European Spanish!   The 25 minute work was composed by Venezuelan Composer, Alberto Grau – a quiet, humble man – to celebrate his 80th birthday and was conducted by Maria Guinand, an extremely vivacious Venezuelan Conductor who turned out to be his wife.   Both are internationally renowned, highly respected musicians.   In four days of intense rehearsal, our children worked very hard and we were proud of their efforts.   They were wonderful ambassadors for Australia, Bendigo, the choir and their families – and they grew as we watched.

The performance elicited a standing ovation such as we have never experienced before and are unlikely to ever experience again.  As one, the capacity audience rose to its feet with a roar, somewhat resembling the roar at a football grand final, and they clapped, whistled and shouted ‘Bravo’ for a very long time.   It was totally overwhelming and Gail and I walked out on the stage of Carnegie Hall in the middle of that euphoria, along with the Directors of the other choirs, to accept and acknowledge the acclamation.    Never to be forgotten.   The entire group – choirs, organisers and special guests were then treated to a magnificent banquet at an extremely high class restaurant where we were entertained with a delightful, impromptu performance from the Indonesian Choir.

We then had 2 days to ‘see New York’ and packed in as much as was physically possible.    Highlights included a visit (by subway) to the 9/11 Memorial and The World Trade Centre – and seeing Tim Minchin’s latest musical, ‘Ground Hog Day’.    Thank you so much Rotary. 

We were saddened to hear of the death of Rotarian Dowell Mitchell from the Rotary Club of Sandhurst after a long illness and extend to his immediate family and his

Rotary family our deepest sympathy.

 Julie Sloan announced that we will participate in Stroke Awareness week from the 4th – 8th September – date to be advised.   This is an opportunity for each of our members and their partners to have blood tests and risk assessments done by fully qualified nurses (from within our Club).   Please let Julie know if you would like to be included in this program.

Libby Hughes and Peter Reading from our Membership Committee also launched a survey to assess the health of our Club.   Forms are available on line and Peter will send each member the link to follow.  If anyone requires a hard copy let either Libby or Peter know.     We ask that everyone please give us their opinion – anonymously if they choose.  It won’t take long and the results will form a useful tool for our Club.    Results will also be announced to members when collated.

A reminder about the Foundation Dinner at the Kangaroo Flat Sports Club on November 30th – please mark the date in your diary. 

Reminder to all Board Members.  District Governor Peter Frueh and Anne will be visiting us on Tuesday, September 5th.  Time yet to be confirmed but possibly

at 12 noon.   Would all members of the board please prepare a report.  

Word of the day was ‘Merrythought’ – a bird’s wishbone.   Again the only ‘winner’ cheated and looked it up.  

Our Guest Speaker next week will be Jason Priestly.    Are you on duty that day?

Please come along, enjoy stimulating company, a congenial atmosphere and the opportunity to serve our community through Rotary – and ‘may the sun shine warm upon your face and the wind be always at your back’.



President Valerie.  

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