Some choral magic on tour

Manning Valley Choral Society members (back row) Will Knight, George Dan, Ed Pearce, Tony Pike, (middle) Geraldine Mullin, Merrill Phillips, Sue LeStrange, Kay Lygoe, Kerrie Andersen, Jacqueline Roetman, Margaret Moon, (front) Kim Billingham (director), Joan Saxby (accompanist) Robyn Rankin, Liz Tilson and Rowena Meldrum (director). Absent are Beverley Cox, Ruth Crossman, Sheila MacLeod Green, Anne Parish and Merri Rumble. Below:?Tony Pike, George Dan, Will Knight and Ed Pearce with accompanist Joan Saxby.

Rowena Meldrum, Jacqueline Roetman, Kay Lygoe and Sue LeStrange with accompanist Joan Saxby.

Rowena Meldrum, Merrill Phillips, Kerrie Anderson, Margaret Moon, Geradline Mullin and Liz Tilson with accompanist Joan Saxby.

MAGIC, mirth and musicality are blended in this year’s vocal offering from the Manning Valley Choral Society.

The group has created a themed performance, featuring the musical magic of the night, life, nature, music and love, assembling a variety of popular and well-loved choral pieces, sure to delight every age and stage.

Each segment features massed choir, solo and small group/duet assemblages, with delightful interpretations and characterisations.

Laugh at the Prima Donna, swoon at the sensual One Enchanted Evening, be moved by Fantine’s performance of I Had a Dream, and join in much loved choruses from Sound of Music, Oliver and Doctor Doolittle.

The special event of the evening is a real life magician, ready to pop the rabbit out of the hat and astound the audience with his magical prowess!

Conducted by Mrs Kim Billingham, with narration by the bard of Taree, Mr David Billingham, with accompaniment by the dynamic Joan Saxby, the Church of Christ venue provides an intimate and acoustically friendly location for such a performance.

Following the previous performance in Taree last month, the Magical Mystery Tour will stop at Killabakh Community Hall at 2pm Saturday July 19, Harrington Waters Church at 2pm on Sunday July 20, Tinonee Memorial Hall at 2pm on Saturday July 26 and Tuncurry Beach Bowling Club at 2pm on Sunday July 27.

This is a show not to be missed, full of wonder, excitement and magical mystery for the whole family.

Tickets at the door, $10 adults, $20 family, $8 concession (pensioners and children over seven). Kindy and under – free.

Supper and afternoon tea will be available.

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Dance entries make Wellington’s Eisteddfod the best

Local dancers are excited about this years big eventThe dance section of the Wellington Eisteddfod has dwarfed that of both Dubbo and Mudgee with more than 1800 entrants set to take to the stage.

Now dancers from as far as Lithgow will be looking to take part in one of the strongest competitions in the region.

It’s a far cry from the days when locals had to go to Dubbo or Orange to perform.

Wellington Dance Academy principal Doreen Thompson was on the committee when the Wellington Eisteddfod began 38 years ago and has watched it go from strength to strength ever since.

She believes Wellington’s reputation as a friendly eisteddfod is what has kept people coming back across the years.

“It was exciting and difficult. Back then we didn’t know what we were doing and finding adjudicators wasn’t easy,” she said.

These days she is kept busy with her dance students; an extra day has been added into the dance schedule and Wellington alone has 20 group entrants as well as 60 to 70 solos.

“You still watch with your heart in your mouth, hoping they won’t make mistakes,” she said.

“It is very important for the children. It gives them a lot of self-confidence, stage experience and life experience really.”

“They start out as shy little people and it’s wonderful to see them grow in confidence.”

The eisteddfod starts July 29 with the speech and drama section which continues until July 31.

The dance section runs from August 2 to 10 and the vocal and instrumental section from August 12 to 14.

The grand concert will be on August 17 at 1.30pm.

For enquiries please call 6845 4434.

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Gordon has hit list of new ideas for Mid North Coast development

LORRAINE Gordon has been appointed as the new CEO of Regional Development Australia (RDA) Mid North Coast.

RDA Mid North Coast is about encouraging sustainable economic development across our region, growing our industries and creating more jobs.

As CEO, Lorraine will provide leadership and strategic direction as the organisation looks to new opportunities.

“To achieve growth in our region we need to challenge the process, inspire a shared vision and enable others to act,” Lorraine explains. “Ultimately, it’s about nurturing an environment that creates jobs.”

When it comes to economic development, Lorraine acknowledges there is a risk in trying to be all things to all people.

“RDA needs to ensure we are working where we can make a difference and secure some wins for our region. This is our chance to try some different approaches. Indigenous art and tourism, food manufacturing and renewable energy supply are some of the opportunities I’m keen to explore.”

Lorraine has 28 years of extensive industry experience and qualifications in business, leadership, management, governance and capacity building throughout Australia. Prior to joining RDA, Lorraine was managing director of Moffat Falls Pty Ltd which operates a number of tourism, health and agricultural businesses throughout the Mid North Coast and New England regions of NSW. Throughout her career, Lorraine has worked in a wide range of industry sectors such as agriculture, tourism, health, government and education and believes her broad industry experience is one of the reasons she was selected for the role of CEO.

“I look forward to working closely with local leaders in the coming months to see what initiatives we can bring forward to generate more job opportunities for our region.”

RDA Mid North Coast is a not for profit organisation that exists to be an effective conduit between governments and the communities that make up the region. The Mid North Coast covers the local government areas of Greater Taree, Port Macquarie Hastings, Kempsey, Nambucca, Bellingen, Coffs Harbour and Lord Howe Island. RDA Mid North Coast is a joint Australian and NSW government initiative.

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China: Julie Bishop comments that sparked Beijing’s rebuke ‘never’ made

Australia foreign minister Julie Bishop: Beijing now suggests her comments made to Fairfax which drew a sharp rebuke in Chinese media were bogus. Photo: Ken IrwinOn Monday, China’s most popular tabloid, The Global Times, blasted Australian Foreign Affairs Minister Julie Bishop as a “complete fool” for telling Fairfax Media that she would stand up to China in defence of Australian values. Ms Bishop’s comments were originally published in Thursday’s The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald. However, late on Tuesday night, on the eve of China’s highest-ranking general arriving to meet Australia’s top brass and Prime Minister Tony Abbott, China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs denied that Ms Bishop said any of those offending remarks at all. In a remarkable statement provided in Q&A form, the ministry’s spokesman, Hong Lei, suggested that it was Australian diplomats who had informed them that the interview was bogus:  Question: Australian media, such as The Age carried reports on remarks made by the Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop in an interview. She said that China does not respect weakness, adding that Australia should stand up to China. What is China’s comment on that? Answer: The Australian side has clarified that with the Chinese side through diplomatic channel, saying that the Australian Foreign Minister has never made … such remarks. The official denial claimed by China clashes with the on-the-record comments made by Ms Bishop to Fairfax, which were recorded during the interview. The contradiction appears to be a combination of eagerness on both sides to smooth the relations combined with an old-fashioned diplomatic botch-up. After the Chinese government’s denial that the internationally controversial interview happened, the denial was immediately reported by state news agency Xinhua and party-mouthpiece The China Daily and circulated widely on social media. The Xinhua story ran under the headline “Australia denies willingness to confront China”.  The English-language editorial criticising Ms Bishop in The Global Times remains online, as well. The “complete fool” description was in the Chinese version, which also remains online. Neither Ms Bishop nor her office have raised any queries about the report in question.  The source of the mystery may lie in an interaction that took place between senior diplomats at the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) on Thursday. It is understood that the Chargé d’affaires at the Chinese embassy, Xue Bing, was told that “the minister could not have said those things, or words to that effect”. On Monday, Fairfax attempted to clarify this exchange by contacting the head of DFAT’s North Asia desk, Peter Rowe. It received this departmental statement, instead: “Senior departmental and Chinese Embassy officials held a routine meeting late last week. The discussions were cordial and useful.” Following are excerpts from the interview recordings:Bishop: China doesn’t, China doesn’t respect weakness. Garnaut: That’s interesting, you think you lost nothing from that? Bishop: No.  Garnaut: The idea that “we have to choose” has been proved wrong? Bishop: Absolutely. …Garnaut: I look at all these dynamics, I look at … Australia’s been very instrumental in tightening security relationships, intelligence sharing, with Japan, India, Indonesia, Vietnam, Philippines, Thailand, you know, it’s all there, and that’s partly in response to the possibility of conflicts going wrong with China. Bishop: Well, we’re pragmatic and we’re realistic. We know that the optimum is deeper engagement … but we’re also clear-eyed about what could go wrong. And so you have to hope for the best but manage for the worst. …Bishop: I feel that under the previous governments (Rudd/Gillard/Rudd) there was a level of incoherence about Australian foreign policy.  And there were not clear statements of where Australia stood on particular matters. And I was determined to ensure that Australia’s foreign policy was well understood and it was predictable in the sense that if an issue occurred people knew where Australia would stand on it. I don’t mean predictable in a sense that you would always know what Australia is going to do. I just meant that when it came to our values, and our beliefs, we were true to them. So I think that foreign policy under the Coalition is designed to project and protect our reputation as an open market export oriented economy; and so all we do and say supports those values we have on the economic front, and our values as an open liberal democracy committed to rule of law, committed to freedoms, and committed to international norms and being a respected international player. So, when something affects our national interest then we should make it very clear about where we stand and not be ambiguous. 

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