Manning Winter Festival "outstanding success"

Cellist and former local Michael Bardon was the special guest performer at Sinfonia's concert, which marked the official opening of the Manning Winter Festival. Retiring Sinfonia conductor James Hannah joins other musicians and the audience in applauding his performance. Ashley Cleaver photo.

Cellist and former local Michael Bardon was the special guest performer at Sinfonia's concert, which marked the official opening of the Manning Winter Festival. Retiring Sinfonia conductor James Hannah joins other musicians and the audience in applauding his performance. Ashley Cleaver photo.

Cellist Michael Bardon, harpist Marshall McGuire and oboist Ben Opie perform the world premiere of a musical piece written by composer Andrew Chubb especially for the Manning Winter Festival. The performance was part of the Visual and Performing Arts Awards celebration. Julie Slavin photo.

Cellist Michael Bardon, harpist Marshall McGuire and oboist Ben Opie perform the world premiere of a musical piece written by composer Andrew Chubb especially for the Manning Winter Festival. The performance was part of the Visual and Performing Arts Awards celebration. Julie Slavin photo.

The Manning Winter Festival committee: Rob Stephens, Susie Rack, Mave Richardson, Val Audet, Don Macinnis, Mon Saad, Catherine Jeffree and George Hoad. Julie Slavin photo.

The Manning Winter Festival committee: Rob Stephens, Susie Rack, Mave Richardson, Val Audet, Don Macinnis, Mon Saad, Catherine Jeffree and George Hoad. Julie Slavin photo.

THE Manning Winter Festival is being hailed an "outstanding success".

An exhausted but elated festival president, George Hoad, is pleased the community embraced the many events on the program with well in excess of 5000 people attending one or more over the two weeks.

Drawcard events included two concerts at St John's Anglican Church; the Sinfonia's Farewell Tribute showcase and then Music over the Manning which featured performances by the Kantabile Chamber Choir and outstanding visiting musicians. Full houses were attracted on both occasions.

"They were spectacular and Music over the Manning could have been at the Opera House. It was outstanding," said George.

The Isabella Kelly play at Wingham was sold out with 300 audience members and another sell out was the Akoostik Festival line-up announcement featuring Bill Chambers.

George said a major festival highlight was the world premiere performance of a musical piece composed by former local and composer Andrew Chubb and performed by Michael Bardon, Ben Opie and Marshall McGuire at the Visual and Performing Arts Awards.

The piece, commissioned by the festival committee, was "outstanding".

Awards were presented to Bruce Wiseman (performing arts award), Peter Schouten (visual arts award) and Dennis Phillips (special arts award).

"I don't think anyone could argue that they were all very worthy recipients."

The festival went out on a high with Art in the Garden at George's Killabakh property Winchelsea Gardens, attracting more than 1000 visitors.

This was the first Manning Winter Festival that George has taken on the president's role for and he feels the committee has certainly achieved its aims, which included to lift the profile of the festival within the community and to make it a truly Manning event.

Activities were held as far as Mount George, Hannam Vale, Killabakh, Upper Lansdowne as well as in the centres of Wingham and Taree.

"To me, it has been a great success."

Events across the two weeks included something for everyone and every age group from chalk drawing on the pavement and writing competitions for younger people to the events for serious music, theatre and visual arts lovers.

The festival was also accessible with most of the events either free or inexpensive. "Part of our brief was to nurture young talent in the Man ning and we've certainly achieved that and to celebrate the talents of local artists."

The committee will get together for a wrap meeting in coming weeks.

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