Rotary clubs of the Manning Valley cocktail party

It was truly amazing night, and it raised more than $27,000 for the Manning music program in schools.

Organised by the Rotary Clubs of the Manning Valley, the Christmas cocktail party was held on the stage of the Manning Entertainment Centre.

“What a blast,” said Murray Difford, Rotary Assistant Governor for the MidCoast area. “There we are finally onstage at the Manning Entertainment Centre sipping wine, enjoying delicious finger food from Rotarian Julie-Ann Booth (Centrepoint Café) and musicians and dancers appear from nowhere in our midst. Just amazing”

“The crowd parted to enable nine-year-old Elly Sievert followed by Mia Paske, aged 12, to dazzle us with their dancing. Jodi Cooper backed by Tanya Brown blew us away with ‘I Dreamed a Dream’ from Les Miserables (to be produced locally at the MEC next year),” said chair of the Rotary ACMF Committee Maurie Stack.

“Suddenly Tim Gibbs from Port appeared in the wings and moved amongst the crowd on stage with an electrifying performance of Phantom of the Opera. And then Cassidy Donovan finished off the cocktail party with ‘I Think It’s Gonna Rain Today’.

“We are so indebted to Jeremy Miller and Tanya Brown for putting it together.

“Then we all moved off the stage and sat back to watch a fabulous array of popular music arranged for the classical musicians of the Kaleidoscope Pops Orchestra by maestro conductor George Ellis with singers Lisette De Gray, Jodi Cooper, Michael Standen and Terry Grant and Mitchell Brown on clarinet,” Maurie said.

“You have such a talented and friendly community,” George Ellis said. “I have never experienced a cocktail party with entertainment on stage before – you may have started something for Sydney!”

Maurie, in thanking the generous sponsors, announced that the event had raised more than $27,000 for the Manning Music Program of the Australian Children’s Music Foundation – ensuring that our talented local musicians Jake Davey, Stuart Lovell, Brad Bunyan and next year Matt Zarb will continue to share the magic of music with students at Taree High, Chatham High, Manning Gardens, Taree Public and Chatham Primary Schools.

A sad part of the evening was the announcement that the MC for the evening and very popular MEC manager Jeremy Miller is leaving us. Jeremy has accepted a position as executive director of Monkey Bar Theatre based at Darling Harbour which for 21 years has toured the world with children’s theatre such as Pete the Sheep. “Our big loss but their big gain.”