On 15th September, Guy Palmer gave a talk via Zoom on the history of modern art, from the mid 19th Century to today, covering the Impressionists, Post-Impressionists, Fauvists, Expressionists, Cubists, Surrealists, Abstract Expressionists and Pop Artists. Around 30 of our members attended.
On 18th August, Jim Connor, from the Eltham Historical Society, gave a talk via Zoom on the history of using earth to create various types of structures, extending from early days up to the more recent use of mud bricks for housing in Eltham and the surrounding area. Around 30 of our members attended.
Dianne Parslow was planning to run a few training sessions on Powerpoint but the coronavirus got in the way. So she has turned her session into a little online course. Just follow these instructions. When you have completed Part I of the instructions, you should have something that looks like this powerpoint presentation.
For some further tips, read this powerpoint presentation, remembering to select 'slide show' to show all aspects of this demonstration. Dianne is happy to give individual help via email (email@example.com) or phone (0434 986 424).
Our marketing activities
This blog summarises some of our marketing activities over the past few years.
Here is a video which covers many of the classes that we offer.
Today, 8th March, we received a $1,000 grant from Diamond Valley Railway, who are based in Eltham Lower Park.
After a brief ceremony during which they gave us the cheque and we gave a little speech of thanks, Cath Bauman (Secretary) and Guy Palmer (President) took a trip on one of the trains.
In total on the day, Diamond Valley Railway awarded grants of $20,000(!) to local community groups.
We had a table at the 2020 Healthy and Active Ageing Expo at Eltham High School (first picture).
We were one of around 50 tables at the event (second picture).
And some of us took part in the belly dancing session (third picture)!
Thanks to Gail Clayton for organising. Thanks also to Alan Clayton, Barbara Owen, Colleen Gardner, Gayle Considine, Joy Barham, Kay Bichard, Laraine Hussey, Pam Kemeys, Rex Paine and Yvonne Torrico for staffing our table.
Future half price days for our members include:
- The Songs of a Sentimental Bloke : Thursdays, 14th and 21st May.
- The Long Road: Thursdays, 10th and 17th September.
There is no need to book, just turn up on the night, say that you are from Nillumbik U3A, and pay for the half price tickets.
|On 30th January at Old Eltham Courthouse, an interested group of members attended an introductory course on how to use a defibrillator and perform CPR. Gail Clayton writes: “Health provider Bolton Clarke representative Raquel gave an excellent talk and demo and asked for group participation. After seeing a short video of ‘how not to do it’ by Mr Bean (see right), we learnt the correct method. Hopefully we never need to employ these life-saving methods, but if an incident should occur then some members should be able to step in and assist.“|
Thanks to Ken Wing Jan for organising and to Cath Bauman, Gail Clayton, Gayle Considine, Dianne Parslow, Graeme Forbes, Graham Parslow, Helen Beaumont, Jenny Taylor, Laraine Hussey, Leslie Rhys-Jones, Lilia Deschamps, Neil Taylor, Pat Rhys-Jones, Renato Deschamps, Rosemary Aitken and Suzanne McNally for helping out.
On 13th December, we had our fundraiser with an organisation called Tastepoint. The deal was that we provided 60 people to taste and rate various samples of lamb and they gave us $1,000.
One interesting aspect was that they absolutely wouldn't start the tastings until and unless we had our full complement of people. At one session, we were three people short so both sides just sat around waiting for what seemed like a substantial period of time. A few emergency phone calls and three extra people were drummed up.
Thanks to Cath Bauman for organising and to Debra Forbes and Maree Papworth for helping out. Also, thanks to the 60 of you who participated in the event.
Thanks to Lesley Wing Jan for organising, and to Debra Forbes, Gail Clayton, Gayle Considine, Ian Coulter, Ken Wing Jan, Pam Kemeys, Ros Camera and Sue Power for helping out.
In the middle of the event, 6 of our members got up onto the stage and sang the following "homage to our tutors and all who help run our U3A" (melody courtesy of Bob Dylan)
How many tutors does it take to successfully run our U3A?
How many classes to pursue, without running out of venues?
How many members can we inspire to help them find their thing?
From Mah-jong to Table tennis, Mind Games & Art
To Latin, History & Craft,
Just some of the classes our tutors provide,
Without them we would be kaput, without them we would be kaput!
CHORUS: The answer my friend is blowin' in the wind
The answer is blowin' in the wind.
From Guy's tireless drive, to Dianne's organising skills,
We couldn't run our classes at all,
And Lesley's publicity drive to keep us inspired
To grow with new members who've retired.
CHORUS: The answer my friend is blowin' in the wind
The answer is blowin' in the wind.
Let's not forget all the volunteers, who selflessly keep our boat afloat,
Whether working in the Office, kitchen or catering,
Manning stalls or helping with admin,
Your efforts are selfless and much appreciated your efforts are appreciated
As usual, the annual exhibition by the Eltham & District Woodworkers contained some works by U3A members, including a seat by Sue Bowles and a ukulele by Frank Camera.
Our main event for the 2019 Seniors Festival was a concert by the 100-strong Open Door Singers. They really are unique entertainment. As Lesley Wing Jan says: “around 120 audience members enjoyed listening to the choir, singing along to some of the songs, tapping their feet to the music and conversing over a cup of tea or coffee at the end of the performance” As the concert was sold out, we also made a profit. Thanks to Bill Naim for originally introducing us to the singers.
Many of you will know that the 2019 mudbrick tour took place during October and was centred on St Andrews. What you won’t know unless you actually went on the tour is that the star of the show was the house of one of our members, Catherine Chambers.
We would like to have more members from Diamond Creek. We would also like to make more use of the Diamond Creek Senior Citizens building. To help progress both objects, we organised a ‘mini expo’ at the Senior Citizens building, showcasing some of our classes and open to the public. Lesley Wing Jan again: “The event enabled some tutors and class members to explain, demonstrate and/or share what they do in their classes or activities. It was our first attempt at this type of event but the buzz in the venue was energising and some of our members enrolled in other classes as a result of seeing what is offered. We also had a few new people join. Thanks to everyone who contributed.
Around 30 of us were lucky enough to be given a guided tour of Montsalvat by Vincent Galante. This was an event for our members only. To quote Lesley Wing Jan: “This was a wonderful experience – even for those who thought they knew all there is to know about Montsalvat. Vincent provided fascinating insights into lives of the founders, the history and construction of the buildings and the features of the gardens.” Vincent has generously offered to conduct another tour next year. Thanks, Vincent!
We also had an information table on 7th and 10th October at the Discover On the Green Expo in Greensborough Plaza.
And we had a marquee at the Diamond Creek Rotary Town Fair on 14th September.
The hope is that these sorts of activities help to increase the community’s awareness of us – our purpose, activities and role in the community – as well as seeking out possible tutors and members. Thanks to everyone who contributed.
Gail Clayton writes in: “As part of the Seniors Festival, a display has been set up at the Diamond Valley Library. Many thanks to Gayle Considine for helping with the set up. The display will be there for the month and, hopefully, may encourage new members to join.”
Lesley Wing Jan writes in: “Our information marquee at the Diamond Creek Fair went well. The weather was perfect. We handed out lots of brochures and pamphlets. We did a lot of talking! 16 people signed up to receive our monthly bulletins. Thanks to Pam Kemeys for organising the roster, to John Stuyfbergen for lending us his gazebo, and to Alan Clayton, Gail Clayton, Gayle Considine, Jessie Apted, Judy Dauth, June Downs, Patricia Butcher, Sabi Buehler and Sonia Gatti for manning the marquee.“
A number of us gathered in the Old Eltham Courthouse for a morning tea that was organised by Dianne Parslow to raise funds for the Cancer Council. It was part of Australia’s Biggest Morning Tea initiative, during which thousands of organisations and individuals ran morning tea functions, all with the goal of gathering together over a cuppa and raising money to help beat the disease that affects so many people.
Australia’s Biggest Morning Tea is Cancer Council’s most popular fundraising event. Last year $12 million was raised to fund research, prevention and support services for those affected by cancer. Our event raised $308. Thanks to those who attended the event, who made donations to the cause, who provided the food, and who set up and packed up the venue.
Franciscus is one of Australia’s most enduring performers and writers in the medias of theatre, radio, music and television for children. Since making his first recording in 1971, he has recorded eighteen albums of music for children and two recordings for adults as well as two DVD’s.
Franciscus believes in the immense importance that music and play have in the lives of young children, enhancing their learning ability as well as bringing great joy and celebration.
Thanks to Gail Clayton for taking the lead in organising. Thanks also to Ann Douglas, Bronwyn Porter, Dianne Parslow, Eril Burgess, Gail Deeth, Guy Palmer, Helen Warden, June Downs, Lesley Wing Jan, Norman Wilson, Pam Kemeys, Peter Coutts, Rosemary Aitken, Suzanne McNally and Trish Weller for manning the stand.
The Open Door Singers wowed us again (by Debra Forbes)
Shaun Islip drew his wonderful Open Door Singers together for the our final musical event for the 2018 Seniors Festival.
The Eltham Community and Reception Centre has a magnificent auditorium and then a beautiful break out area overlooking the parkland to the reserve beyond. We had one hundred voices on stage in perfect harmony almost blowing the roof off with the power of their songs.
Shaun, with his engaging style, drew the audience into his web of engagement. It did not matter if it was a dance with one of the audience members, a solo performance by individuals of his choir, or the drawing the audience into the song of the moment. It was a truly uplifting experience.
The choir sang a vast repertoire of songs ranging from Nessun Dorma to Oh what a Night and everything in between. Singing in the Rain, a medley from West Side Story, Don’t Bring Me Down Bruce, Waterloo by Abba, and A True Friend from Muriel’s Wedding. The performance exceeded an hour in total and it was a delight to see the many happy faces leaving the auditorium to share the supplied afternoon tea, saying “wasn’t that wonderful“.
An engaging hour with chamber music and a recorder ensemble (by Graham Parslow)
Eltham High School is renowned for its music education and contributed four of its most promising string players to create a classical chamber orchestra group of two violins, a viola and cello. The music began with a lively Latin melody, La Mariposa composed by Lorie Baum. A more sedate selection of tunes followed, including part of a J.S. Bach concerto. The Eltham students finished with A Gaelic Overture by David O’Fallon. Allowing for the age and experience of the performers, it was a delight to see these potential virtuosos performing for us.
An ensemble of six far more mature players took the stage next to entertain with their recorders. We were told that we may have acquired an aversion to the humble recorder from indifferent experiences in primary school (and there seemed to be general agreement to that assertion). So it was that the Deepdene Dashers, named after the veteran train that served Deepdene for many years, took to their recorders to show us a quality of music that we may not have anticipated. The group were playing recorders that covered bass notes through to high treble. An outstanding item was a rendition of Calliope, a piece composed to mimic the timbre of the unusual Mississippi Steam Organ.
Synchrotron, Monash and food – all good things in life (by Pam Jenkins).
On Friday, 19th October, 21 intrepid adventurers travelled to the far reaches of Melbourne, well … Clayton, to inspect the Melbourne Synchrotron and the state of the art facilities at Monash University.
The day started with a little adventure for Rob, our wonderful bus driver, who had been supplied with 4 numbers of a 5-digit code to gain access to the bus. Luckily that problem was quickly resolved, and we were able to get away on time.
After signing in at the Synchrotron, there was no time for coffee as our presenter, Zoran Vasic, was there right on time to start our presentation. We gathered around a model of the Synchrotron where he gave us an explanation of what it is, what it does, and how it useful.
Simply put, the Synchrotron is a very large machine that speeds up electrons to almost the speed of light. As these electrons are deflected through magnetic fields, they create extremely bright light, one million times brighter than the sun. The various properties of the light are tuned to enable specific experiments to be performed utilising particular parts of the light spectrum. For example, when we were growing up we were told that most of the nutrients in our fruit and vegetables are held just under the skin; at the Synchrotron, we were shown a huge poster of a grain of barley graphically demonstrating that Mum and Dad were right … so we ordered whole meal baguettes for lunch.
We learned how scientists studying medicine, agriculture, mineral exploration, archaeology, animal conservation and art are among the many fields that have found that utilising the light source of the Synchrotron has sped up their research by weeks, months or even years.
After an enjoyable lunch at the Taste Baguette at Monash, Karen Coulston introduced us to her friend Professor Andrea Robinson. Andrea guided us through the newer areas of Monash University. Learning isn’t the same as it was when I went to Uni (and that was only 20 years ago). Students are now clustered around large desk/workstations with interactive white boards projecting lecture notes, questions, diagrams and explanations for all to see overhead in the centre of the room and all around the walls. If you can’t make it to a lecture, you can find it online either in real time or some other time … and you can pause and replay! Outside the lecture halls, there is built-in sound attenuation so that even when crowded you don’t have to shout above an echoing hubbub of voices. The halls are beautifully designed with curved hanging brick work and a stairway that looks like it is going straight up to the gods. There are many alcoves for socialising and collaborative learning. A far cry from the ordinary library of my day.
All in all, an awe inspiring day out.
A tribute band that rocked our souls in the bosom of Abraham (by Graham Parslow)
When you get to a certain age, some broad strokes of history become clearer. The post WWII baby boomers were the first ever generation born into an age when youth had a significant voice. That voice was loudest when raised in song. Bob Dylan wrote much of the script for the angst of a generation that saw what was wrong with the world in the 1960s. This earned him a Nobel prize for literature when hindsight showed how profound his words were (and continue to be). Peter Paul and Mary gave harmony and soul to many of the songs of faith, optimism and protest in the 1960s.
And so it was that a TARDIS from 1962 landed at the Eltham Bowls Club at 2pm on Sunday, 14th October. Out stepped a group titled The Don’t Think Twice Trio, aka Eric, Wendy and Janet. Eric teased perfect chords and arpeggios out of his guitar as Wendy added sonorities from her guitar. Janet surprised and delighted with her solo parts in a low register. In harmony they took us through songs that were mouthed in synchrony by the assembled audience of 60 souls, made young again as the song sheet of our youth flowed harmoniously around the hall.
Wendy treated us to some history that was a welcome guide to the context of the songs that we were hearing. Peter, Paul and Mary were formed in Greenwich Village New York in 1961. The trio was composed of tenor Peter Yarrow, baritone Noel Paul Stookey and alto Mary Travers (Mary Travers died in 2009 and Yarrow and Stookey continue to perform as a duo).
They recorded their debut album, Peter, Paul and Mary, in 1962. It included Lemon Tree, 500 Miles, and the Pete Seeger hit tunes If I Had a Hammer and Where Have All the Flowers Gone?. The album was listed in the Billboard Magazine Top Ten for 10 months, including seven weeks in the No. 1 position. It remained a main catalogue album for decades to come, eventually selling over two million copies. If I Had a Hammer and Blowin’ in the Wind came out of the 1963 March on Washington, best remembered for the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr.’s I Have a Dream speech. The Bob Dylan song Blowin’ in the Wind was one of their biggest hit singles. They also sang other Dylan songs including The Times They Are a-Changing and Don’t Think Twice, It’s All Right.
The songs I would like to highlight for particular mention, as rendered by The Don’t Think Twice Trio, are Early Mornin’ Rain, 500 Miles, Don’t Think Twice, It’s Alright, Lemon Tree, Day Is Done, All My Trials, If I Had A Hammer and Blowing In The Wind. The excellent afternoon tea and drinks from the bar completed a memorable day.
Did you know that it is ten years since Hurstbridge resident, Sabi Buehler, began the process of establishing Nillumbik U3A? She was joined by Laraine Hussey (who took on the role of Secretary), Colleen Gardener, Donna Kilgour, Doug Rutherford, Jill Holmes, John O’Connor, Suzanne Hay, and (a little later) Brian McLean. The first classes began in 2008 at the Community Centre in Hurstbridge.
To celebrate ten years of our organisation, we ran an information stall at the Hurstbridge Wattle Festival . The stall was set up in the Hurstbridge Community Hub.
This was the first outing for our new promotional video produced by Judy Vizzari (thanks, Judy!), which ran all day on a loop and showcased some of the courses on offer. We were able to display posters about our activities and chatted to the many visitors about our U3A.
We were determined to capture the interest of as many folk as possible so one brave, creative member (Gail Clayton) donned a sandwich board and eye-catching wig and wandered around the festival area. She certainly was noticed and she distributed our new brochure designed by Henry Haszler (thanks, Henry!).
At noon, we sang ‘happy birthday’ and a cake was cut. It was fitting to celebrate the birthday at Hurstbridge Hub because that was where the initial meeting to start Nillumbik U3A took place (then called Hurstbridge Community Centre).
By Debra Forbes.
This year, instead of having a thank you event for the tutors alone, our fundraising sub-committee thought it might be more fun and inclusive if we (the committee of Nillumbik U3A) ran a fundraising event that would embrace as many of our members as possible. To that end, Joy Barham and Lou Empson developed the idea of a Christmas Breakup Party of barefoot bowls, BBQ dinner and music which would thank our tutors, offer a Christmas breakup party for all, and raise some much-needed funds, all at the same time.
The barefoot bowls (you could wear your socks if you wished) started at 5pm and was overseen by a number of the Eltham Bowling Club members who guided the newbies on the green around the rules and practises of lawn bowls.
As the bowling concluded, the guests ambled to the club rooms and found themselves amongst many friends already mingling in the affable atmosphere of other U3A members. We had around 100 happy and ready-for-fun-and-entertainment participants.
The musical entertainment was supplied by Blue Tango, a local jazz duo from Research. They did a terrific job of blending their music into the background so that we all could enjoy both conversation and music whilst reconnecting with many U3A friends not seen for a while.
Dinner was a BBQ feast of chicken sticks, meat patties and sausages with baked potatoes and freshly made salads, plus a large selection of homemade desserts. The evening was presented by our Acting President, Guy Palmer. Guy has a calm manner and wit which he used very nicely on the podium.
We couldn’t have a Nillumbik U3A if it wasn’t for our tutors; they are the reason we exist and the very essence of our Association. We are blessed with both the calibre and quantity that we have. Guy thanked them for all their wonderful work done throughout the year. He then presented gifts to each of them. The gifts were all wrapped beautifully, all different sizes, no names on them and no idea what they contained – so the tutors got to choose their favourite shape: rectangle ones, round ones or square ones.
Guy also thanked our amazing office staff volunteers, again without whom our U3A would not exist. They are the very backbone of our association. They too were given a choice of rectangle, round or square gifts.
Next were the volunteers who assisted Joy and Lou to make this event the success that it was. These treasures of our association include Daryl McStravick, Debra Forbes, Fidel Panzera, Frank Camera, Joan McStravick, Joy Barham, June Crichton, Jude Panzera, Lou Empson, Pat Wallace and Ros Camera.
Lastly came the immense raffle: Joy & Lou had managed to secure a huge number of donations from local traders so the raffle winners had a great variety of items to choose from (they were not wrapped, so it was first in best dressed). A big thank you to these donors, namely: Bolton Street Fruit Market, Bunnings, Coles, Colin’s Place, Dekoda Store, Eltham Bookshop, Eltham Hotel, Irresistible Jewellery & Accessories, John & June Crichton, Lou Empson, McDonald’s, Old Evropa, Pavilion Menswear, Pierross, Priceline Pharmacy, Prosciutto Bros. Craft Bar, Samarkand Gallery, Skaterz Roller Skate & Blade Rink, Stephens Meats, Thompsons Pharmacy, Tip Top Butchers, and Woolworths. We encourage everyone to support these businesses as they have supported us.
From the outside, it looked seamless and without fault. On the inside, however, I happen to know that there was mild panic when the vegetarian meal offering could not be found and a race to buy replacement veggie burgers was made. Also, the water to the dish washer was not working and great fear started to develop that we would have to hand wash all that crockery and cutlery into the wee hours of the morning. But to the rescue, our superman of the moment, Fidel Panzera, put on his cape, found the problem, and got the dishwasher going again, much to the relief of everyone in the kitchen.
The volunteers were just terrific pitching in and giving their all. But it is pictures that tell a thousand words, so let us look at some photos from the evening. Thank you to all our tutors, our Office staff, the volunteers who helped on the night and, finally, to everyone who came. It was a truly a terrific event.
By Graham Parslow
A five piece band, an excellent buffet of food and good company collectively made this a memorable evening. The Diamond Creek Community Hall was ideal for nostalgic recollections of occasions in church halls and the like when the participants were much younger. The ninety guests, plus five band members, mixed easily together as people renewed associations and made new acquaintances. The schedule was firmly managed by Bill Naim as MC to ensure that everything went to plan. The orchestra took us down memory lane with “I’ve got a lovely bunch of coconuts” and many more tunes that took us through to the 1960s. We could have danced all night to “Moon River” and swayed to the “Girl from Ipanema“. Every number was a familiar tune. It was BYO and most guests brought their own favourite wine. It was a bonus knowing that Tony Lee, who led the band while playing saxophone or clarinet, is also a key contributor to U3A courses. Bill the MC also revealed his singing talent with a performance of “Granada” in a rendition that (as the song in English proclaims) was both romantic and gay. It was a great night for participation, setting up the tables, taking them down and having a great deal of fun in between.
by Debra Forbes
First, the singers. My job, after asking volunteers to control the refreshments, was to tend the door. But I had forgotten the U3A banner and I raced back to the OEC to retrieve it only to be horrified, on my return, to find the hall filling with people and that I had lost control of that door. Calm down, Debra, calm down – it was just all ‘the singers’ arriving early, lots of them, huge quantities of them. Shaun Islip had made a special request to his Open Door Singers that this was the premier event for the Seniors Festival and, if there was a choice from their personal calendars, then they needed to be at this event. It seems that they took the instruction to heart: instead of the expected 40 singers to provide us with the entertainment, we had 100 voices on stage and giving their all!
People who arrived early and holding the best seats were treated to extra delights from the singers as they warmed up their vocal chords and provided a good 20 minutes of song and a taste of the repertoire to come.
The room filled, Shaun steadied the singers and the audience, and the event began. The singers, 100 voices rose through the DCCC. If there was any melancholy in the room before this, it was immediately lifted as the voices of these 100 talented singers began their first song. The words of the songs were projected onto the facing wall to encourage audience participation and they did – even our Acting President, Guy Palmer, with his wife Susan, could be seen in the front row throwing their voices into the mix. Songs were drawn from popular music, contemporary favourites and some well-known classics such as You Made Me Love You, Mama Mia and You’ll Never Walk Alone, an amazing medley of songs – favourites from times perhaps more extroverted than now.
Some may remember Franciscus Henri of Hello Mr Whiskers fame, Hello Mr Whiskers came to our schools for our children and did impromptu songs, singing and writing sessions. Franciscus was there as both a chorus singer and a soloist and it was so amazing to hear the strength and depth of his voice.
Perhaps the highlight of the singing was Shaun’s presentation of a collection of songs from Les Miserables, in English. These songs were as moving and powerful as those presented in the musical theatre productions such as Hugh Jackson’s version of Les Miserables.
The afternoon ended everyone on their feet and many dancing to the final tune of Stay With Me.
At the end, door prizes were drawn, which was won equally by the choir and the audience, and there was a yummy afternoon tea for all.
The whole afternoon was terrific. Many, many thanks to the volunteers who came to specially help, the event would not be the success it was without you.
Finally, as a special treat for you, one of Shaun Islip’s helpers videotaped the event, edited it down to around 18 minutes, and placed it on YouTube. If you make it to the end, you’ll find Bill and I attempting a jive – in sneakers! Watch the video on YouTube.
Christine Nixon APM, Former Chief Commissioner of Victoria Police, was our guest speaker. She shared her experiences from entry into the police force as an 18-year-old female, how her career unfolded, her educational opportunities at Harvard University and the challenges that were presented as the Chief Commissioner Victoria Police. She also discussed her subsequent role as the Chair of the Victorian Bushfire Reconstruction and Recovery Authority and her current role as the Deputy Chancellor of Monash University.
On 26th February, 1917, the Original Dixieland Jazz Band walked into the Victor Studios in New York and recorded the very first recognised jazz recording of Livery Stable Blues. Exactly one hundred years later to the day, in the Barn Gallery at Montsalvat, the Syncopators, in front of a packed audience of 200 people, launched their new album The Pearls. The event was the brainchild of the originator and producer of the jazz festivals held at Montsalvat from 1988 through to 1995, Mal Harrop.
When car-parking problems arose at Montsalvat, Mal took the festival into the city and named it the Marvellous Melbourne Jazz Festival. The Melbourne International Jazz Festival, which continues to this day, owes its beginnings to those earlier festivals run by Mal, as does the Wangaratta festival. In welcoming the audience to the Syncopators concert, Mal’s co-tutor in the Jazz Appreciation class, John Crichton, spoke of Mal’s legacy and his desire to bring live jazz back into the north east of Melbourne.
Thanks to the 136 performers and the 500 plus audience members who took part in the program and also to St. Margaret’s Anglican Church for providing a great venue.
For the record, Trek musical launched the week with the maiden Melbourne performance of their opera ‘Such is Life’. Vocalist Janet Vague led ‘J and the Jazzmen’ under U3A member Tony Lee’s musical direction, while Tony also fronted a behind-the-scenes rehearsal and concert by the Diamond Valley Big Band. Franciscus Henri’s glimpse of life as an internationally recognised children’s entertainer, folk singer and composer through his music was a highlight, while the ubiquitous Tony Lee took the stage again with the Dandenong Ranges Big Band. The Diamond Valley Singers, directed by Maxine Lemcke with accompanist Ian Lowe, paid tribute to the music of Charles Schwartz. The program concluded with the 50 strong Diamond Valley Open Door Choir under maestro Shaun Islip in a near sell out finale.