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President's Report for the 2022 Calendar Year

It felt quite peculiar for such a newly elected President to preside over this milestone 40th year for the Millmerran Arts Council. At first, I likened it to the old theatre adage of being seen to steal the limelight from more prominent cast, or in this case, committee, and long-time members. 

Turned out not to be like that at all! Rather it was an incredible honour to put the people and the work of the Arts Council in the limelight, all the while, learning about forty years’ worth of arts experiences and entertainment brought to the community by the many creative individuals that call Millmerran, or its surrounds, home. It was also a masterclass in the Arts Council’s past endeavours and paved the way for the current committee to discuss what’s possible in future. 

As we closed the 2022 year, we started to discuss the Arts Council’s mission, with the focus on our role in engaging more community members to connect with their creative side. We’ve been researching new touring productions that will excite our youngest of audiences, reaching out to the schools in the process, as well as reviewing a wide range of workshops that provide all adults an opportunity to try something new. We welcome you to be part of these ongoing conversations by reaching out to any of our committee members or coming along to a meeting in 2023.

Behind the scenes in 2022, our committee have set up six exhibitions with a wonderful array of local artist works on display at the Millmerran Library. We expect there is much more hidden artistic talent in our community and enough to put on over twelve exhibitions a year, if only our library returned to more opening days in a week post-pandemic. Something we continue to advocate for whenever we can. 

The local artists across Millmerran Arts Council’s 2022 library exhibitions were Shirley Wilkins (pottery, glasswork, and quilting), Matthew and Danica Black (photography), Lynette Haslam (three generations of handwork), Cheryl Fowler (watercolours), Lyndell ‘Tooty’ Bowden (hand painted, stitched, and quilted fabric), Clymene Page (ceramics and tapestries), and Tim Ballinger (photography).

In early June, our committee members braved the elements and joined forces with many community groups to support the Museum in delivering the postponed annual Yallambee Mother’s Day markets. Our bit was cooking up some nice hot donuts, a welcomed snack for all those that also braved the elements. We thank St Joseph’s School for the loan of their donut machine and Rocky Creek Hall for the provision of donut pre-mix. All proceeds were donut-ed, I mean donated to the Yallambee Auxiliary.

The Millmerran Arts Council are very passionate about ensuring part of its annual program provides an opportunity for community to come together, see, listen, and learn of our rich cultural heritage from our First Nations Peoples. In July, our first presentation of live music without any Covid-restrictions for some time, was Roger Knox and The Euraba Band. It was also the time that airlines were getting back on their feet, and one of the many flight cancellations left our leading man, Roger Knox, delayed in Canberra after attending the NAIDOC Ball. The Euraba Band held the stage until Roger arrived to perform an encore set in the late afternoon. All attendees enjoyed the afternoon and commented that it was the first time they’d been to a live music event since before the pandemic. They welcomed an afternoon event, that took advantage of The Mill Inn hospitality and the beer garden sunshine. Roger also took time to get photos, sign posters and talk to many who have become fans of his music and that of his family members who perform in The Euraba Band.  

With the return of the Australian Camp Oven Festival, we again enjoyed our role in bringing a night of entertainment to the Cultural Centre. This year, we presented The Candy Shop Show with Speakeasy. The saucy and sassy night of talented singing and dancing attracted a slightly smaller than capacity audience for various reasons. We do however have a strong desire to seek out unique live entertainment options to support future Camp Oven events and provide a great night of entertainment in the late September of festival years for our locals.

Given the Arts Council’s Fortieth Anniversary year, it would not have been complete without a little celebration. Turns out we were all ready for something a bit bigger. The Volz family at The Mill Inn worked with us to deliver an elegant luncheon for 90 guests at Carallen Place on 14 August. Toowoomba’s Paul Hendon Trio provided a sublime backdrop of jazz music. It was a fabulous reunion for many past and present committee, members, artists, and patrons. 40 years’ worth of storytelling was entertainingly shared by long standing past President Nell Macqueen. She was deservingly bestowed the Millmerran Arts Council’s first life membership for her passionate contributions to the Arts in Millmerran.  Christine Turner prepared a pictorial masterpiece on-screen showcasing 40 years’ worth of Arts Council history complemented by a souvenir placemat for each guest. Teena Wilcock, who also spoke, summed it up most succinctly, “40 years of Arts Council in Millmerran – with Nell McQueen at the helm…no wonder it’s been one hell of a ride!”

 

Like with many of our events this year, our 40th celebrations were well promoted by local media, The Pittsworth Sentinel, and the Millmerran & District News. Millmerran Power Station also supported the 40th event.

Last but certainly not least, we received record financial support from the Doug Hall Foundation and DA Hall & Co in 2022. Without these valuable contributions across many years, it’s certain the Arts Council would not have sustained such a breadth of productions and events for our community. Likewise for the time, ideas, creative contributions, and occasional culinary delights volunteered by our dedicated committee members Nell Macqueen, Fie de Wilde, Pat Taylor, Connie Hain and our Treasurer Sheryle Rogers, Deputy Treasurer Eileen Walker, Secretary Leanne Brittan and Vice President and Exhibitions Officer Lyndelle Pfeffer.  

                                              

Signing off on this my first year of the Arts Council’s stellar 40 years.

 

Angela Slater, President, Millmerran Arts Council

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President’s Report for the 2021 Calendar Year

 

We ended 2020 knowing that the Covid experience was behind us. After all we had had a successful Cabaret and a highly successful Pop-Up Shop!! Oh well………Maybe this year, 2021!!

Nevertheless we filled the year with a variety of entertainment-related activities. The idea of the Community Support Centre Meet and Greet was a good one, but with a lot of effort wasted possibly because of the time. However Pat Taylor devised and distributed a questionnaire to test what people wanted: some insights there.

Our Library continued in a state of indecision, and now the only change has been to open it on Thursday because that is the Fruit Man’s Day! Still only three days a week though, and I suspect it will stay that way. Because of the three-day week we have kept our Exhibitions two-monthly. What a wonderful line-up we have had!! Nancy Hegarty and her fine Folk Art, Chris Moreno (our NAIDOC Week speciality) and her family story along with her vibrant rocks and wood works, Ian Park with his model buildings and scenes, Edwina Osborne and her fine bright-eyed animal portraits, and Shirley Wilkins’s wonderful variety of pottery, glass works and quilts. Our wider Community is full of amazing talent, and it is good that we can “Show them off”!

Covid continued to lean on us, but the Yallambee Mother’s Day Markets were great at the Museum. Our normal involvement with a stall and providing the Stage and Music was not needed, so we supervised some of the buildings, since the Historical Society personnel were scarce! The setting was good, the stalls were successful, and it is proposed we do it again in 2022, as a combined effort of the Historical Society, the Yallambee Auxiliary, and the Arts Council.

We hosted an Afternoon Tea at the Bowls Club, with the High Altitude Harmony boys from Toowoomba who, as before, were good. The attendance was down but it was a pleasant afternoon spiced by our superb cooking!

Splash Test Dummies SHOULD have been as popular as they were a couple of years ago, but sadly the attendance was poor. The workshop was most engaging for the dozen or so enthusiastic participants. This experience caused us to do much advertising soul-searching, and there IS more we can do!

With online booking and advertising we again looked into the card reader/payment system…. It’s easy they said!! And so it (sort of) was!! It was put to the test at the CampOven entertainment, Barleyshakes……and it worked!! Barleyshakes filled the Cultural Centre to its Covid allowed capacity, and as often with Irish performances there were some ‘incidents’, but by far the saddest was our Secretary’s slipping and badly damaging her knee when taking food to our performers backstage. We are indeed grateful to the Village Caravan Park for giving free accommodation to two performers while the other three were billeted with Committee members.  We are prompted to review ticket pricing: always a hard one.

The MAC of course is sponsored by the D. A. Hall Foundation. The Hall family is renowned for its generosity to the Millmerran Community. The Millmerran Arts Council is indeed grateful. This has allowed us over the last few years to make some marvellous shows for children free. Fortunate children!

This year, 2022, marks 40 years of the Millmerran Arts Council, which began life at a large public meeting called by Viv Saal and the Millmerran Shire Council in April 1982 to find the best ways to make good use of our brand new Community and Cultural Centre! As the result of a motion from myself and seconded by Heather Ezzy it was moved that Council set about forming a Branch of the Queensland Arts Council. Our Branch was the only recorded Branch to have been begun by a Shire Council! Good old Millmerran Shire Council……..Those were the days! Our first meeting was on May 6th with Paul de Daunton as Secretary and Peter McCashney as Treasurer. John Schmidt, the Principal of the State School, was President, and we met for a year or two in the Shire Chambers. Our Arts Council has evolved quite vigorously since then to being a stand alone presenter of entertainments, workshops and Exhibitions. Mostly our Committees have been enthusiastic. This has certainly been the case of the past 10 years when we have been experimenting and trying new approaches. I want to thank especially our latest 2021 Committee, and look forward to our new 2022 Committee which has already new entertainments planned, and I am hoping even a little celebratory party when Covid loosens its grip!!

Nell Macqueen, January 2022

President's Report 2020:

I begin this report with a call for Working Committee assistance. There is so much to do and our Committee members need help to thin out the workload:  an Assistant Secretary? an Assistant Treasurer? an Assistant President?  Jobs such as Publicity Officer, Schools Liaison Officer, someone to assist with booking of shows... apprentices!  It is all interesting, and we have been known to have a lot of fun!!

 

Our "Exhibition Hangers" in the Library are marvels!!  This year our exhibitors have been: Cecelia Kreig (paintings), Debbie Dieckmann (various art works, jewellery etc), Rebecca Perrin (family war photos and stories), Barbara Nimmo (bears), Millmerran Tuesday Quilters, works by State School and St Joseph's students, Nancy Sayers (pastels), Toowoomba Regional Council "Crates" (new and interesting works, Trudie Brooks (digital and watercolour works).  What a variety!! And our programme for 2020 will be just as much fun!! Lyndelle Pfeffer is a whiz at seeking out talent.

 

In February we hosted the annual Regional ArTour Showcase of possible future shows. This coincided with the floor of the Cultural Centre Auditorium being partially pulled up and levelled not just until Anzac Day as forecast, but for 6 months!

 

Our Cabaret, "Up, Up, and Away" had to be re-scheduled twice, and was finally held on July 27th... and what a fun night! It seems Father Thomas had a great birthday! We look forward to presenting "Sugar, Sugar" during Camp Oven Week, another Jenny Usher/Candy Shop Show performance.

 

Meanwhile we again presented the Broxburn Country Music Club at the Yallambee Mother's Day Markets, and we paid for the stage, and we ran a Trash and Treasure Stall with a great raffle quilt prize given by Raelene Antonio. The Millmerran Arts Council has a 35-year history of supporting Yallambee.

 

High Altitude Harmony, the singing blokes from Toowoomba, was engaged for a May Mothers Afternoon Tea at the Bowls Club. What a superb and happy Sunday arvo!   We are not just a Bunch of Good-Lookers, but we are also marvelous cooks!

In August, Jens Altheimer was back after 2 years with "Loose Ends", an incredible show of puppets and science for young children. The students of St. Joseph's thoroughly enjoyed the morning workshop of amazing Causes and Effects which Jens had them set up themselves with balls, weights, slopes and trips all around the Anzac Room. Thanks to the D. A. Hall Foundation both the workshop and performance were presented free of charge.

 

September found us presenting "Charlotte's Web", produced by Ruth Atkinson of Toowoomba, on behalf of the Toowoomba Regional Council and the Regional Arts Development Fund. (Ben Tupas, at our last AGM had told us that RADF would now be used FOR us by the TRC!!) This was patronised and enjoyed by 100. Excellent for the school holidays!!

 

Being on a roll, we presented the Chris Cook Band again at the Rocky Creek Hall. Wonderful music, but for a myriad of reasons, this was not so well supported.

 

Christine Coles (Turner), came on board just when we were not knowing where to turn to produce a Banner and new Logo. She is unstoppable, and we have been so fortunate. Well, you have seen the correspondence for this AGM, and now, our banner! She has offered to take on the website, and Brian Sayers has readily agreed. We have been indebted to Brian for such a long time for taking on all these digital things which we could not manage, as well producing eye-catching posters. Thank you Brian.

 

We are now amazed to be involved in a Residency of members of the Queensland Symphony Orchestra in March. This will involve workshops with School Musos from Millmerran, Brookstead, Cecil Plains and Pittsworth, as well as community members. Simon and Gayle Hall initiated this and are sponsoring it. Watch out for advertising for the Community Concert on Tuesday, March 24th.

 

We are indeed grateful to the D.A. Hall Foundation, our major sponsors who have shouldered and made light our financial commitments.

 

So... you see why the Millmerran Arts Council needs more and younger brains and hearts and arms and legs to cruise into 2020!

 

Thank you all, Nell Macqueen, January 2021

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