So said Her Excellency, the Honourable Margaret Beazley AC KC, Governor of NSW, in her address on Friday 2 June at the launch of the newly refurbished Bowral Memorial Hall. With the cutting of the red ribbon, Her Excellency officially opened the doors to a whole new chapter in cultural experiences to come, for Wingecarribee Shire.
“The ceremonial opening of a building gives us an occasion to reflect upon why community buildings matter. This is even more so with the re-opening of a heritage building because a re-opening provides a community with new and re-imagined spaces,” Her Excellency observed, while also remarking on the pitch-perfect acoustics.
Her Excellency remarked on a wonderful first impression upon entering the foyer, by contrast to much modern architecture which can lack warmth and soul. Praising the high standard of the interior renovation, the Governor likened the ambience to that of a Sydney Opera House Concert Hall.
Jesse Saunders was commended for a warm Welcome to Country that painted a picture of community and the care community members invest in this place.
The Honourable Stephen Jones, Assistant Treasurer, Minister For Financial Services and Member for Whitlam, said that Bowral Memorial Hall in its new incarnation captures the spirit of a community gathering place where people come together, which has kept it going for more than 135 years. “The Federal Government is delighted to have made a $2.8 million contribution toward its completion,” Mr Jones said.
Mrs Judy Hannan, State Member for Wollondilly, also joined dignitaries on stage.
Council Administrator Mr Viv May acknowledged the community members who championed the project and “wouldn’t be silenced”, persisting along with Council in the face of controversy, to bring to life their strong future vision for a great and lasting cultural achievement for the Southern Highlands as a whole.
MC for the evening, Mr Ian Holland of 2ST radio, shared his own memories of frequenting the hall, for voting and plant sales, and a sense of awe for the total transformation that has taken place. “The heritage façade has changed little other than a very appealing paint job but walk through those doors and the extent of what’s been achieved here hits you. It truly is remarkable and something our Shire can be immensely proud of,” Ian said.
The cornerstone of Council’s Arts & Culture Plan is to see culture thrive in our Shire for years to come. The Administrator closed by stating that Bowral Memorial Hall should be considered a huge leap forward, toward that goal.
The evening’s entertainment
Invited guests were first to experience a taste of the vastly improved acoustics and ambience. A canape selection showcasing the best of locally grown ingredients, was prepared for the occasion by Mark Chance Catering for Peppergreen Estate. Mittagong-based Show Pony Events rolled out the red carpet, lit the hall and dressed the interior beautifully, while Adam Stokheld of Highland FM volunteered his time and artistic talents to coordinating a mesmerising line-up of entertainment, including The Southern Highlands Concert Band and The Southern Highlands Symphony Orchestra on main stage, with a surprise pop-up of Saxophonist Richelle Booth and local performer Darren Percival who formerly appeared on The Voice.
Local classical guitarist Ben Malone set the tone in the entry foyer, while harpist Paul Nicolau and Violinist Cedar Rose created ambience in the heart of the concert hall.
Time to book your ticket
Excited to experience the all-new Bowral Memorial Hall for yourself? Book now for the Southern Highlands Symphony Orchestra performances, June 24 and 25.
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