Cheetham, Onus to star at festival
AUSTRALIA’S only indigenous opera performers, Deborah Cheetham and Tiriki Onus, along with Joe Chindamo, arguably Australia’s finest jazz pianist, are among the highlights of the EMSLA Festival of fine music and fine art at the Coffs Harbour Regional Gallery this weekend.
The festival has been created around the $15,000 Eutick Memorial Still Life Award, the winner of which was announced at the gallery last night.
Deborah Cheetham is one of five State and territory finalists for the 2011 Australian of the Year.
Although presentations to other Victorian finalists will be held on Monday, the internationally renowned opera singer will be in Coffs Harbour as part of a week-long visit to the city with colleague Tiriki Onus devoted to teaching Aboriginal children at Tyalla Public School and Orara High School to sing opera.
Coffs Harbour Regional Gallery director Dr Leigh Summers said the performers would work with students and teachers at the school to audition and select singers and train them to sing an opera chorus for a public performance at the school assembly.
“She is such a generous and fabulous person,” Dr Summers said.
“She is an absolute inspiration, and she has a voice to die for.”
Soprano Deborah Cheetham and bass baritone Tiriki Onus will perform with pianist Toni Lalitch in the gallery on Saturday evening at 7.15pm. Tickets are $25.
Leading jazz pianist and composer Joe Chindamo will perform on the gallery’s grand piano on Sunday afternoon at 3pm.
With more than 20 CDs to his credit, Joe Chindamo has a national and international profile and has worked on 60 film soundtracks from Phar Lap and the Man from Snowy River to the Sound of One Hand Clapping.
Tickets are $25 including refreshments.