DROUGHT RELIEF CONCERT: Fasolati music director Mary Walters, conductor Anne Ryan, the original Fasolati group (front) Diana Dureau, Henk Steenhuis, Leigh and Jan Kealton, with some of the choir in rehearsal.
DROUGHT RELIEF CONCERT: Fasolati music director Mary Walters, conductor Anne Ryan, the original Fasolati group (front) Diana Dureau, Henk Steenhuis, Leigh and Jan Kealton, with some of the choir in rehearsal.

Choir voices its support for drought-affected

A GOLD Coast community choir which was born in Stanthorpe seven years ago is saying thank you by singing their way to much-needed funds for the area's drought-stricken communities.

Co-founding Fasolati (think do, re, me, fa, so ...) choir member and manager Leigh Kealton said they would present a drought-relief concert at 3.30pm at St Peter's Anglican Church, Southport on Sunday, November 24.

The aim is to raise about $2000 - enough to help 35-50 families to access adequate clean water over the next few weeks, Leigh said.

Stanthorpe and surrounding farms are in the grip of a critical water shortage.

According to Southern Downs Regional Council's latest water update, Stanthorpe's current dam level is at 17.5 per cent and water volume at 362ML. Based on targeted usage, water will run out in December 2019/January 2020.

"There's no doubt that there are some landowners, because of the drought and then the bushfire, that probably won't continue in their primary production businesses," Southern Downs Regional Council Mayor Tracy Dobie told the ABC.

"It has had a devastating effect on those people."

Leigh said Stanthorpe had a special place in the hearts of members as it was here that four friends on a weekend getaway found themselves breaking into song in a pub late one evening as the band was packing up for the night.

Once home, the friends persuaded music teacher and theatre musical director Mary Walters to form a choir with others who love singing. Now 35-strong and under conductor Anne Ryan, Fasolati is a fun-based choir comprising mostly enthusiastic older singers meets weekly and performs about four generally free concerts for a cause each year.

This time the choir was unanimous in wanting to raise funds for Stanthorpe/Granite Belt families. struggling for clean drinking and cooking water in the face of continued drought.

The concert is free, but visitors will be asked to make a generous donation "recognising this is one small way in which we can all show our support for our friends and families struggling in our regional towns," Mary said.

"We'll be performing a range of well-known contemporary, jazz and classical favourites as well as some newer pieces in our repertoire - and some surprises," she said.

St Peter's Anglican Church is on the corner of Southport-Nerang Rd and High St, and the concert will conclude with cheese and wine.

If you need further details, phone Leigh on 0412 363094; otherwise, he encouraged people to donate as much as possible to those doing it tough, and just go along to the church to enjoy a wonderful concert.


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