Tuesday, May 30, 2006

I doubt if there is any other community of fewer than 2000 people in the whole world that enjoys the cultural and entertainment experiences and opportunities that we do here on Norfolk Island. Our own Community Arts Society fosters local talent, and last weekends locally-composed song competition was a good example of this.
Throughout the year, we have a wealth of visiting performers and artists in all sorts of areas of performing and creative arts....... poetry, theatre, rock music, jazz, opera, drumming, ballroom dancing, line dancing, Polynesian dancing.
One of the main highlights of our year is the Trans-Tasman Country Music Festival, held in May each year. The big tent goes up next to Rawson Hall, and enthusiastic Country fans from Australia and New Zealand, as well as lots of local Norfolkers, gather to experience the top talent from all three places. Not only do we have the week of shows in the tent, but the artists also entertain at all sorts of places during the week, in the clubs and pubs, in the street, and in many other places.
Take Dennis Marsh, for instance. Dennis is a popular Maori Country entertainer who has been coming here for years, and is much loved by the locals....and obviously by his fellow Kiwis, if the enthusiastic fans who followed him over here are anything to go by. Dennis, who has a wonderful easy-to-listen- to style, was there entertaining wherever one went, last week....in church, on the radio, in the street, at the RSL, out at the White Oaks Seniors Club, and he even sang a couple of numbers at the airport before departing on Sunday!
The highlight of the week for Bernie and me was a special show, organised at a late date, on Wednesday 5:30 p.m. - 8.00 p.m. There were only two artists...the well-known Felicity Urquart and Graham Connors, each entertaining us for an hour or so. There was no band that evening, just the accompanying guitars, which was just wonderful for the older folk who took the opportunity to go along. It made it so much more personal and intimate. We had great seats, and did not need ear plugs. Graham Connors gave his very first rendition of his song about Norfolk Island, only composed in the past 24 hours! "In my heart...there is an Island." Quite moving, in Graham's inimitable style. It was a winner.
Another winner was his "What if..?" song, where he unexpectedly slipped in the line "What if John Howard left Norfolk Island alone?" It produced a great round of applause!
This week is the Line Dancing Festival. Some intrepid Country fans have made a double-act of it, and stayed for the fortnight. So we will continue to see many boots and big hats around town for a few days yet!

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