OVER the past 25 years, surprisingly few public buildings of architectural merit have been added to this Ballarat's stock of architectural heritage.
Yes, new buildings can be part of our heritage. The Peter Elliott designed Robert Clark Conservatory in the Ballarat Botanical Gardens is one. We could add the new Law Courts in Dana Street. We did have the Cox Sanderson designed (1998) Eureka Interpretive Centre with its arresting 50 metre high Eureka Flag banner, which added brilliantly to the landscape looking east from Sturt Street. This latter building was trashed within 10 years, and partly subsumed into a nondescript building in M.A.D.E. or the Museum of Australian Democracy. Doubtless the building form suits the exhibitions.
Rather than junket to Austria to attend a "World Conference of Historical Cities", I think our councillors would have served us better had they journeyed to Geelong to view their new Civic Library and Heritage Centre, or to Eltham to view the Greg Burgess designed public library. Both add to the civic amenity of those cities.
I do not support the retention of the Civic Hall. A stronger council, having made the decision to demolish it, would have remained resolute. A stronger administration would have had a demolition contract signed the next day. Instead, we have had years of prevarication and senseless studies.
We need a new library with its associated public spaces which can well-embrace some of the functions suggested for the Civic Hall. A brilliant modern building demands an expansive forecourt. Both can be accomplished on the Civic Hall site. Let us think forward 50 years.
- Peter McL. Hiscock, Buninyong
PROFESSOR Clayne Robison, an American specialist in the study of vocal beauty, has described the nature of the "special" voice as follows: "There is something that makes us feel like the sound is coming from the bottom of their souls. The brightness in their voices speaks out to us, while the depth is drawing us in. When both things happen at the same time, we know we are hearing really beautiful singing".
Such was the experience of those of us fortunate enough to be present at the Art Gallery of Ballarat, Gallery Women's Association "Last Sunday of the Month Concert" on Sunday.
The concert featured students of Ballarat voice teacher, Carolyn Bennett, whose own passion for singing was clearly reflected in the superb performances of her prodigies. Georgie Potter, Georgie Maher, Jasmine Joyce, Josh Borschman, Eleanor Davey and Maddy Ludbrook; different, but all superb voices, presented us with a delightful program of music, mostly from stage and screen. Some familiar, some less so, but always entertaining, and engaging of the audience.
Each singer, each song, a different experience, but all the artists united by a common thread. Prior to delivering their individual items, each vocalist gave a short explanation of the pathway to their choice of the song they were about to present. In every case, it was their love of, their passion for, the particular music, and their enjoyment in presenting it.
Not surprisingly then, as Professor Robison has described it, they made us feel "like the sound is coming from the bottom of their souls". Well done, you wonderful young stars of the future. Thank you for a delightful hour of entertainment. Well done, Carolyn Bennett. Your expertise as a voice teacher is clear from the exemplary performances of your students, and you have every reason to be very proud of them.
And finally, well done, and my sincere thanks, to Janet Low for the many and varied musical experiences you bring to music-lovers through the "Last Sunday" Concerts at the gallery. Many different musical genres, but always performers who are masters of their art.
- Mike Brettargh, Sebastopol
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