Redland’s Got Talent

The man at the helm of this weekend’s huge Christmas by Starlight community concert at Cleveland admits his job is a lot easier because of the talented people around him.

This is the ninth Christmas concert for Division 8 councillor Alan Beard, who ordered rehearsals for the event some eight weeks ago to ensure near-perfect performances.

“Everyone approaches this event at a very professional level,” he said. “The Redlands really is blessed with such a depth of performing talent – the truth is that for every artist selected for the event there were another five we could have commissioned.

“That’s a massive testament to the focus on performing arts at our schools like Sheldon College, Ormiston and Cleveland high schools … that we can produce artists who can so easily perform in front of a crowd of 10,000-12,000 people.

“Indeed, the local artists we have selected are at the top of their game – most of them selected themselves.”

The crowd at Christmas by Starlight on Saturday night is expected to be huge given the fact it’s a FREE night of festive fun for families, and the quality of entertainment again delivered from Cr Beard and his team of organisers.

Gates open at 3pm at Norm Price Park – Redland Showgrounds with children’s activities, stage and roving performers, food, display and merchandise stalls as well as a visit from Santa. The children’s concert Christmas at Bunyip Creek starts at 5.30pm, followed by the concert and Carols at 6pm featuring a cavalcade of home-grown talent. The night climaxes with a spectacular fireworks finale around 8pm.

Cr Beard said he was set on securing former Sheldon College student Connor Crawford as the headline act when he and world-famous soprano Mirusia, saw him perform as Frankie Valli in Jersey Boys in Melbourne earlier this year.

“I knew straight away he was the one we had to have,” said Cr Beard, who has managed performers and musicians for many years. “I’ve known Connor for some time, my wife taught him briefly and I remember his performance in the 2009 Sheldon College production of Shout – he really stood out.”

Cr Beard said that when compared to the hours of effort from entertainers, organisers and volunteers, his role as producer was “minor”.

“All I can say is I love Christmas, and I love being around talented people – I have just enough talent to recognise real talent when I see it. I saw it in Mirusia, I saw it in Connor, I saw it in my beautiful wife Kim 35 years ago … I see it in Kiara Rodrigues and I also see several of the other artists performing on Saturday night.”

A lot goes into organising an event as big as Christmas by Starlight – from selecting the performers and food vendors to implementing traffic and crowd management plans … to coordinating lighting, stage, sound and technical production.

Event producer and Division 8 councillor Alan Beard said organisers had drawn on lessons of past events and preparations for this year’s free community concert were smoother than ever.

“Patrick and Christine Burke and Shanna Souris from The Soundshed, as well as our own dedicated Council staff, have done a fantastic job pulling everything together,” he said.

“I’m particularly proud that we have kept as much as we can within the Redlands … from the entertainment right through to event coordination and certified food vendors.

“An event such as this is a great opportunity for community groups to raise funds so it’s great that they have all come on board,” he said.

Christmas by Starlight event is presented by Redland City Council, with the generous support of Energex, Bayside Bulletin, JJ Richards, Viking Rentals, Fiteni Homes, Stradbroke Flyer, SS Signs, Mr Fireworks, Koala Graphix and Christmas Festivities.