Thursday, February 22, 2007

Sisters treat mum to impromptu concert

This column has appeared in the Redland Times, Cleveland, Redland Shire, Queensland, Australia. Image from
ONE of those heartwarming experiences of parenthood occurred a few days ago in the Munro family household at Wellington Point.
Leigh Munro, mother of three daughters, heard a special performance, including Ode to Joy, on clarinet and violin.
Youngest daughter Carly, 11, put her new violin under her chin, and her elder sister, Sarah, 15, reached for her clarinet "for the first time in quite a while".
"It sounded a bit out of key but they played it together - it was great," Leigh says. "I was quite delighted, especially when I saw that Sarah can still play these songs."
Carly, now in Year 6 and part of the Birkdale State Primary School music program, played her new full-size violin for the first time.It replaces a half-size instrument that Mum advertised in our Classifieds last week for $100.

ALL the Munro girls, with the eldest, Emma, completing the trio, have been through the school program.
Emma, now in Year 12 at Wellington Point High School where Sarah is in Year 11, has since given up the flute.
This was a mild disappointment for Leigh. "I always wanted to play the piano and I have always hoped they (the girls) would find enjoyment in something that I never could," she said.
"I never push them though."
Another of the musical Munros was missing from the concert the other day.
"My husband, Gerry, is Maori and can bang out a tune on the guitar but the guitar has been broken for a few years," Leigh says.
LEIGH'S for-sale notice imparted a cute image, saying the instrument would "suit year 3-4". Seeing and hearing the "littlies" grapple with the disciplines of formal music education is always very special.
Carly was given her first violin when she was eight years old and in Year 3. "It was a bit hard on the ear at the start," Leigh says.
The new owner is another young starter on the Birkdale program, of which Leigh is a devoted fan. She says it has certainly given her girls a good start in music.
"When Carly got the new violin a few days ago she immediately played two songs off by heart and although Sarah hadn't played the clarinet for a while she remembered what she had learnt," Leigh says.

THANKS for joining me to meet the great people in the marvellous community of classified advertising.

Friday, February 09, 2007

Golfer makes cut in business

This column appeared today in the Redland Times, Cleveland, Redland Shire, Queensland, Australia. Image courtesy of That's where Dan plays his golf. His Redland Bay hometown is south (right) of the course.

A LOT more than fat and juicy fruit and vegetables has grown on the rich red soil that gave the Redlands its character.
Entrepreneurial spirit cannot be packed into a carton and trucked to market but nevertheless has become one of the bumper crops as the Redlands has transformed from market garden to a special type of suburbia.
Every day Redlanders are applying their minds and energies to doing great things in life and business.
This may be a good talking point with Dan Howard at the 19th hole at Redland Bay golf course, where he is likely to be swinging merrily any weekend.

THE course has been handy for Dan throughout his 30 years of life. He is one of the privileged who can still say he was born and bred at "Reddy Bay".
Dan started golf when just nine years old but drifted away from the sport in his mid teens. For the past couple of years, however, he has been back on the fairways and greens he loves.
It must be the perfect recreation for a rising star in business. Both in golf and business, Dan knows the importance of setting goals.
On a handicap of 13, he plays in every Saturday competition and is firmly committed to winning something decent.
While he has "nothing yet" in golf, the story is a little different at Walken Marketing, which Dan established about 18 months ago in partnership with Wade Kennett, of Sherwood.
WALKEN markets discounted car servicing door to door. Dan says the business has benefited from its work with some of the biggest companies in the field, including Midas and Repco, and operates throughout the State.
Dan says the partners are negotiating to expand into New South Wales as part of their plan for a national operation.
Walken’s recruitment notices give an upbeat image to the marketing system by listing five reasons to join the team.

THE good money, five-hour shifts, free weekends and management opportunities must draw a lot of eyes. But the "free beer on Fridays" must be welcome after the sales force pounds the pavements. Dan, however, monitors this one closely at the interview stage. Excessive interest in that little word may not be healthy.
"I just throw that one in to show that it’s a fun work environment and there’s no seriousness," Dan says.
Teamwork is important to Dan in another of his interests. He plays bass and is forming a covers band to play at Redland and Brisbane venues.

Monday, February 05, 2007

'Blue Danube' hits flat note

This column has appeared in The Redland Times, Cleveland, Redland Shire, Queensland, Australia. Picture of Johann Strauss II, composer of The Blue Danube, courtesy

THE dignity of European heritage, particularly in music, sounds in each syllable as Julie Lacey speaks of the grand piano she has listed for sale in our classifieds.
Her Hungarian accent invokes images of a rich culture in a region that has experienced more than its fair share of suffering through history.
When she recalls her early years of music training in the town of Szeged near the Yugoslavian border, you can almost hear the World War Two German tanks rolling past the conservatorium room, where in the filtered light, a little girl sits at a piano practising scales.

THE teacher suddenly turns and accuses: "You have been playing something that is not classical, haven’t you, Julianna?"
The pupil confesses, "Yes, madam, I have been learning to play The Blue Danube." And the teacher snaps with rage, "No, no, no, you are to play only classical," striking her baton so hard on the piano that the instrument of authority snaps, too.
But that was long ago, and many years have brought new memories since Julie finally left Hungary during the 1956 revolution when, as a young woman, she feared she was line for a firing squad after the secret police caught her distributing anti-communist literature.

JULIE walked and hitchhiked for two weeks to get to Austria, almost falling into Russian hands at the border.
"It would take you too long to write all this; there is so much I could tell you," Julie counsels. So we talk about the pianos she has owned since she escaped Hungary and settled in London for almost 25 years before coming to Australia in 1981.
The Challen, the Beckstein, the Broadwood, which was a full-size concert grand … there have been a few. Julie is worried she has left one or two out.

BUT this talk is supposed to be about a certain grand piano, with a price tag of $4700. It’s an Irmler, made in Leipzig, Germany in 1914.
Julie bought it about 20 years ago from a Sheldon couple and had it reconditioned about five years ago. She is selling it in preparation for the inevitable move from her Thornlands home to something smaller.
The day’s not quite here and Julie will still have another piano to play as she reflects on her colourful life.
FOOTNOTE: Julie is not related to Les Lacey who featured in Classie Corner last week.