Sunday, November 23, 2014

Thousands to stay 'calm' during city's festivity

Image: 2008 Classie Corner report on Christine Burke.
HE'S peeking out of advertising brochures and grinning on the TV screens. That ubiquitous old man has shaken off his Melbourne Cup hangover, brushed his beard and togged up for Christmas 2014.
Kids are getting excited and parents twitchy. Santa's on his way. The jolly ambassador of retail is again riding high over deep religious culture.
Of all the Christmas experiences, however, one can underscore all the sentiments and beliefs, and bring a tear to the eye of even the most opportunistic, profit-oriented retailer.

UNITING with thousands in a good old singalong and hearing dedicated musicians express their Christmas spirit at a civic celebration such as Redland City Council's carols night is indeed a memorable experience.
A crowd estimated between 10,000 and 12,000 attended the 2013 Redland event, so Capalaba Regional Park in Pittwin Rd will be an amazing scene on Saturday, December 6, for Christmas by Starlight 2014.
Behind the warm and fuzzy feeling at such events, armies of specialists deal with all the details. Last year a home-grown contractor, Calm Event Management (CEM), worked with the council to ensure the night's success, and the firm has the mission again this year.

CALM proprietors are Victoria Point couple Christine and Patrick Burke, who have been mainstays of the Redland music scene for many years.
Both have careers as performers and are also known through their ownership of music store and school The Sound Shed, at Capalaba.
Christine says CEM grew from the couple's event management under The Sound Shed banner and now manages events up and down  the east coast between Townsville and Melbourne.
The enterprise is getting a burst of Christine's energy. She says she now has more time to spend on Calm events, with her daughter Kathryn studying science at the University of Queensland and son Sean preparing to start a music degree.

AS part of the repositioning, the Burkes have advertised the Capalaba store for sale. Reflecting on their 15 years on the site, Christine says, “I would like to think we have had an impact on the community and touched a lot of lives.
“Students we taught at seven or eight years old are now young adults and walk up to say 'G'day'. I think that's a good legacy.”
The council's “all-age, family-friendly event” will open at 4pm with free children’s activities and a visit from Santa. Community groups and licensed commercial operators will run food, drink and merchandise stalls.

A SPECIAL children’s show at 5.45pm will start the music program including Luke Kennedy, Naomi Price, Alexa Curtis;  Jal Joshua, Kiara Rodrigues, Leah Lever, Adeline Williams and Ali Crane, accompanied by Redland Sinfonia Orchestra and the City Choir. The event will conclude with a spectacular fireworks display.

This column has appeared in the Redland City Bulletin.

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