WORDS BY MICHAEL DART
Powerful advocates deliver powerful performances. And this is particularly visible through the actions of great leaders, promoting great talent locally.
I caught up with acclaimed soprano Suellen Cusack-Greensill recently about her support of local talent. Suellen has performed alongside the likes of Marina Prior, Andrea Bocelli, Silvie Paladino and Jack Vidgen, and will release her debut Classical Crossover album in 2023.
So it’s no surprise that in her latest endeavour Suellen and good friend Hannah Jacobs have established a production house that will showcase local talent at local venues. Saint Stella Presents has delivered a range of successful inclusive events already, and they have plenty more in store.
“I love the feeling that I’m on the precipice of something bigger than me. That so many exciting things are to come. That I am surrounded by such talented and hardworking local artists, stage crew, producers and technicians inspires me,” Suellen said.
Hotelier Gavin Hales started Lighthouse Rock in 2022 to brings rock legends, like Ian Moss and Jon Stevens, to Bundaberg and give local musicians a chance to grace the same stage at Burnett Heads. Their inaugural event in October was a huge success, with some 6000 revellers attending. Local talents like The Abby Skye Band (pictured), Jackson Dunn and Battle of the Bands winners Evergreen Aus shared the action. “Household names are helping us elevate local acts and that’s something we’re really proud of,” Gavin said. Not one to rest on his laurels, Gavin is gearing up for a new event in 2023; Lighthouse Country.
Another champion of local music is Melbourne expat Steve Price, the architect of Bundy Gig Guide. “Across our Region there is a deep connection between musicians and the community. Amazing storytelling. If we support musicians that, in turn, supports the growth of vibrant local venues,” he said.
Radio hosts are getting on board too. TripleM Breakfast announcers Justin Bell and Julia Greenhalf, better known as JB and Jules, host a one-off evening event each December, called Carols by the Dashboard Light. Local musicians play covers of their favourite carols on air and residents with Christmas light displays (read more on page 10) register their address on the Triple M website.
Michael Dart is an actor, director and member of Bundaberg’s Playhouse Theatre.Check it out on the socials
Bundy Gig Guide, Lighthouse Presents, Saint Stella Presents, What’s on Bundaberg, Bundy’s 93.1 Triple M