AAMI Lucky Club Street Serenades Delight Winners

25 Sep

AAMI Lucky Club Street Serenades Delight Winners

#Surprise Serenade Sends Spirits Soaring in Ashgrove

Mark Buchan was familiarising himself with his new AAMI motorcycle insurance policy when he spied details about Brisbane Festival’s AAMI Lucky Club’s Street Serenades competition.

It struck a chord with the Ashgrove man and he entered immediately.

“I saw the part when I had to write in 200 words or less why my street deserved a Street Serenades performance and I knew exactly what to say,” Mark, who has lived in his street for 20 years, recalled.

“These are strange times we’re in and I knew I had neighbours who were struggling. I thought it would be lovely to have something entertaining and uplifting happen in our neighbourhood.”

That came in the form of Ella Fence, a Gold Coast songwriter and musician, who rolled into Mark’s neighbourhood to perform a free mini-concert on Street Serenades’ Troubadour travelling stage.

“What an event!” Mark enthused. “The whole thing ran like clockwork. Ella has such a great voice and really original songs and the sound quality from the caravan-style stage was ridiculously good.

“I hadn’t heard of Ella Fence until I was told she’d be performing. So I jumped online, listened to her on YouTube and loved her style; now I’m a follower and a fan.”

Mark hadn’t told his neighbours he entered the competition but said they were thrilled when he revealed their prize.

Ella Fence’s Street Serenades evening performance took place in a public park a few metres away from Mark’s house on Friday 11 September.

Mark and his housemate Margie Strong were mindful of COVID restrictions so kept invitations exclusively local, estimating 40-50 people attended, all of whom lived within 500m of the park.

“People were thrilled and were thanking me – all I did was enter the competition!” Mark said.

“I’m so glad that I entered and was able to lift people’s spirits in some small way during what has been a really lousy year for a lot of people.”

#Sunday Sunset Session Swings Into Stafford

A pop-up jazz concert with four costume changes and an impromptu Charleston display – it’s fair to say Stafford has never experienced a Sunday session like this before.

Danella Williams was renewing her AAMI motor vehicle insurance policy when she decided on a whim to enter Brisbane Festival’s AAMI Lucky Club’s Street Serenades competition.

“At the back of my mind was this thought that it would be nice to bring the community together to see a performance and do something different,” Danella explained.

“At the moment, when we go out it’s for dinner but that’s it. We’re not really going out and doing or seeing anything else.

“This was just the most beautiful way to spend the afternoon, it was so lovely.”

Danella and her neighbours were treated to a free mini-concert by Melissa Western, a Brisbane-based musician and cabaret and theatre entertainer who dazzled the suburb with a jam-packed jazz performance.

Melissa rolled into Keong Park on the Bandwagon travelling stage and performed an intimate, open-air sunset set for about 60-70 residents and friends.

The AAMI Lucky Club’s Street Serenades performance was a family affair on-stage and off with Melissa joined by her young daughters and niece and Danella joined in the audience by her 21-year-old son.

“My eldest son, his girlfriend and two of their friends came and saw the show, which was nice.

“They’re into rap and hip-hop so this was not quite their usual music but they really enjoyed it.

“One of my friends brought their son too – he’s a comedian so is used to travelling and performing – and he commented on how wonderful it was to see live music for the first time since March.”

Melissa’s AAMI Lucky Club’s Street Serenades concert spanned lilting ballads to upbeat numbers with several audience members jumping to their feet to demonstrate the Charleston at the entertainer’s request.

A few quick wardrobe adjustments had her quipping that she’d managed to squeeze four costume changes into her 30-minute performance.

“It was very easy listening, very fun and relaxed with people spread out on their picnic blankets and everyone commented on how great her performance was and how much they enjoyed that little spot of culture coming to the suburbs,” Danella said.

“I like jazz and I really liked Melissa’s style – she was so relatable and the show just flowed – and it’s made me want to go and see live music again; I’d love to see her in a full concert.”

#Forest Lake's Suburban Serenade

When The Little Red Company rolled into Forest Lake for its Brisbane Festival AAMI Lucky Club Street Serenades performance, Vanessa Stott had an inkling she’d seen the lead singer before.

“He had a recognisable face but I couldn’t quite place where I knew him,” she said of Australian star of stage and screen Luke Kennedy.

“He had an amazing voice and the whole show was brilliant. Then, towards the end, they asked for song requests.”

After blowing the small suburban audience away with abridged renditions of Daryl Braithwaite’s The Horses and songs by UK powerhouse Adele, Vanessa called out her request: The Voice by John Farnham.

“It’s one of my son’s favourite songs but when I requested it, everyone laughed.

“The Little Red Company played it as their finale but it was only after the show ended that someone finally told me Luke had been runner-up on The Voice Australia!”

The Saturday evening concert in Vanessa’s cul-de-sac had the effect she’d hoped for when entering Brisbane Festival’s AAMI Lucky Club’s Street Serenades competition.

“We’ve had a bit of a rough year, as you can imagine, with challenges impacting my workplace and my son’s final year of school,” Vanessa said.

“We’d also planned to see a lot of live shows this year that ended up cancelled so I thought it would be really nice to experience something fun and live again.”

To make sure her entry caught the judges’ eyes, Vanessa composed an acrostic poem using the theme of RECONNECT to bolster her case for a concert.

She was surprised and excited to be told she had won and relieved to learn the Street Serenades performance could safely proceed after household gathering restrictions tightened.

A small number of neighbours, family and friends joined Vanessa, her husband and children at an intimate show that delighted all ages, from her 75-year-old-mother to her 14-year-old daughter.

“There was only capacity for 25 people in the roped-off section in front of the stage but a few of the neighbours saw what was happening so poked their heads out of their front doors and watched from their yards.

“There was such great energy with everyone singing and clapping along and quite a few of the neighbours came over later to say thanks.

“It was such a beautiful night too, which added to the atmosphere and the caravan stage was so cute; watching that arrive and set up was almost as entertaining as the show!”

#Coorparoo Brings the Glitz for a Backyard Blitz

Music in my ears,
Friends and family abound,
COVID blues kicked to the kerb,
Magic all around.
Brisbane Festival came to them,
They could not believe their luck,
The turning point in the year,
that a virus ran amok.

Kristy Smith and Jason Neville knew they had to get creative to get noticed.

The Coorparoo couple wanted to give their entry in Brisbane Festival’s AAMI Lucky Club’s Street Serenades competition a fighting chance so Kristy, a literacy teacher, penned a poem.

“I was looking for a way to stand out and be creative while still mentioning everything that’s happened this year,” she explained.

Her poem struck the right note with Brisbane Festival programming an exotic Street Serenades performance in her neighbourhood.

The 30-minute variety show by Oscar Production Company took place in a public park adjacent to the couple’s home and quickly attracted the attention of neighbours.

“The roped-off audience area filled up quickly so people stood on their balconies overlooking the park, in their yards and on the footpaths to watch the show,” Kristy said.

“I even noticed a few people driving past really slowly so they could see!

“It was such a great atmosphere with people cheering and having fun and it felt fantastic to get out and do something ‘normal’.

“Even though we were all socially distanced, we all felt connected, there was a real sense of community.”

Kristy and Jason moved into their Coorparoo home with their now-teenaged children almost 11 years ago and have forged firm friendships with their neighbours.

“Everyone has had a really tough year and I entered the AAMI Lucky Club’s Street Serenades competition because I thought it would be a bit of fun relief,” Kristy said.

“We have such a great group of neighbours who have become friends and it was wonderful to get together and watch a professional Brisbane Festival performance in our own community.”

Kristy said the Oscar Production Company’s bold blend of music, dance and circus brought a dose of family-friendly fun to the suburb.

“Everyone particularly loved the fire-twirler and the lead singer had an incredible voice. I also loved the Moulin Rouge-style showgirl – definitely not something you usually see in the neighbourhood!”

Brisbane Festival expresses deep respect to and acknowledges the First People of this Country.