Jane Gordon, Annette Jensen and Val Sturrock.
Jane Gordon, Annette Jensen and Val Sturrock. Alexia Austin

Opera event is music to Roma ears

A PASSION for singing and a chance meeting over Skype is all it took for the inception of a new premier event in Roma, the Opera and Eskies day at Moorelands Bush Nursery.

Five opera singers from across Australia travelled to the nursery on Saturday afternoon, where they performed a three-part set of opera classics for the crowd.

Performers sing Barber of Seville at the Opera and Eskies, Roma, 2018.
Glenn Lorimer performs the Barber of Seville. Alexia Austin

The event, which has been running for two years, is the brainchild of Helen Allen, a Roma property owner with a love of music, and Susan Ellis, a soprano singer for Opera Australia.

"Helen was wanting to do some singing while in Roma, and I do Skype lessons for singing - so - and it felt a little bit like internet dating - we met over Skype,” Ms Ellis said.

"I don't often do lessons where I haven't met the student in person, but with Helen living in Roma it was the only way.

"The most amazing thing that has come out of it is we have become good friends. Helen is a great singer who deserves to be heard.”

"Susan was telling me I really needed to do something that involved singing and the community, instead of just lessons. And then she mentioned that she could come out and help with it, and we went from there,” Ms Allen added.

Helen Peart, Nytha Peart, Sandra Allen, Bruce Scott, Lorraine Wrensted.
Helen Peart, Nytha Peart, Sandra Allen, Bruce Scott and Lorraine Wrensted enjoy the fresh afternoon. Alexia Austin

Proceeds were donated to the Royal Flying Doctor Service, a cause close to Ms Allen's heart.

"My husband and other people we know have used the service - it's a terrible feeling when a loved one has to get flown out, and it's such a relief to have the aid of the RFDS, so we wanted to be able to contribute,” Ms Allen said.

"The RFDS does so much for communities and, when Helen said she would like to do something to raise funds for the service, we had talked about it for ages - there was no question,” Ms Ellis said.

"Everyone has a story of when they have been assisted, the RFDS is so integral. The singers were happy to help out for this cause.”

The event, with clear autumn weather and delicious food, proved popular, drawing 115 people.

"We've increased our numbers since last year and we have received a lot of sponsorship from local businesses so we are doing really well,” Ms Allen said.

"We are hoping to raise twice the amount of money as we did last year.”

Ms Allen performed at the event, singing an original song titled On a Wing, a tribute to RFDS' life saving services.