Community Restorative Centre staff Murray Cook and Kate Pinnock (Jailbreak Radio) were recently honoured to be asked to adjudicate at the inaugural Ozanam Learning Centre talent quest in Woolloomooloo. Thanks to the hard work and dedication of Music Coordinator Vlad Nestorovski 13 contestants, including three bands, were able to perform and compete for the first prize of a $300 Coles shopping voucher and similar second and third prizes. Most contestants came from homeless/disadvantaged/rehab backgrounds, and the diversity and depth of talent was great. Performers could avail themselves of the excellent musical equipment and PA supplied by the OLC.
From piano and sax solos, flamenco guitar, singer songwriters, to KISS impersonators and heavy metal, the show was run seamlessly to a full house of clients and staff. The judging was difficult because of the quality of the acts, but eventually after some deliberation first prize was awarded to singer-songwriter Space Engineer who beguiled the audience with his charm and wit, and heartfelt and masterful delivery of an original song detailing his difficult journey through life. Second prize went to a magnificent, intense solo flamenco guitar performance by Sean Bargwanna, and third prize went to the band The Battlers who sprung from the excellent music program at the Exodus Foundation in Ashfield.
Big props must go to host Clare who held the event together with verve, drollery and panache and could easily consider a future career in showbiz, and Vlad, Alarna and the rest of the Ozanam team for setting up and facilitating the smooth running of the event. It was great to be involved on behalf of CRC, as many of the participants and audience are potential clients for our Songwriting Workshops Program, which now counts OLC, Redfern Community Centre and Exodus Foundation amongst the potential places of interest, rehabilitation and learning for our target population of ex-inmates. A great afternoon was had by all, judging by all the smiling faces, and we are looking forward to involvement in more such events, such as a combined Christmas concert.