VIP Reception and Opening Night Concert of the 2016 Australian Festival of Chamber Music
Thank you, Mr Ankus, for your kind introduction. Mr Scott Stewart MP representing our Premier; Mr Ian Walker MP; our Mayor Jenny Hill; esteemed guests, as are you all. It is Kaye’s and my pleasure to be with you tonight.
I acknowledge, with respect to Elders, the Traditional Owners of the lands around Townsville.
The 2014 Australian Festival of Chamber Music opening night was Kaye’s and my first ever regional vice-regal engagement. That took place a few days after my swearing in as Queensland’s 26th Governor on 29 July, exactly two years ago today.
So it is a great source of pride for Kaye and me that we are once again here for this wonderful celebration of music, and of dynamic Townsville life.
Just last week, Kaye and I were in France representing our State at significant commemorations on the Western Front, including at Fromelles, where in 1916, Australia endured it greatest military loss in 24 hours – some 5,553 causalities in one night.
It is hard to overstate the abject melancholy of that commemoration. But we were moved upon hearing Brisbane choir the Voices of Birralee perform Abide With Me and the French and Australian national anthems – in a strange sort of way the music assured us.
Of course I hardly need to convince you all of the quiet enjoyment and fulfilment music, and chamber and classical music in particular, brings to our lives.
But as Governor I am uniquely positioned to thank you on behalf of all Queenslanders for the immensely beneficial contribution this Festival makes to the advancement of our State. I say this particularly to the financial sponsors – from governmental and private spheres, and to Sandra and the Board and the hard-working AFCM staff.
The Festival also wonderfully shines a spotlight on Townsville, a truly indispensable part of our State, culturally and economically. Mayor Hill, the continuation of this Festival after 26 years is emblematic of the uplifting and resilient spirit of the people of Townsville – you all have Kaye’s and my unstinting support.
Indeed the Festival is further proof that North Queensland really has “come of age”, indeed it is to be envied.
AFCM’s continually vibrant and dynamic programming is foundational to supporting that reputation.
And in his 10th year as Artistic Director, Piers has delivered once again in spades, with the return to the Festival of renowned violinist Tasmin Little, and with no fewer than six artists this week making their Australian debuts.
We very much look forward to tonight’s Opening Night Concert, and to attending tomorrow the Governor’s Gala.
As Governor and Patron, with Kaye, I wish the 2016 AFCM resounding success! Thank you.