Page 3205 - Week 10 - Thursday, 15 August 2013

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The festival aims to give school choirs a chance to perform publicly to help children enjoy music and singing and gain confidence. Choirs ranged in size from 12 to 42 members, with students as young as six years of age participating in the festival.

The Canberra branch of the Knights of the Southern Cross and the Catholic Education Office have worked over the past nine months to create and organise the event which was hosted by Merici College. Mary Dorrian, representing the Catholic Education Office, performed the duties of master of ceremonies for the event. Jaki Kane, Jenny McCarthy and Marjorie Lindenmayer, three professional judges with many years of involvement with choirs, volunteered their services for the festival and judged each of the performances.

Participants and organisers were very privileged to welcome the Apostolic Nuncio to Australia, His Excellency Most Reverend Paul Gallagher, to the festival, who, together with Loretta Wholley, Principal of Merici College, presented trophies for the first three places plus an encouragement award.

A combined choir comprising students from the participating schools sang two songs to His Excellency, One Voice, One Song, and Evening Prayer. His Excellency congratulated the students on their involvement in such an uplifting spiritual festival and welcomed the opportunity to spend time with the students and parents.

As shadow minister for education, I offer my congratulations to St Francis Xavier School, Lake Cargelligo, on receiving the encouragement award. St Edmund’s junior choir, Griffith, ACT were awarded first prize. St Patrick’s Parish School, Cooma received second prize. And third prize went to St Bernard’s Primary School, Batehaven.

I would also like to congratulate all the participants, the children who sang in the choirs, the teachers who provided the usual dedication in training the choirs, the parents who encouraged and allowed their children to take part, and the Catholic Education Office and the schools for their support.

Congratulations also go to the Canberra branch of the Knights of the Southern Cross Committee on their dedication and energy, and for bringing this great concept to fruition. The committee comprised Richard Lucas, branch chairman; Mike Cassidy, ACT district chairman; Stephen Blair, branch secretary; and Bob Perkins, event coordinator.

Madam Speaker, this is quite an auspicious occasion today. I think you mentioned earlier that this was the 1,000th sitting day of this Assembly. I have a few points that I would like to share with our colleagues. The First Assembly sat for 145 days, the Second Assembly for 134 days, the Third Assembly for 118 days, the Fourth Assembly for 140 days, the Fifth Assembly for 118 days, the Sixth Assembly for 157 days, the Seventh Assembly for 157 days, and so far the Eighth Assembly has sat for 31 days.

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