Image: The Star 101.9 radio team celebrated becoming the region’s number one radio station and breakfast show.
Breakfast show host Rachel Zonta with newborn daughter, Aubree
The survey results are in and a Mackay radio station is ecstatic with the news that they have shot to the number one spot across multiple categories in the radio ratings.
Star 101.9 claimed the coveted top spot, named the most listened to radio station in Mackay and the Whitsundays with Grant Broadcasters reporting that 45,900 listeners tune in each week.
Star’s General Manager, Paul O’Connor said, “I’m overjoyed with the result.
“The team have executed our leaders in local strategy flawlessly and now they can enjoy the rewards,” Mr O’Connor said.
Grant Broadcasters reported that their Star breakfast show increased their result from a 16.6% in 2019 to become the outright number one show on a 21.3% 10+ and that the show is also number one in the 25-54 demographic with a 25.5%.
The breakfast team is made up of Sam Blacker and Rachel Zonta, who is currently on maternity leave, and Kayley Baker who is filling in for Rachel.
Sam said they were incredibly grateful to their listeners and to their management team.
“We’re so pleased we could repay the faith placed in us by the management at Star with a number one result today” said Mr Blacker.
The Mackay and Whitsunday Life team would also like to extend congratulations to Ms Zonta, who welcomed her daughter, Aubree, to the world on 23 June, 2021.
Mackay’s pop future is looking bright with Jonte Tupaea, the young top pop talent broke onto the scene with the release of his debut EP ‘Experiences’ last week.
The Year 11 Mackay State High School student can’t wait for the world to hear his finest works to date, all in one place.
The EP was recorded with Jonte’s producer Josh Beattie down in the Gold Coast and the tracks combine hooks and instrumental with themes of the teenage experience; love, loss, the highs and lows of friendships and all of the struggles of growing up.
At just 16, Jonte is a prodigy, having performed at Airlie Beach Music Festival, and has received two RADF grants for his music production.
He won the Fast Track To Fame Award from ‘Fast Track Talent Showcase’, and has locked in the opportunity to open for Isaiah at the MECC later this year.
It has been an incredible journey for Jonte, and he was proud of being so close releasing his first album after a life-long love affair with singing.
“I grew up with music, ever since I was little, my family would have parties and big sing alongs– since I was four, wherever I could, I would be singing,” Jonte said.
“It’s so nerve wracking releasing a song and my favourite part is seeing the feedback, as well as my friends, family and all these people listening to it all the time.
Jonte’s first two singles were released back in 2020, and with this EP he’s bringing those songs together, with two new songs: ‘Love Hate Relationship’ and ‘Lay Me Down’.
“These next two songs: one of them is really mellow and the other is sad, piano ballad – they show the aspects of me as an artist.
“For someone just starting out as an artist, I’m still trying to find my sound and I’m excited for everyone to be on that journey with me.”
“Listening to these songs, the EP is based off my life experiences and it’s a whole rollercoaster, from a happy song to sad song and I love all of them.
“It is surreal and I’ve been dying to listen to the whole thing all at once on the distribution platforms.
Jonte’s plans are to keep gaining experience, and one he finishes Year 12, he hopes to head to Melbourne to accelerate his musical talent and career.
You can find Experiences on iTunes, Spotify, Apple Music and anywhere you get your music. Stay tuned for the physical launch that Jonte has planned for later in the year.
“I’ve got some big-gigs coming up in Brisbane: Big Sound and hopefully Buskers by the Lake.”
After SOLD OUT performances of their hit stage show of Mamma Mia, Mackay Musical Comedy Players are backing up with a hilarious new act.
The adult comedy Avenue Q is set to be on stage this September, with an impressive lineup of local talent already cast for lead roles.
Actors and actresses were told they would need to practice with a sock puppet before their audition, so this performance is already shaping up to be a unique experience.
“In Avenue Q, the puppeteers are on full display for the audience,” Director Vicky said.
“Actors' facial expressions will need to be in line with that of the puppet, so the audience will be experiencing both at the same time.
“Most of the puppets are American, so actors will need to practice their accents.”
Keep an eye out on Mackay Musical Comedy Players’ Facebook page for updates.
Caption: Neville Ruddel finishing a Lazy Susan for the Mackay Woodturners Craft Expo raffle.
One of the best things about the art of woodturning is giving a beautiful piece of nature a second life.
The Mackay Woodturners Association is holding its annual Expo, made all the more special this year since COVID-19 prevented it from running last year.
The Expo has something for everyone, whether you’re interested in taking up the skill as a hobby or you’re wanting a unique gift made from wood. There will be examples of woodturning, scroll sawing, intarsia, wood carving and pyrography. Purchase a unique gift or enter the raffle.
The Woodturners Association meets regularly, every Sunday, Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday mornings from 8am until 12pm.
Snow Wright Court (Opposite the Wakeboarding, near the BMX club)
Saturday 10 and Sunday 11 July
9am – 3pm
Caption: All-female vocal ensemble Tutti is performing at the Conservatorium of Music next month.
Local vocal ensemble Tutti is proud to present “Swing and Song” this July at the Conservatorium of Music Mackay.
But who is Tutti?
Tutti is an all-female vocal ensemble under the direction of Jan Whelan. Jan is known around town not only for her work with the Mackay Choral Society and Mackay Musical Comedy Players but also her accompanying work with soloists, school choirs and music ministries. Jan started the ensemble back in 2002 as a small ensemble and trio and quartets.
Over the years many vocalists have graced the stage all over North Queensland under the name Tutti.
The ensemble has competed several times in competitions across Queensland and have been described by several leading adjudicators as “spectacular” and “glamorous”.
Current vocalists of the group include some well- known members in the community, performers, teachers and key members of other performing groups. All the members of the group have some knowledge and expertise in different music styles and the delectable combination of these voices is purely stunning. The program is filled with luscious harmonies and different song genres including swing, latin, ballads and folk.
Swing and Song also includes guest artist Belinda Rooney on flute. There is something for everyone.
Tutti is excited and thrilled to present Swing and Song to Mackay audiences on July 3rd and 4th at the Conservatorium of Music Mackay.
Tickets can be purchased through try booking http://www.trybooking.com/BOYEI
Michelle Wilson’s debut children’s book ‘Crocs Don’t Do Yoga’ started out on the muddy banks of Constant Creek, north of Mackay, with one of Australia’s most famous crocodiles.
Michelle had been out fishing with her daughter, Summer, and had heard tell of a big croc that was often seen lazily sleeping on the shore of the creek, and she immediately came up with a name: Connie the Croc from Constant Creek, who would become the main character of her children’s book.
Later on, Michelle saw her mum and her daughter playing a game where they pretended to be crocodiles snapping at each other and the idea grew from there.
That was how the book was born, and Michelle started the writing process over a year ago as she worked part time as a primary school teacher.
“I thought at the time that there weren’t enough picture books in the market for country kids; it was important for me that the pictures were accurate of Constant Creek and the mangroves,” Michelle said.
“It was inspired by our local environment and the beauty of those mangroves – I really wanted to give regional Queensland a voice.”
Connie the Croc is the main character of Michelle’s book, and she certainly has a couple things in common with her real-life counterpart.
“[Mackay locals] love hearing about the crocodile, and I’d love to hear people start calling it Connie!”
Connie is lively, to say the least, and she has trouble controlling her emotions, but luckily some more mindful creek dwelling creatures, like the humble yabby, have a simple solution to keep her calm and happy: yoga.
“She’s just a bit sassy – so that’s why she’s still friends with the other animals in the creek; we can all be a bit of a Connie, it’s nice that the other creatures are friends with her and want to help her with tools and ways to be calmer,” Michelle said.
Michelle is going to be back in Mackay to officially launch the book, which has been sold since late May by new publishing group Larrikin House, who she thanked greatly for the opportunity they’ve been giving new writers.
“It’s a book for Mackay and I’m going to come up and do a launch at Let The Children Play Toyshop in Mackay on the 13th of July; I do plan on visiting the schools in the area as well to share the story.”
It’s being sold online by Booktopia and at bookstores around Mackay, including the Let The Children Play Toyshop.
World-famous Australian export The Ten Tenors will be playing at the Mackay Entertainment and Convention Centre on 8 July, as part of their 25th anniversary tour.
The Tenors started all the way back in 1995 as a celebration of Channel 10, and this concert tour will be a celebration of one of Australia’s longest running and most enduring musical groups.
They started as a one-night-only group of men from the Queensland Conservatory, who got together; it was too good a thing to do just once, and they started touring in Queensland, for several years.
The rest, as they say, is history.
They’ve come a long way since their first performance, where they had a repertoire of only four songs – and they have lots of stories to tell from over the years.
“The camaraderie and feeling of being a Tenor can be likened to the combination of the best parts of a strong family bond and a secret society rolled into one,” said producer and long-time manager of The Ten Tenors D-J Wendt.
“I think that’s why the group has gone from strength to strength over the past 25 years.”
The Ten Tenors are itching to reconnect with old fans and new with a show that revisits the full history of the group’s catalogue of 15 albums and over 4000 live performances.
“We haven’t been all together since we said goodbye to each other in Brazil on March 17, 2020. We are ecstatic about the idea of doing shows again, especially to celebrate our 25th anniversary,” said long-serving Tenor Jared Newall.
“I’m amped; I’m ready to get back out there and start doing shows.”
Jared and the band were so excited to be back in Australia, after spending their previous tour – over 15 months ago – in America before the enormous hiatus.
“The crowds are incredible, and we get such a great hometown reception; even the style of touring is quite different.
“When we get to do shows in Australia – I don’t want to say that we work extra hard, because we always give it our all – but we definitely don’t take it for granted; we give it everything we’ve got.
This 25th anniversary tour is a blessing for fans across Australia – and a much-anticipated return to the stage for the group.
“We know we have to earn it every single night; we’re going to be savouring each and every show.”
Tickets available via www.thetentenors.com, get them before they sell out!
Mackay and Whitsunday Life has 4 tickets to give away to a lucky reader to see the Ten Tenors in Mackay at the MECC!
Keep an eye on the Mackay and Whitsunday Life Facebook Page this week to enter the draw.
Clowns, superheroes, carnival rides and educational information. These were a few of the highlights at Mackay Christian College’s 2021 Open Day.
Choosing the right school for your child is one of the most important parenting decisions you can make. Mackay Christian College understand this, which is why its open day is such a success. As well as the opportunity to introduce children to a school in a fun way, it provides a variety of displays showcasing what MCC has to offer students.
Tish Scholtz from MCC said that the children most enjoyed the fairground rides and fun activities, but that the day was a success with a great turnout.
“There was a great selection of stalls, and visitors could feast from a variety of food vendors.
“MCC's Creative Academy delivered live music on the outdoor stage to show parents the variety of music on offer at MCC.
“There were also performances previewing our upcoming "Matilda the Musical", Mrs Scholtz said.
The Open Day concluded with a spectacular fireworks display.
“Our Open Day would not be a success without the hard work from the MCC staff, community support, and local Mackay business sponsorship.
“We look forward to seeing you at Open Day 2022.”
After last year’s successful fundraising event, the ladies of Soroptimist International of Mackay are at it again with their second Big Girls Pajama Party!
“We asked the ladies who attended last year and they all had a wonderful evening hanging out in their pjs watching a movie on the big screen so we thought why not do it again?”, says Soroptimist President, Kirsty Mawer.
“We’re lucky to have been able to secure the movie ‘The United States vs Billie Holiday’ - it’s based on a true story and showcases how one woman didn’t give up on her dreams despite all the obstacles in her way,” Mawer explains.
“This event is the perfect opportunity to gather some ladies, don your pj’s and relax. The best part? Knowing that money raised from the ticket sales goes toward local community projects,” she said.
Despite the challenges of Covid, the members of Soroptimist International of Mackay have been busy with their projects and programs all while learning to adapt and change to the needs of the community.
“We’re very keen to keep up the community service so this event will be something fun that women can get behind. Sometimes we all just need a night out with our friends to catch up and connect.”
The exclusive screening of “The United States vs Billie Holiday” will be on Saturday, 29 May from 7pm. Tickets are $33 per person and can be booked online only at www.trybooking.com/BRISZ
Mackay storyteller Roslyn Campbell is performing a series of puppet shows at libraries and venues across the Isaac region until Friday 18 June 2021.
Featuring dancing hands and realistic puppets the shows are part of the popular First 5 Forever program and sure to be a hit with our region’s younger residents.
Isaac Regional Council Mayor Anne Baker said First 5 Forever is about supporting parents to be their child’s first and most important educator.
“We are very excited to be welcoming Roslyn Campbell to the Isaac region and to offer her story time events to our young residents,” Mayor Baker said.
“The First 5 Forever initiative is about empowering parents to connect with their children through reading, playing and learning. Roslyn’s story time events, along with her use of puppets and costumes will educate and entertain.”
This is a free event for Isaac residents and registration is essential. For more information on dates and times and to secure your spot, visit https://speakup.isaac.qld.gov.au/storyteller-tour
A partnership between the State Library of Queensland, the Queensland Government and 74 Queensland Local Governments, the First 5 Forever initiative is largely delivered through local public libraries and Indigenous Knowledge Centres.
MAD Mountain Bike Classic
Rowallan Park, Farleigh
The MAD Mountain Bike Classic will be held at Rowallan Park where competitors can ride the rock gardens, dodge the bush turkeys, and enjoy the lush rainforest.
A Taste of Ireland
Hot off its premiere New York City run in 2020 and with over 120 shows in 2019 across Australia and New Zealand, ‘A Taste of Ireland - The Irish Music & Dance Sensation’ finally returns down under. Book at https://bit.ly/3y7NLXr
Piano for beginners
Gordon White Library
Explore the magic of music! This mini workshop is perfect for beginners and will introduce you to the fundamentals of piano in a relaxed environment. Keyboards will be provided for use during the class. Book your spot at https://bit.ly/3ybFFgj
1.30pm to 2pm
TAB AMATEURS RACE DAY – FUN | FASHION | FILLIES.
Mackay Turf Club
Luke Geiger Duo, FREE Photobooth, Fashions on the Field, Buses to MOJOs afterparty. General admission from $20 pp online. Book at mackaytickets.com.au.
‘Botanica 2021’ Flora in Fauna exhibition
On display until Sunday, June 27
Lagoons Café, Mackay Regional Botanic Gardens
The artists of Mackay’s Botanical Art Interest Group present some of their encounters with ‘fauna in the flora’ in diverse artworks.
Your opportunity to try theatre in a welcoming environment.
Leigh Schoenheirmer: Iterate | Elaborate
Donna Maree Robinson & David Pyke: Continuum
Tension(s) 2020: Tamworth Textile Triennial
Open now until Sunday, July 25
Reconciliation Week Screening
The Emu Runner (M)
Dudley Denny City Library
Join us for our special screenings that will leave you thinking about how we can create a nation strengthened by respectful relationships between the wider Australian community and
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. For adults aged 18+. Book your spot at https://bit.ly/3vdbFPD
1pm to 2.30pm
The Midnight Gang, DBCT Theatre Season
The MECC, Auditorium
The team behind The 13-, 26-, 52-, 78- and 91-Storey Treehouses, Mr. Stink and Billionaire Boy bring David Walliams’ bestselling book to life on stage, in a celebration of friendship, love and the power of the imagination for children 6+ and their families. Tickets on sale at https://bit.ly/3hClySI
6pm – and Wednesday, June 2, at 9.30am and 12.30pm
Greater Whitsundays Farmers’ Market
The market is a showcase our region’s amazing produce direct from the farmer.
Reconciliation Week Screening
The Spear (M)
Dudley Denny City Library
This story follows a young Aboriginal, Djali, as he journeys through his community to understand what it means to be a man with ancient traditions in a modern world. For adults aged 18+. Book your spot at https://bit.ly/3wigwPm
5pm to 6.30pm
Wonderland Spiegeltent Festival Hub
Welcome to the immersive world of Popcorn Underground starring the obscenely intelligent, beautifully filthy and rib-crackingly funny Reuben Kaye in an explosion of high camp and filthy humour. Reuben Kaye is an international star, actress, model and award-winning cry for help with his band The Kaye Holes. The creme de la creme of the cabaret world. A magical experience!
Thursday, June 3 until 13 – Various times
Grandparents Support Group
Northside Uniting Church – Bedford Rd.
A support group for grandparents helping to raise or look after their grandchildren.
Bring your own craft or simply enjoy afternoon tea. For more information contact Annette - 0423092357 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Afternoon tea from 1:30pm
Friday, June 5, at 6.30pm
Akmal returns with an hour of hilarious, unfiltered stand-up comedy. Come and witness one of Australia's best comedians in full flight!
To book visit https://www.wonderlandspiegeltent.com.au/mackay
If you do, then book your tickets now to the first ever Alligator Creek State School Trivia Night.
Vie to become the school’s first trivia master while raising money for a great cause. Thanks to the major sponsor, Dalrymple Bay Coal Terminal, first prize for the winning table is $1000!
The P&C are chasing a goal of $30,000 to resurface the school’s top carpark, currently more of a dustbowl than a safe place to pick up and drop off the kids. The trivia night is one of their main fundraisers for the year.
You can book a table of 8 or an individual ticket - Tickets are $20 per person (that includes table nibbles) and are on sale now at www.eventbrite.com.au (just search Alligator Creek State School or Trivia Night).
Dinner is sorted with the Rotary Club of Sarina cooking their delicious BBQ Burgers, Sarina Community Bank Branch Bendigo Bank are running the bar and there will be delicious desserts provided by the parents and carer’s of the school.
Plus, plenty of other prizes and giveaways and wonderful raffle thanks to NewsXpress Sarina.
This is an 18 plus event.
Book your tickets now or just come along on the night to buy a ticket at the door, you’re in for a great Saturday night of fun, food and trivia!
For more details email email@example.com or call Ange on 0428 719 318
Oh, a group of cats is a clowder!
Pretty creations for young girls are the last thing you’d expect from a driver of one of Mackay’s massive export coal trains.
But that’s exactly what Toni Gascoyne is making in her spare time when she’s not in charge of one of the huge trains which deliver thousands of tonnes of coal to our ports.
“I call them hair pretties,” she said.
“I use lots of ribbons, sparkles, and glitter. I love to create them in many different colours so they are eye-catching. I design them, do all the preparations and put them together myself by hand.
“They are all pretty much unique.”
Toni used to do various crafts but now concentrates on her young girls’ creations with a sideline into an unusual musical instrument – a three-stringed guitar.
“It’s called a cigar box guitar. Originally they were made from cigar boxes, and other junkyard style pieces. I’ve got a couple and I’m putting some together. It sounds just like a guitar, but I don’t play very well yet.”
Another talented Sarina artist is gaining international attention.
Kathy Murray has been displaying her artwork and jewellery at the Sarina Arts and Crafts Centre for some time, and has recently added a series of new paintings and sketches.
She said the new works had proved popular with tourists visiting the centre, and she had sold several to international visitors.
The works are available in various sizes from postcard upwards to suit a variety of purposes.
Kathy is one of about 70 crafters displaying their works at the centre, which is open seven days a week 10-3 Monday to Friday and 10-1 weekends.
By Charlie Payne
Homegrown talent doesn’t come much brighter than 16-year-old Bella Mackenzie.
She is about to embark on a regional Queensland tour, giving fans and lovers of live music the opportunity to see her perform here in Mackay before she hits the road.
Bella released her second single last month, ‘Ain’t For You’ which she used gig money for to cover the production costs. The making of the single was partly funded by the RADF program by the Mackay Regional Council and the rest she paid for herself, which is no easy feat considering she’s still at school.
Bella’s unique upbringing inspired her to pursue her passion for singing and songwriting.
Growing up at her family’s hotel The Black Nugget in Moranbah, Bella said that seeing a diverse range of musicians performing live music every weekend motivated and inspired her.
“We had lots of local entertainers and touring music acts come through the hotel, which I would listen to, watch and sometimes join them up on stage. Entertaining people and making them happy was ingrained into me from a young age,” Bella said.
It’s hard to fathom this musician is only 16 when you see her impressive resume of stars she has performed with and events she has sung at. She wowed hundreds of people at the MECC earlier this year at the Australia Day Awards, as part of the entertainment alongside country music legend Graeme Connors. She was also a nominee of an Australia Day Award that night.
Bella’s ticketed event is being hosted by the Seabreeze Hotel who have encouraged the young artist to reach for the stars. This is Mackay’s best chance to see Bella perform before she hits the big time and is lured to the bright lights of a big city.
She will be backed by a full band who will join Bella in performing a host of her original songs.
She says the performance is a chance to give back to the local music community who have embraced and nurtured her passion for performing.
“This show means jobs for the supporting act, band and sound crew, the businesses setting up lighting and equipment and to give local hospitality a boost. Gigs like this are important to nurture new talent while renewing Mackay’s live music scene.”
Bella is passionate about supporting local businesses and giving local tourism exposure. The video which is getting airplay on the CMT Music Channel was filmed in Mackay by locals.
Bella has won a host of awards for her musical talent and songwriting skills across Australia and internationally. Her most recent award was to be named in the Highly Commended category at the 2021 Queensland Music Awards and she was also named the Overall Junior winner of the Charters Towers Country Music Festival for the second year running.
Her ticketed event at the Seabreeze hotel on 12 June caps off a busy month for Bella, who toured with Toyota Australia Starmaker winner, Sammy White and Brooke Schubert; and she also opened the party at the Nebo Rodeo.
12 June – Seabreeze Hotel – Lamberts Beach
Tickets are $20 adult and $10 student (family friendly event) and can be purchased from Bella’s website: www.bellamackenzie.com.au
No one should be belting out “What about me?” once they get a “Bo Peep” at the official Mackay Festival of Arts program.
Instead, leave that to the experts – the Festivals team have announced Shannon Noll will be rocking this year’s G&S Engineering Wine and Food Festival and Festival Club After Party.
Mayor Greg Williamson said the 2021 Mackay Festival of Arts had it all – rock and roll; jazz; disco; opera; acrobatics; gigantic, illuminated puppets; tuk tuks; a world premiere musical; an X Factor winner; giant Gouldian finches and much more.
“This festival is the celebration of local talent, culture, colour, music and food we all need in 2021,” Mayor Williamson said.
“And it might well be one of the most exciting and diverse festivals the team have delivered,” he said.
“For the young, and young at heart, we’ve locked in Shaun the Sheep’s Circus Show, Charlotte’s Web and some fun silent disco tours complete with a funky ‘disco guru’ tour guide.
“As for musical talent, the program is alive with it – from X Factor winner Isaiah Firebrace to the Aussie pub rock icon that is ‘Nollsy’.
The Mayor also said for those who like their music in the theatre, there’s the all-local creation Heading North, the Joel Bow production featuring the writing of S.K. Munt and music of Graeme Connors.
“And Opera Australia is presenting Bizet’s Carmen, complete with thrilling Spanish colour and rhythms, amazing sets and vintage-inspired costumes,” he added.
“With Shannon Noll headlining the line-up of 13 tremendous musical acts, this year’s event will undoubtably be a standout and a great 20-year milestone.”
Of course, DBCT Illuminate is also back!
The Mayor said installation 4.0 would be spellbinding in its new venue along the Bluewater Trail.
“It will be our most interactive DBCT Illuminate yet and will feature ‘String Symphony’, a giant illuminated puppet, hand-woven using more than a kilometre of rope,” he said.
Grab a hardcopy festival program from the Box Office or check it out online at themecc.com.au/festivals