On Sunday the 1st of November, at a lovely little church tucked away in the quiet, bush clad hills of Mount Crosby, in southern Queensland, a capacity crowd of more than one hundred and fifty people gathered for Music on the Hillside, a benefit concert for the Frontier Services Cunnamulla Patrol.
Compèred by the much-loved ABC presenter David Curnow (pictured right with Rev Sunil Kadaparambil) and produced and directed by the wonderfully gifted Bruce Ramm, this concert featured beautiful performances by Nick Kirkup (tenor), Laura Coall (soprano), Jon Maskell (baritone), Linda Weatherhead (soprano), Laura Thomson (violin), Zoe Brecht (viola), Allan Hall (cello), Graham Fanshawe (guitar) and Bruce Ramm (piano). With an accessible, appealing program that ranged from contemporary favourites to classical masterpieces, it really was a feast of musical delights.
According to one member of the audience, Music on the Hillside was “one of the best concerts I’ve ever experienced. It was truly uplifting. To be so close to so much talent. I left feeling energised.”
The association between the Cunnamulla and Karana Downs Uniting Churches began one hot, dusty afternoon in September 2014 when Russell Dwyer, while in Cunnamulla on business, met Rev Sunil Kadaparambil, Frontier Services Patrol minister. Their conversation began a friendship that has united two congregations and brought the city and outback closer together. Based in Cunnamulla, Sunil’s Patrol covers an immense area, extending 230km north to Wyandra, 180km east to Bollon, 570km west to Innamincka on the South Australian border and 630km south-west to Cameron’s Corner.
Sunil has always had a passion for mission. “From my childhood onwards I had a dream to become a missionary, and at age 15 I joined the seminary for priesthood training.” After working as a Catholic priest for nine years in India and almost three years in Australia, Sunil joined the Uniting Church in order to work with people in remote Australia. “I enjoy each and every moment of my ministry in this beautiful part of the country, and I love that the people welcome me as part of their family.”
Since that September day in 2014, members of Karana Downs Uniting Church have helped repair the Cunnamulla church and hall, donations of winter woollies have rolled their way westward in Jonesy’s Fruit and Vegie truck (but that’s another story!) and now, the extravaganza that is Music on the Hillside has raised over $4000 for Frontier Services Cunnamulla Patrol. This money will be used to fund a number of projects including re-stumping the Cunnamulla church, whose sixteen perimeter concrete posts are split, cracked and rapidly crumbling.
After the huge success of the Music on the Hillside 2015, next year’s concert is already in the planning stages. Keep the afternoon of Sunday 6th November free! For further information and bookings, contact Ray Crompton at firstname.lastname@example.org. Looking forward to seeing you!