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November 23rd 2006
Aquapella to make CD with $4000 sponsorship

The Aquapella Choir It seems that the combined Magnetic Island and Townsville-based Aquapella World Music Choir are going from strength to strength. Earlier this year won the Queensland State Final of ABC Classic FM's Choir of the Year Award and, although missing out on a place in the National Finals, last night the Choir received a huge boost when the Water Matters Alliance handed over a $4,000 cheque so they can now record their first professionally recorded CD.

Choir Master Beat Lehmann told, "It's wonderful. We are really stoked for the support and being sponsored by them. They are working to make 90% of Townsville's water recycled by 2010 which is a great project to be associated with."

Water Matters Alliance is a partnership between Abigroup Contractors, Aquatec-Maxcon, GHD and United Group Infrastructure brought together by Townsville City Council to develop a $100 million upgrade of Townsville's wastewater infrastructure.

Alliance spokesperson, David Donahue told, "A large part of the work already completed within the project has been on Magnetic Island and we have gotten to know many residents really well, admiring them for their sense of fun and strong community spirit."

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The Choir may also hold another distinction in that they could have been the world's first choir to perform at the opening of a Wastewater Treatment facility.

"When we looked around for some community involvement for the opening of our state-of-the-art Horseshoe Bay Wastewater Treatment Facility in September, we came across Aquapella and just had to get them involved in the event. Their talent and style really blew us away, and we're really pleased that others have also recognized this through the choir's fantastic win in the ABC Queensland Choir Competition," said David Donahue.

Beat Lehmann said, "The Mayor and others who attended the opening really liked us and we wanted to support the project."

According to David Donahue, "Despite Aquapella being robbed of a place in the national finals, Water Matters still thinks they are the best choir in the country, and when the opportunity came to put our money where their mouth is, we jumped at the chance.

"We see in Aquapella the qualities we want for our own organisation - dedication, working together for quality outcomes, and always doing the best they can while having fun along the way - so we are very happy to be recognised as supporters of this great group."

The CD will, according to Beat, take most of next year to record with about one third new being material. He is also planning a major launch at the following Woodford Festival.

For people interested in joining the Choir, which currently has over 50 members, Beat is very encouraging, saying, "there are still places available."

Interested singers may also wish to make use of Beat's World Music Singing Workshops which he will be holding this weekend at Magnums in Arcadia. The Workshops start on Friday from 7pm to 9pm and follow on Saturday and Sunday from 10am to 4pm. For more information Beat can be contacted on 4758 1707 or

To make a comment see below

Aquapella to make CD with $4000 sponsorship
Jenny Stirling
November 24th 2006

Damn, I missed it.

Everytime I am out of the room something like this happens.

Great work Beat and I look forward to the workshop.
george Villaflor
November 24th 2006
I had the luck to be in Townsville for our AGM that I had helped organise from Canberra (just happened to be by chance in Townsville- Oh yeah realy) & was invited by Maggie identity -singer,craftman/artist & master of everything this man touches,& friend, Andy Frost, to see the group sing at the golf club. I rounded up some mainland friends as well, including one that flew in from Newcastle. We foolishly ordered a cab on schoolies week that didnt turn up ( we named this the ghost cab of Maggie that drives the island without a driver or passengers) as we were sure we saw one flashing by a number of times as we stood our ground in the strong winds that Saturday nite, wishing for this mythical cab to get us all to the golf club in time. We were saved by Maggie's reliable bus service that dropped us almost at the door of the golf club. We got to hear the last songs of the night after a fine meal. Singers, you are all legends & the Irish song version of My Love dragged emotions out of us all. Listening to that song powerfully sung, took us all back to the times when we thought love was possible. Though Im in love today with my wife & new daughter.Is there anything that Maggie people cannot do? I am looking so foward to the CD.
george villaflor barrister Canberra
November 24th 2006
Call me "Old-Fashioned" but when I pay the water component of my rates, I expect those $$$ to be paying for the cost of water and its provision - not subsidising the production of a music CD, however worthy.

(This should not be taken as an attack on "Aquapella" - 'cos it ain't.)
November 27th 2006
Even as a member of Aquapella I don't think it's old fashioned to examine the way local government spends our rate dollars. But it could be slightly contrary to not acknowledge that the Water Matters Alliance is something other than local government. The article makes clear that the WMA is a public / private partnership between several companies and Townsville City Council. I believe it has an independent chairman, an independent audit process and contracted public relations and community consultation functionaries. In that sense and in the way the WMA has functioned on the Island in the past year or so - particularly with its energetic community consultation and communication - it is in fact a 'new fangled' thing. I suppose public philanthropy is fairly new-fangled in our experience too but that doesn't make it wrong or misguided.
In my view it is a far cry from the pugilistic approach of the City Council in the past couple of decades and as such is a breath of fresh air. I was singing the praises of the WMA long before they saw the opportunity to support Aquapella.
November 28th 2006
Charlie, I said I was happy to be called "Old-Fashioned" not that I was happy to be called "contrary" albeit "slightly"; so now you get both barrels.

The facts are:

WMA is a totally publicly-funded entity. (The private companies involved are acting under public contracts.)

It exists for a purpose, which is said above to be "to develop a $100 million upgrade of Townsville
November 28th 2006
One barrel is all that is necessary. Independent of Townsville City Council is what the WMA is. The Council makes a decision to spend a big whack of money to upgrade waste water infrastructure and carries out the project through the medium of the WMA. As ratepayers, you and I can inquire about that part of the investment that comes directly from Council funds. But I suggest there are other sources including state and federal governments so once the (combined) money has passed to the control of the WMA it is the business of the WMA (not ratepayer overseen Council) as to how, when and where it is spent. That is, each of the partners including TCC decide that question, not the Council itself, alone. Whether it's a good thing or not is their decision. Clearly, they think it is money well spent.
As to the question of accountability I'd guess that since these public / private partnerships are a state government creation it's likely that's where the accounting takes place. I haven't asked and don't know the exact department but it's likely to be the same one that counts incoming money from the casinos and outgoings for public works like art galleries and libraries.
David Donohue
December 4th 2006
Hi all, sorry for the delayed response (that will teach me to take time off).

I'm pleased both Rolf and Charlie are keeping us honest, and I can hopefully settle this easily.

When Aquapella approached the Alliance for support, I made it clear that public funds were not available but that I would approach the four commercial partners (AbiGroup, Aquatec-Maxcon, GHD and United Group Infrastructure) about dipping into their own corporate pockets and finding $1000 each to support Aquapella.

I'm very pleased to say that, within a week I had cheques in that amount from each of them to help support what they saw as a worthy community group which was bringing together the mainland and Island communities.

The $4000 has come direct from the commercial partners and not from public funds. All of the Townsville City Council and State Government funds are being used to rebuild and extend our community's wastewater infrastructure - already making Magnetic Island a sustainable zero outfall community.

David Donohue
Stakeholder Relations Manager
Water Matters Alliance

1800 818 717

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