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Winners … and winners

by Suzanne Yanko

The ABC is preoccupied with lists this Queen’s Birthday, 2016. First is Classic FM’s Countdown 100 VOICE, which has brought listeners a long weekend of superb music, and conversations with professional musicians and listeners. Check the list online at http://www.abc.net.au/classic/classic100/voice/

The winner of the 100 VOICE poll was a complete surprise to many people!

The ABC News has a list of winners of the Queen’s Birthday Honours with profiles of interest. We’ve chosen the stories of women who have contributed much to the music world but also honour musician and educator, Richard Gill, AO.

Congratulations to them, and all those honoured today.

And thanks, ABC, for some good news on a day when we need it!

Rhoda Roberts (AM)

Rhoda Roberts (pictured) has been honoured for her distinguished service to the performing arts, leadership, advocacy and promoting contemporary Indigenous culture.

As the head of Indigenous programming at the Sydney Opera House, Ms Robert has been at the helm of Australian and international arts festivals for more than two decades, including the Sydney Olympics.

She told the ABC her award was “totally unexpected and quite humbling”.

Ms Roberts, who is a member of the Bundjalung nation from northern New South Wales, said Queen Elizabeth was important to her people.

“The Queen’s birthday means so much more in more ways than it possibly means to other Australians, because they see her as the law woman,” she said.

She said she arts provided a form of healing for her community.

“I work in the arts because I really believe it’s a platform for change and most importantly it keeps our languages, our stories, our rituals, the passages of life alive,” she said.

Ms Roberts said she had seen “extraordinary changes” in the decades she had been working in the arts.

“If you think back to the 70s, there was a huge growth of the visual arts, and particularly with the Papunya Tula movement, we saw international galleries wanting our works,” he said.

“There’s always been music of course, and we moved more towards the performing arts in the 1980s.”

But she said the biggest challenge was obtaining arts funding.

“We are unique as a nation. We have Australia’s oldest living race, but we are going to have to get creative and it’s quite frightening when you think of how many companies have had to close and how much employment that is,” Ms Roberts said.

Kate Ceberano (AM)

Singer, songwriter and entertainer Kate Ceberano has been honoured for her contribution to the performing arts and her charitable work. Australian singer Kate Ceberano has sold more than 1 million albums in Australia.

“I could cry,” she told the ABC.

“I’m amazed that in the three plus decades I’ve been in music, that all the peripheral type activities that come with that seem to be acknowledged in this great honour, and I feel very moved by it.”

Ceberano has raised money for causes including breast cancer and children’s hospitals.

“My favourite assistance using music in the service of others is singing to premature babies in the premmie wards — my brother and I often do that,” she said.

“The highlight is I’ve made enough of a career in order to be of use and be exploited in the best of all possible ways for the service of others.”

The pop singer, who rose to fame in the 80s and has recorded 24 albums, told the ABC: “I’d like to feel there’s a place for me well into my 70s and 80s”.

This information was taken from ABC News Online. More profiles of Australians recognised in the Queens Birthday Honours can be found on the ABC website.


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