2008 Newspaper Articles
Posted 19 July 2010 - 08:04 AM
I love - Anthony Callea New York
Herald Sun -Extra Go Travel Liftout
"In the past few years I have been fortunate to see and experience quite a few places abroad, but it's hard to pick a favorite destination. They all have things to offer.
This month I spent some time in New York and, being the first time there, lets just say I was like a kid in a candy store.
We arrived in the evening and an hour later I was standing in the middle of Times Square eyes wide open while picking my jaw off the ground. Everyone always says New York is one of those places that needs to be seen to be believed - they're right.
From the lights to the billboards to the funky soul bars with a big black mama belting out some true soul like only a black woman can, to the endless options of Broadway musicals to experience, there is something for everyone.
There is a dangerous side to New York though, so when walking down Fifth Avenue don't pull out the Amex.
When it comes to shopping, if you can't find it in New York you can't find it anywhere.
One of my favorite activities was ice skating in Central Park. That was such a memorable day, it was a moment that you think you only see in the movies.
New York never sleeps and there is always something new to experience.
I will definately be going back, hopefully soon. I just need some more time to pay off the credit card."
Anthony Callea, The Palms at Crown, tomorrow.
Posted 19 July 2010 - 08:07 AM
Never an Idol Moment
By Andrew Murfett
Since finishing second in the 2004 season of Australian Idol, Anthony Callea's career has headed in some surprising directions.
IT'S a topic that will not go away. There are few interviews Anthony Callea has completed in the past two years in which it has not been mentioned. It is, of course, the 25-year-old's decision to attempt to launch a career in the music business through Australian Idol.
Callea was the star of the show's second season. His performance of Andrea Bocelli's The Prayer ranks as arguably Idol's all-time musical highpoint. The performance stunned the judges and the television audience, and proved both groups had underestimated him through the competition. And yet he didn't win.
In the four years since finishing as runner-up on the program, Callea has forged an interesting and varied career, releasing two albums for Sony Music, touring sporadically and, this year, taking on a role in the local production of the Broadway musical Wicked.
As he begins to think about recording a third album early next year, Callea will play his first and only pop gig of 2008, on Friday at Crown.
Behind the scenes, the performer has dealt with a bitter and costly change in management. And then there was his most courageous career move yet, the decision finally to come clean about those persistent rumours about his sexuality.
Gossip alleging he was gay dogged Callea's time on Idol and the period immediately after, even as he became the favourite of young girls and grannies across the country. Finally, and with little fanfare, he wrote a statement confirming he was gay and posted it on his website last year. His partner, former Home and Away actor Tim Campbell, will perform with him at Crown this week.
"You really have to be comfortable with yourself before you make that step," Callea says, explaining the delay in confirming what so many people had long suspected. "Everybody has an opinion. People say, 'You should have been up front about it', but you need to be comfortable.
"You don't want to get to 30 or 40 and be dealing with your sexuality. I wanted to do it my way. I didn't want my label or management to be a part of it, I wanted to write my own statement and express what I've gone through and dealt with."
There was a view that for anyone to come out while a contestant on Idol would be career suicide, but Callea says the impact on his career has been minimal.
"If you make it an issue, it becomes one," he says. "Being gay is a part of me, not who I am. I want to be known as a singer."
But when asked if you have to be straight to win Australian Idol, he laughs nervously.
"I don't think so. There will always be a minority of people who have an issue with homosexuality," he says.
"You have to have a thick skin sometimes. If you display an attitude that you're not affected by it, it shows people dealing with their sexuality that you can deal with it and still do what you love."
Callea began writing and recording music at 16. Through his later teens he regularly submitted demos and recordings to scouts from all the major labels without much luck.
"I used to make CDs and send them in," he says. "It's tough out there. Idol was an opportunity and a platform. What's the difference between something like that and Missy Higgins, who entered a radio competition?" (Higgins won JJJ's Unearthed competition in 2001, while still at high school.)
After finishing Idol, Callea released his version of The Prayer as a single. It sold about 300,000 copies, and his self-titled debut album, also rush-released, topped the charts. But the follow-up album, A New Chapter, could not match the sales of its predecessor. The signs were ominous.
At the same time, Callea was being sued by former manager Wendy Richards, who claimed breach of contract after he left her company in 2006. Although she was seeking more than $750,000, a confidential out-of-court settlement was reached after mediation.
When asked if the turmoil was distracting, he is succinct: "That's in the past. I'm happy with my management now."
Taking a part as the munchkin Boq in Wicked, at any rate, looks a lot like a shrewd career move. In the show, currently playing eight times a week at the Regent, Callea is impressive.
But he admits that, not being a trained actor or dancer, he has found staying in character difficult at times. "It's one of the biggest musicals to hit Australia and it's taught me a lot in a different discipline," he says. "It's a team effort, there are rules and protocols. Whereas in the pop world, you can get away with murder.
"This has challenged me. I've had to step out of my comfort zone each night. I didn't think I would be part of such a big production to start off with.
"But I want to be able to look back on my career in 15 or 20 years' time and have some great experiences."
Callea, who shared a dressing room with Rob Guest, says the veteran performer's sudden death in October drew the company closer together.
"We did a performance knowing he'd had a stroke, which was surreal. The next performance he was gone. He was at my house Monday night and had the stroke on the Tuesday. We had a glass of wine, he showed me his new car, and was really happy in a production he loved."
As for this Friday's show, Callea says fans can expect material from his first two albums as well as a sprinkling of new songs.
"I didn't want to get through the whole year without doing a live show," he says.
* just an update .... the online article has now been amended to give the concert day as Saturday.
Posted 19 July 2010 - 08:10 AM
Anthony Callea's Concert 6 December 2008, The Palms At Crown
Anthony Callea Saturday
Bookings & Enquiries: Ticketek
Anthony Callea returns to the music stage for not only an exclusive Melbourne show, but more importantly, an exclusive Australian show.
Taking a night off from his successful run in ?Wicked?, Anthony will delight his fans with this special show, featuring all his hits and more.
This is your only chance to see Anthony perform live with his band this year.
Don?t miss out. Book now.
Posted 19 July 2010 - 08:20 AM
Star ... Anthony Callea Has Fond Memories Of Werribee.
Werribee, Hoppers Crossing Star
By Allyson Fonseca
WERRIBEE crooner Anthony Callea has come a long way since his waitering days at Watton St?s Raffael?s Cafe.
Callea, 25, rose to prominence as a runner-up in the 2004 season of Australian Idol.
The song now synonymous with his name, The Prayer, remains the fastest and highest selling Australian single, four times going platinum and selling more than 280,000 copies.
?I still love seeing the reaction from the crowd when I get out and sing The Prayer,? Mr Callea said.
?It?s like they?re all on the edge of their seats, going, ?Is he going to make that note???
But Callea has not turned his back on his old stamping ground.
?Growing up in Werribee was great,? said Callea, who was educated at Corpus Christi primary school and MacKillop College.
?My uncle used to have a law firm there, so as kids we?d spend time hanging out in Watton St.
?Every Sunday after church, my mum would go to Bruno?s Deli to get fresh meat.
?People always go, ?Oh you lived in Werribee; that?s so far away? ? but it?s so not.
?I?ve got family and friends still in the area, so I?m always there, popping in and out.
?Sometimes I get bizarre looks from people. Unfortunately, it?s always the days when you look like crap that you get recognised.?
Up until January, Callea continues to play Boq in the musical Wicked, except on Saturday 6 December when he will perform live at Melbourne?s Crown Casino.
Callea?s partner and stage/screen entertainer, Tim Campbell, will also appear on stage for a special guest performance.
In 2007, Callea was inadvertently outed in a Sydney radio gossip segment by an announcer and acquaintance who thought the singer's sexuality was common knowledge.
But Callea was unfazed by the subsequent controversy.
?My sexuality is obviously part of who I am ? but it?s not just who I am,? he said.
?At the end of the day, it doesn?t change what I do. I am happy and comfortable with myself and what I do. I think that?s the most important thing.?
Attended by a film producer, Callea spent last week in New York, seeking inspiration for the new album on which he intends to focus in the first half of 2009.
?I?d like to put myself into the shoes of my own fans: what do they want to see?? he said.
?It?s all well and good just getting out there and singing and performing, but I want them to see what goes on behind the scenes in putting a project together.?
Callea said his number one passion was ?getting out there singing a great song?.
?Growing up, I loved John Farnham. These days there are some amazing artists out there ? look at artists like Christina Aguilera and Pink.
?They?re not just singers, they?re actual performers and entertainers, who know exactly who they are and what they are doing.
?Every artist aspires to be like them.
?I?ve already got my tickets to Pink. That?s how much of a fan I am.?
Callea?s advice to aspiring singers: ?If you love something and want to pursue it, don?t let anyone tell you anything different.
?Take it seriously, but if you?re not happy any more, and it becomes a chore, then you?re doing it for the wrong reasons,? he said.
?I think it?s really important to be versatile and not just pigeonhole yourself to one thing.?
Posted 19 July 2010 - 08:23 AM
It?s Enough to Make Anyone Green with Envy!
Anthony Callea and Kate Law reunited backstage.
Kate Law loves nothing more than to sing. So the Vision Australia client was very excited when she found out that she was going to see the Broadway musical Wicked in Melbourne with mum and dad.
Kate's trip from her Geelong home to one of the most popular productions in Melbourne became a day to remember when she was also given the opportunity to be reunited with Vision Australia's 2007 Carols by Candlelight Carols Ambassador and Aria Award winner, Anthony Callea.
Kate, along with her brothers Jacob and Nicholas, spent a lot of time with Anthony Callea in the lead up to last year's Vision Australia's Carols by Candlelight, but they have not seen each other since Christmas Eve. So Kate was understandably excited when Anthony took time out of his busy schedule to say hi and pose for a few photos backstage before the show.
Kate was also among a number of Vision Australia clients who took advantage of the audio description service for this show. Clients were also given the opportunity to take part in a tactile tour of the costumes and stage.
"I was lucky to spend so much time with Anthony last year so it was very nice to meet him again. I really liked Anthony's character in the show too - he made me laugh," she said.
Due to popular demand Vision Australia will provide another audio description of Wicked on Saturday 10 January at 2pm at the Regent Theatre, Melbourne. For more information or to book tickets please contact EASE Ticketing, on 03 9699 8497 or email email@example.com
Posted 19 July 2010 - 08:28 AM
Kate's Mate Anthony
Blind Geelong girl Kate Law has been re-united with former Australian Idol singer Anthony Callea as a special backstage guest at the musical Wicked.
Kate, 8, and her mother Jayne have both been vision-impaired since birth. They first met Callea at Vision Australia's Carols by Candlelight where he was an ambassador last year.
Kate who loves drawing and singing, soon fell in love with the singer and they formed a strong bond.
Last Saturday, Callea invited Kate and Jayne to the backstage of his current hit show Wicked.
Callea and Kate spent their reunion by chatting and taking a photo.
Posted 19 July 2010 - 08:31 AM
Callea?s One Night Stand
By Nick Bond
Anthony Callea will be taking a night off from performing (as a munchkin, no less) in the mammoth musical Wicked next month to put on a one-night-only show at The Palms At Crown.
To the delight of many, Callea?s support act for the show will be his partner, Tim Campbell. It?s the most public showing yet for a relationship that began almost a year ago. Do the pair have a master plan to become Australia?s own Sonny and Cher?
?Definitely not ? we?re not that cheesy,? Callea told Southern Star.
?Tim?s a great performer, and I thought, he?s going to be there anyway ? why not have him get up and do a set as well??
?Now I?m actually a bit nervous. He?s been in rehearsals, but he won?t let me see what he?s working on. I know he?s got a full band and four dancers, and I?m a little bit scared that his show is going to be better than mine. He?s one of those triple threats ? he can sing, dance and act,? said Callea, with a healthy mix of admiration and jealousy.
Fans might even be treated to a duet.
?Possibly. We?re bashing out a few songs on the piano at home, but at this stage that?s as far as it?s gotten. We just want the night to have a great vibe about it ? sometimes when you over-rehearse, it doesn?t come off as natural as you want it to.?
While the couple?s steps into the spotlight were at first tentative ? they walked the red carpet separately at this year?s Logies ? they are now regularly seen together at events and openings. Callea doesn?t see their relationship as an issue.
?I don?t see us as being any different to any other couple. Of course we?re going to go to events together ? we are together. We?re comfortable with who we are, and it sometimes takes a while to get to that point. I?m not going to worry about what people think about my relationship, because it?s really nobody else?s business.?
Perhaps not, but as one of Australia?s only high-profile gay couples, Callea and Campbell are in a position to be role models for young Australians coming to terms with their own sexuality.
?Yeah, hopefully we are. We get letters from teenagers and even adults who are going through that emotional rollercoaster of realising their sexuality, saying ?thanks so much for doing what you?re doing.? It?s nice to know that some good is coming out of us being open about ourselves.?
With all this talk about Callea?s main squeeze, and as a card-carrying member of the Ginger Appreciation Society, I had to ask: how does it feel to be shacked up with one of Australia?s spunkiest rangas?
?I?d never even heard the word ? somebody said it to me, and I was like ?what?s a ranga??? he laughed. ?The funny thing is, my mum is fair-skinned with freckles and red hair. When my mum and Tim stand together, they actually look like brother and sister.
?But ranga appreciation? He doesn?t really have full-on red hair, it?s actually light brown, so I don?t think he?s a true ranga.?
Anthony, you?ve got yourself one fine piece o? ginge. Own it.
?OK ? go the redheads! Nothin? wrong with it??
Posted 19 July 2010 - 08:36 AM
With thanks diissee
Caption reads:Anthony Callea and partner Tim Campbell are living it up on holiday in the Big Apple. Callea is pictured here with New York's Naked Cowboy.
Callea Bites on Big Apple
Anthony Callea and partner Tim Campbell are on a well-earned holiday in the Big Apple.
The couple have been seeing a Broadway show every night as well as squeezing in meetings with showbiz
It's Callea's first trip to New York.
The Wicked cast member and actor Campbell have been taking happy snaps all over the city - and enjoying
the break together.
"When you're away for 10 days it's good to spend it with your partner," Callea said.
The couple have caught up with some important figures including Stephen Schwartz, who created the music
for Wicked, and Frank Wildhorn, who has written songs for Whitney Houston and Liza Minneli.
"Stephen Schwartz invited us to his New York apartment. As I held his Oscar in one hand and his Grammy in the other, I thought it's not every day you do that," Callea said.
Callea also has met contacts at Sony BMG
"I'm just over here to get some ideas happening to put the next project together," he said. ''It's not something I want to rush."
Callea will finish on Wicked in January.
In the meantime he and Campbell will be at the Palms at Crown on December 6 for a one-off concert.
Posted 19 July 2010 - 08:41 AM
Honey-smooth Voice of the 'Bee'
By LISA FOREMAN
ARIA winner Anthony Callea is proud to say he is a Werribee boy through and through. After shooting to fame as runner-up in the 2004 series of Australian Idol, Callea still lives in Wyndham and has fond memories of growing up here.
The 25 year old, soon to fly to New York to start work on his third album, recalls living with his parents in Yalonga Avenue, off Duncans Road, and then in another house near the Princes Highway.
He spent his primary school years at Corpus Christi before attending McKillop College.
Callea says he has heard all the jokes about Werribee's smell and no longer bats an eyelid.
"To be honest, people can take the piss out of Werribee as much as they want, but for me it was a great place to grow up," he said.
"It was a great place and I don't have any regrets about my upbringing in Werribee, I loved it."
Since Idol, Callea has released two albums and holds the record for both the biggest and fastest-selling single in Australia for his debut release, The Prayer.
Callea was five when he turned to his mother and told her he wanted to be a singer.
"Mum used to drive me to Richmond once or twice a week for singing lessons," he recalled.
"At that age I didn't know what I wanted to do, but I just enjoyed it and loved doing it and thankfully it led to something I could actually make a career out of."
To expose his talent, he would take part in school holiday singing competitions at Werribee Plaza.
"No matter how cool you think you are, everyone has been a dag at least once in their life."
His first accolade came when he won the Wyndham Young Achiever award: "I think I was in year 8 or 9. I remember going to the cultural centre and getting my little trophy and medallion."
Things have certainly changed since then.
He auditioned for the second series of Australian Idol.
"I just thought I'd be stupid not to give it a go.
"It was a tough three months, but I'm glad I did it as obviously I wouldn't be doing what I am doing now."
The gamble paid off.
Callea has accumulated many awards, including an ARIA, Channel V Artist of the Year award and MTV Viewers' Choice award and has sung for dignitaries including the late Luciano Pavarotti, the Queen and Prince Frederik and Princess Mary of Denmark.
He has also taken his talents to the theatre, starring in the musical Wicked.
Callea's next project will see him team up with partner and former Home and Away star Tim Campbell for a performance at Crown casino in Melbourne on December 6.
Tickets from www.ticketek.com.au or on 1300795012.
Posted 19 July 2010 - 08:44 AM
Anthony Callea - What I'm Watching
Sunday Herald Sun
(performs at The Palms at Crown, one night only on
December 6, visit www.ticketek.com.au)
Six Feet Under: Series 6
" I am currently into this. It stars one of my favourites, Rachal Griffiths, and is another one of those great HBO series."
Posted 19 July 2010 - 08:47 AM
With thanks Lea
POCKET-size singer ...
By Fiona Byrne
POCKET-size singer Anthony Callea is quitting the very successful stage musical Wicked.
The former Australian Idol runner up, whose six-month contract with the show is soon to end, will leave the production in early January.
A spokeswoman for Wicked confirmed producers had started auditions for someone to take over the role of Boq the munchkin.
Posted 19 July 2010 - 08:50 AM
post Nov 6 2008, 12:07 AM
Romance to Share Stage
By BY CAMERON ADAMS, CLAIRE SUTHERLAND and NEALA JOHNSON
ANTHONY Callea started the year making headlines by revealing he was dating fellow performer Tim Campbell.
Now they're finishing the year by performing together on stage.
Campbell will open for Callea at the Palms at Crown on December 6.
``I don't know what Tim's doing, he's keeping it a secret from me,'' Callea tells The Back Room. ``Apparently there might be dancers. He had a rehearsal and about 20,000 people were there. I'm starting to worry now. I think his show is going to be better than mine!
``He's a really strong performer. I figured if I was doing a show he's going to be there anyway, so he may as well get up and sing.''
The pair are also planning a duet.
``We've just got a piano at home, so if we can come up with something better than Chopsticks we might throw that in.''
It's been a busy year for Callea, performing in Wicked eight times a week. He'll take a night off from the hit musical for the Palms show, which he wants to be ``not overly rehearsed''.
Callea says moving into theatre has taught him new discipline.
``Keeping it fresh is the main challenge, doing exactly the same thing eight times a week. For a pop singer, every night can be different. You can interact with the audience if someone yells out. In Wicked you have to keep a straight face.''
Callea takes a break from Wicked for a trip to New York this month to meet the producers of his third album, which may contain songs from popular musicals.
``I'm not sure what direction it will take yet,'' Callea says. ``I'm lucky I haven't had to rush an album out just for the sake of it. I'm going over there with an open mind, I'm open to whatever comes my way.''
He'll also take the opportunity to see the Broadway production of Wicked.
``I've never seen the show. I'd never actually heard of Wicked when they asked me to be part of it, so hopefully I can scam some tickets!''
see> Anthony Callea, the Palms at Crown, Dec 6, $50 to $70, Ticketek.
Posted 19 July 2010 - 08:52 AM
Matthew Rennie Remembered
Some of the biggest names in theatre joined forces with other members of the entertainment industry last night to raise all-important funds for cancer research at the fourth Light The Night charity event.
The event is inspired by Matthew Rennie, the brother of theatre performers Shaun and Adam. Matthew lost his battle with leukemia last year but Light The Night remains his legacy.
Last night's event was highlighted with an emotional speech by Matthew's father Colin, who urged people to consider donating blood given how vital it is in treating cancer victims. He spoke of the last birthday card he received from his son, and the book Matthew was in the middle of reading when he passed away in October last year.
Performance wise, highlights included an emotional rendition of 'For Good' by Wicked stars Amanda Harrison and Lucy Durack, who were accompanied by Kellie Dickerson, the partner of the late Rob Guest.
Tim Campbell and Anthony Callea performed 'Get Here If You Can' superbly, Katie Noonan was excellent as always and Hayden Tee led a choir of some of showbusiness' most talented vocalists.
Matthew Robinson's own composition 'Boyband' brought the house down, while the night was kicked off by Margi De Ferranti, Francesca Arena and Emma Powell who performed a Dreamgirls medley.
Posted 19 July 2010 - 08:54 AM
Bert Newton Shows Stage Magic
Sunday Herald Sun
By Shannon Deery
TV LEGEND Bert Newton will again tread the boards as the Wizard of Oz when he joins the cast of Wicked this week.
Newton will make his debut in the stage show on Thursday night.
He replaces Rob Guest, who died last month after a stroke.
Co-producer John Frost is expected to make the official announcement on Tuesday.
It will see Newton reprise the role he played on stage 17 years ago in the stage production of The Wizard of Oz.
Wicked has grossed $25 million since opening in July and is expected to play for at least the next 12 months.
The move also means Newton will take the stage at this year's Vision Australia's Carols by Candlelight with the entire cast of Wicked.
They will be joined at the Christmas Eve event by David Campbell, Hi-5, Marina Prior, Ian Stenlake and Anthony Callea.
Georgie Parker and Tim Campbell will make their Carols debut, while Today Show hosts Karl Stefanovic and Lisa Wilkinson will host the night.
Posted 19 July 2010 - 08:59 AM
With thanks Lea
Wicked Drop or Two
By Megan Miller, Megan McNaught and Jane Metlikovec
BOY pals Anthony Callea (far right) and Tim Campbell (right) were enjoying some rare time together in the Myer marquee.
``I have to leave to perform at Wicked tonight so I had better watch what I am drinking,'' Callea said.
``They are going down pretty well, so I could easily accidentally have a few too many.
``I will limit myself to three or four.''
Wicked co-star Rob Mills was limiting himself to one champagne in the Lexus marquee, before heading home for a snooze before the show last night.
Posted 19 July 2010 - 09:01 AM
Stunning Shimmer Amid Spring Racing Opulence
By Larissa Ham at Flemington
A $1 million hat dripping with simulated diamonds set a new benchmark for opulence in the already-glittering Birdcage marquees at this year's Oaks Day.
Miss Australia Laura Dundovic's slender neck was holding up the extravagant headpiece, which was created by milliner Nadia Trowsdale.
"It's the most expensive hat ever unless you're a maharajah," says Ms Trowsdale.
In the chandelier-lit Emirates marquee retired Australian netballer Liz Ellis and teammate Catherine Cox are draped in jewels courtesy of Holloway Diamonds.
Ellis' earrings alone are worth a cool $95,000.
"We will be in very well lit areas today," she joked.
The tall pair have a sky-high view of Fashions on the Field today, and say they've seen the full gamut of outfits so far.
"We decided there's a fine line between sexy and trashy," Ellis said.
Taking a more laid-back approach to the day, comedian Dave Hughes is enjoying a punt, and maybe sneaking a look at the fillies.
"I'm no expert at fashion but it gives me an excuse to look at the girls," he said.
"I've got my wife here so she's keeping me in line."
Former Essendon great James Hird, now a father of three, says his outfit took about three minutes to assemble.
"It's great because all my old teammates are training today and I'm here," Hird said.
Solo sailor Jesse Martin is enjoying a relaxing day in the Myer marquee with mate Jules Lund.
"It's impressive having not been here for a few years," Martin said.
The endurance adventurer is now running a charter business out of Papua New Guinea and Australia and said today's glitz was a far cry from his usual routine.
"It's two different worlds."
Anthony Callea and boyfriend Tim Campbell are enjoying a whirl around the Myer tent, before they head to New York, where Callea will record his third album.
Callea said he organised his race day outfit yesterday, but was a fan of the ladies' fashion.
"Oaks Day is great because all the ladies make an extra effort, it's good to see some traditionally classy outfits," he said.
Posted 19 July 2010 - 09:03 AM
This Old Love
The annual Light the Night charity concert was founded by two gay siblings after their straight brother, Matthew, was diagnosed with leukaemia in 2004. Tragically, Matthew passed away last year. One of those brothers, Shaun Rennie, sat down with Garrett Bithell.
?The whole idea started when my brother, Matthew, was in his first stages of fighting the disease. He was in hospital undergoing a stem cell transplant, which meant that he had to be in one room for a four or five month period without leaving at all. And so we were at the hospital with him all the time ? and he was so sick but he was fighting so hard. He was so amazing and strong. It came from just watching him and feeling frustrated that there was nothing we could actually do to help him, other than hold his sick bowl and help cool his forehead.?
So says Shaun Rennie, whose brother Matthew was diagnosed, at 24 years of age, with acute leukemia in 2004. To combat his feelings of abject helplessness, Shaun created the annual charity concert, Light the Night, with his brother Adam and two family friends, Monica and Greg Smith. Tragically, Matthew passed in October of last year, shortly before the 2007 concert.
?It was a three-year rollercoaster of treatment, and him being so sick yet so incredibly tough ? he?s the bravest guy I think I?ll ever meet,? Rennie says. ?And the way he was able to remain positive and upbeat ? that was why we couldn?t sit back and do nothing. How could we not find a way to support his fight??
Now in its fourth year, Light the Night raises funds for leukemia research and the Arrow Bone Marrow Transplant Foundation ? over $130,000 so far.
?It?s his legacy. It has been about turning something that is horribly devastating for my family into something that is incredibly positive,? Rennie muses. ?And it?s bigger than Matthew and bigger than us now. The money raised over the last three years has gone towards helping other people and moving towards finding a cure.?
This year?s concert features an impressive line-up of performers, including Lior, Katie Noonan, Anthony Callea and Tim Campbell.
?The challenge is to keep upping the ante,? Rennie says. ?I?m so excited. Lior is actually singing what was Matt and [his girlfriend] Lisa?s song ? ?This Old Love?. They used to listen to it for positive reinforcement every time he went in for treatment, because the lyrics are basically ?we?ll grow old together?. So that?s going to be incredibly special for a lot of people in the room, but especially for Lisa.? Also performing are country stunners the McClymonts, the inimitable Maria Venuti and All Saints actor Virginia Gay. The stars of Wicked will be flying up from Melbourne to join in as well.
Says Rennie: ?The only person who is able to take responsibility for Light the Night is Matthew ? because if he was any other person, we may not have been inspired to do this.?
Light the Night charity concert, City Recital Hall (Angel Place, Sydney) on Monday, November 10 at 7.30pm. For tickets contact the City Recital Hall box office on (02) 8256 2222 or online at cityrecitalhall.com
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