The festive season is upon us!

Tom Knowles

How good to welcome the start of summer, the promise of Christmas, and freedom from lockdown with an open-air jazz concert!

Thanks to Christmas Festival funding from the City of Melbourne, that was the good fortune of Parkville Gardens residents on the afternoon of Sunday, December 5. Throw in blue skies, warm sunshine, a grassy reserve and picnic fare with friends and family, and you have perfect conditions to enjoy two local jazz combos making great music.

First up mid-afternoon was the Juliarna Clark Quartet – Juliarna doing the vocals, backed by husband James on double bass, Joe Ruberto on keyboard and Rodney Gilbert on drums.  Wonderful performances from them all, including toe-tapping standards and seductive French classics. From late afternoon to early evening, it was modern jazz from the instrumental ensemble Breakout – Colin Garrett on sax, Malcolm Hornby on keyboard, Malcolm Abbott on drums and Stan van Hooft on bass guitar. It was an entertaining mix of music, ranging from original compositions to arrangements of Beatles and Abba songs. All up, a lovely relaxing and enjoyable way to come out of a challenging year.

The final highlight of the year was the annual general meeting of the Parkville Gardens Residents’ Association, held on the evening of Thursday, December 9 at the Reggio Calabria Club. There was a good turnout of long-term and recent members plus a couple of new faces. On the meeting menu were the usual ingredients – reports from the president, secretary and treasurer, open forum for questions and suggestions, and the election of committee members.

It gave us the opportunity to look back on a year that was remarkably successful, given the 108 days of lockdown. Funding from the City of Melbourne enabled us to have a community picnic in March, a children’s Easter egg hunt in April, a community dinner in June and the jazz concert in December. Additional funding from the Children’s Week Council made the children’s orienteering adventure in October possible. All in all, much to be thankful for.

The good news continues with fresh faces replacing retiring members Prue McKeown, Uma Lyengar and Chris Chen, along with Michael and Monika Saunders who are currently overseas. The new-old team consists of Tom Knowles (president), Faye Ryan (secretary), Sharon Khoo (treasurer), Michael Thom, Ian Aitken, Uddika Kahawatte, Nick Png and Jose Torres.    

We look forward to serving the Parkville Gardens community and enhancing the neighbourhood in 2022. We’ll be doing our best to make progress with the ongoing issues of development plans and powers, school zoning, traffic and parking, communication and community engagement. In the meantime, we wait with bated breath to hear whether our application for funding from the City of Melbourne for a series of events in 2022 has been successful or not. We hope so! •

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