Acting Mayor Gavin Jones with two of Murgon’s oldest citizens, centenarians Alf “Mick” Purser and Gladys Birch … the trio officially opened the 2023 Murgon Music Muster

November 3, 2023

It was a real mix of young and old at the official opening of the 2023 Murgon Music Muster on Friday afternoon.

The official opening was done with the help of some of Murgon’s oldest citizens – Castra residents Mick Purser and Gladys Birch who have both turned 100 – as well as youngsters from St Joseph’s Primary School and St Mary’s Catholic College.

It was compered by local councillor Kathy Duff who was joined on stage by Acting Mayor Gavin Jones.

St Joseph’s Year 5 student Jasper Rawlings launched proceedings with the National Anthem, which was greeted with loud applause from the large crowd in the PCYC auditorium.

He was followed on stage by St Mary’s Year 6 student Cooper Kruse who sang “There’s Lots To Do In The Country”.

Music teacher Maria Mollenhauer, who teaches at both primary schools, explained the song was a collaborative effort by St Mary’s students who had worked alongside local musician Paul Ricketts to write the song.

But that wasn’t the only contribution by the students.

They then gathered as a group to sing an old ABC Songbook title, “My Place”, written by Paul Finlay.

Paul, who lives in Queensland, wrote the song 23 years ago and said he was stunned when he was contacted about the schoolchildren singing it.

The students lined up across the front of the auditorium with Paul on stage for a rousing rendition of the old song.

Murgon Rotary Club organises the annual Music Muster.

Muster co-chair Heath Sander said two years ago, there had been 25 active Rotary members to set up the event but this year there were only eight.

“This whole event has been set up by eight Rotarians, their partners and a few good friends of Rotary,” Heath said.

He acknowledged their help and support, as well as paying tribute to Rotarians who had died since last year’s event, including Bruce Bishop – the original instigator of the Muster – and Glenn Kapernick.

The Muster has actually been running since Tuesday, with caravans and campervans arriving even before that.

The first few days featured walk-up artists on stage plus a country dance on Thursday night.

However, the serious entertainment kicked off after the opening, with the first of the main artists – Ashley Cook – taking to the stage.

Other artists appearing across the weekend include Tracy Coster, Col Finley, Lindsay Waddington, Brendan Radford and Ashleigh Dallas.

The Music Muster will officially wrap up about noon on Sunday.

Mick Purser and Gladys Birch hold the pink ribbon for Acting Mayor Gavin Jones to cut
Co-chairs Heath and Rowena Sander are the main organisers of the annual Muster
Year 5 student Jasper Rawlings, from St Joseph’s Catholic Primary School, sang “Advance Australia Fair”
St Mary’s Year 6 student Cooper Kruse sang, “There’s Lots To Do In The Country”, a song written by his fellow students
Cr Kathy Duff compered the official opening and also read a prayer, dedicated to farmers who are doing it tough at the moment because of the lack of rain
Paul Finlay wrote “My Place” 23 years ago … he sang the song on stage, with students across the front of the auditorium
St Mary’s and St Joseph’s students formed a choir to sing “My Place”
Paul Finlay poses outside the PCYC with the St Joseph’s and St Mary’s students
Ashley Cook was the first Muster act on stage after the official opening
Muster volunteers taking a quick break …Tony Guse, Steve McReight and Angelo Romeo



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