The Hamilton and Alexandra College principal Bruce Simons (left), Federal Education Minister Peter Garrett and chairman of the board Robert Stewart OAM in relaxed mood at the opening of the Kantor Family Music and Performing Arts Centre. A CLASSICAL cornucopia of Handel, Puccini and Bizet was music to the ears of former rock frontman Peter Garrett yesterday.
Nanjing Night Net

The Federal Education Minister was in a far more sedate mood compared to his wild rock days as the guest of honour to open the Hamilton and Alexandra College’s new $6.3 million Kantor Family Music and Performing Arts Centre.

The former Midnight Oil frontman was secured to open the centre through his connection to the Kantor family, an association which stretches back two decades to their combined work with the Australian Conservation Foundation (ACF).

He said the project received $1 million in federal support through its capital grants program, which provided building works funding through a partnership with state governments and independent schools.

“It’s just a fantastic facility, it’s absolutely first class and will make a significant contribution to the region’s performing arts and education,” Mr Garrett said.

“I’ve known the Kantor family for many years, back to my time with the ACF, and they invited me to officially open the centre, which I was pleased to do. Today’s ceremony is a great example of government partnership with non-government schools, as well as the generosity of the donors.”

The new centre features a 519-seat auditorium, the Tim Murray Room, the Robert and Hilda Henderson Orchestra Room, a hall, practice classrooms, the SoundHouse and a new student cafeteria.

The Hamilton and Alexandra College principal Bruce Simons said a number of benefactors provided philanthropic support including the Kantors, radio proprietor Geoff Handbury and retired businessman Bob Henderson.

He said teaching director Davina McClure and other hard-working staff had been instrumental in preparing yesterday’s official opening.

Selections from George Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess, Bizet’s opera Carmen and a 100-student strong choral item were among performances during yesterday’s two-hour function.

Orchestra Victoria will also host a number of school community workshops at the new centre and the Community OV Concert will be held in the Simons Auditorium later this year.

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