THE artistic talents and strong culture of creativity in the Manning Valley is about to be put under the spotlight.
For the next three weeks, the 'Magic of the Manning' Manning Winter Festival will promote and celebrate our diverse creative culture with events ranging from concert performances, theatre performances, art and craft exhibitions, a masked ball and the recognition of some of the area's valued contributors to the visual and performing arts.
The festival will be officially opened by executive officer and regional arts and development officer of Arts Mid North Coast Kevin Williams this Saturday (June 14) during Sinfonia Mid North Coast's 'A Farewell Tribute' orchestral concert at St John's Anglican Church at 2pm.
The concert is paying tribute to honorary conductor James Hannah who is retiring after eight years with the orchestra.
Another highlight of the festival is the announcement of the 2014 Visual and Performing Arts Awards recipients.
Presentations, entertainment and refreshments will be on at the Manning Regional Art Gallery on Friday, June 20 from 6pm.
This function features a specially commissioned work by composer Andrew Chubb, and a performance by world renowned harpist Marshall McGuire.
Tickets are $15 for adults and $10 for students under 18.
Earlier that day, between noon and 2pm, the Manning Winter Festival's ambassador, former local and author Tanya Saad will be the guest speaker at the Quota International of Taree luncheon, Wielding a Double Edged Sword.
Tanya will speak on her memoir, From the Feet Up, which was released a couple of months ago. Tickets are $20 per person.
Saturday, June 21 will see the community digging out the finery for the Magical Masked Festival Ball at Club Taree.
Music will be provided by Saxanova, Newcastle's leading jazz style band.
For more information about the ball phone 0418 692 107. Tickets are $60.
On June 22 the Music Over the Manning concert will see the talents of the Myriad Ensemble, featuring some exceptional visiting musicians and former local Michael Bardon, and the Kantabile Chamber Choir combine as they perform a concert of harp, organ, instrumental and choral works.
The highlight will be the performance of John Rutter's Requiem for soprano, mixed choir, organ and instrumental ensemble.
The concert starts at 2.30pm at the St John's Anglican Church, tickets are adults $25, students $20 and afternoon tea is available for a gold coin donation.
Bookings for all these major events can be made at Movies, Games and More in Victoria Street, Taree.
The festival will conclude on Sunday, June 29 with Art in the Garden, to be held at Manning Winter Festival president George Hoad's 'Winchelsea Gardens' at 52 Alfred Road, Killabakh, where between 10am and 5pm beautiful gardens and garden art will be showcased.
Entry is $5 and children are free. Lunch and devonshire teas will be available with all proceeds to go towards Ronald McDonald House in Newcastle.