Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Interview with Alex Thompson from Beneath Hill 60

DATE: April 12th 2010 12:23
DETAILS: I had the pleasure of interviewing one of the stars from the upcoming Beneath Hill 60 that releases this Thursday 15th April. Alex Thompson plays Walter Sneddon, one of the company led by Captain Woodward. I had the benefit of actually knowing Alex prior to the interview and I have to pass on my thanks to Paramount for allowing me the chance to sit down over coffee for a quiet chat for half an hour. Big thanks also to Alex for his time to discuss his first big feature film and for Beneath Hill 60 for a) hiring him and for b) making a damn fine film. For my review of the film please go HERE. Just a head's up JK is me Jason King and then logic would dictate AT is Alex Thompson.
JK: Tell me about Beneath Hill 60 and your character Walter Sneddon in your own words.
AT: Beneath Hill 60 is a true story about Capt Woodward who was a miner in Townsville. He trained in Charter's Towers which is basically a mine up in Townsville. He went over to Armentieres to basically mine under the German lines and it was considered a cowardice attack to mine under the enemy lines and blow them up from underneath. It was a silent and secret little war and he had a group of soldiers and one of the soldiers in his company was Walter Sneddon, who was an 18yr old boy who group up in Wallsend up in Newcastle and he signed up for the war because recruiters came round to his town and basically promised all the young guys an adventure and everyone believed the war would be over before Christmas so Walter signed up, went back home and told his mum and dad he had signed up for the war. The next day his dad went and signed up too, went back home and told his wife. Her response was "how can you sign up after my only boy has signed up?". He said "well I have been looking after my boy for the past 18yrs so i'm not stopping now?". So it was nice to play a character who actually existed. You have a history, a lot of research to look back on and a huge amount of responsibility that lies on your shoulders to do this person justice. So he was part of Woodward's company and they went over to Belgium, looked after 500 tonnes of amonal mines underneath enemy lines and on June 7th Woodward and his company made history.

JK: So are there any photos of your character?
AT: No, that's the funny thing, we haven't been able to find any photos of Walter or Jim Sneddon. I did research when I got the role, which was probably character was actually the last cast. They spent a lot of time looking for a Walter, they needed a big build guy who looked young.
JK: They knew he was a big build guy?
AT: Yeah, that was in the script. He was a big build guy with a baby face and he also needed to look very similar to his dad (Alan Dukes) who was already cast. It actually worked out perfectly that we looked quite alike. So when I got the role it was only three weeks until boot camp, so I only had three weeks to research the role and I was asked to bulk up. So in that time I only found Jim Sneddon's death certificate and Walter and Jim's enlistment papers. So that's all I have been able to find. I have been trying, even up to now, to find the Sneddon's up in Wallsend. Apparently even Ray Martin and the Executive Producer (Ross Thomas) and everyone has been trying to locate information on them, documents, photographs and no-one has been able to find them so far.

JK: What mining or military training did you have to do to prepare for the role? And also what mental preparations did you do for the role?
AT: Well as I said, I only had three weeks prep prior to boot camp from when I was cast and when I had my second audition, my callback, when I first met Jeremy (Simms) he did say to me can you try and bulk up a bit and do some weights for the next couple of weeks to give some idea that you have been mining for a little while. I had a bit of a regiment eating steak and veggies every day and I did about three weight sessions a day. I couldn't do any cardio because I wasn't allowed to lose any weight. So I literally just worked on my upper body. (JK note: Alex is quite slim in real life so he managed a lot in 3 weeks). So I had to do that and we got up to Townsville and spent 5 days doing military boot camp with one of the actors, Warwick Young, who plays Percy Marsden, he had military experience (was in the army) so he actually came on as technical advisor and they took us out to Lavarack Barracks and we learned how to march, army movements, ranks and we were issued with our rifles and did a bit of firing training with our blanks and then they put us in the trenches for two days, they put us in there overnight. There were ten of us in the trenches and we were given our rations, a can of Bully Beef and packet of biscuits and water bottle and told "off you go". We had no idea what to expect and we had no idea what was going on, the only person who did was Warwick (Young) who was organising the whole thing and he would tell Steve Le Marquand (Sergeant Bill Fraser) who was our Corporal. So these whole five days of boot camp we referred to each other in our character's names, so it wasn't only a five day boot camp to learn how you work as a military operation it was also an improvisation for us so we could get to know each other as our characters so I was referred to as Walt and I would call Alan Dukes "Dad" throughout the five days. In the trenches they had organised for the Special FX guys, who needed to do their tests, to set off all their explosion tests with us in the trenches, so it was really a funny experience but also very shocking because you would be sitting down enjoying a cigarette, because we were only allowed Rollies for authenticity, so you would just roll a cigarette and be sitting there because we were tired because we had been digging a little outpost for three hours after having done all this movement training and you put a little bit of rum in there, so you are just absolutely buggered after ten hours of hard work, and mind you we are actors, so you sit down to have your cigarette with a nice little cup of tea and all of a sudden BOOM an explosion goes off and you are just showered in mud and then all of a sudden Steve (Le Marquand) would come and yell us to get up on the parapet and jump up there and there are explosions going off and they got extras to run along in front of us in German costume and we had to fire our blanks at them and they were firing back at us. So actually, the first time that happened I nearly shat my pants as it was really a scary little experience. It was amazing and we learnt a lot and then we spent one day getting mining experience and how we used all the mining tools and operated as a unit under enemy lines as you have to be silent in these tunnels and you couldn't just have a shovel and the freedom of just digging away as you are in such a confined space so you had top learn how to use these little instruments. So we really learnt a lot but we did get to know each other quite well and we became quite close just in these five days and the cameras weren't even rolling.

JK: And anything to mentally prepare for the role?
AT: It's a pretty tough story and as I said before there's a lot of responsibility resting on your shoulders, you really have to do these boys proud because no-one has really heard what they have done. The real diggers were responsible for one of the greatest victories in the war and they came back to Australia after staying in Belgium for a year or two after the war had ended to help rebuild bridges and roads so by the time they came back here to Australia there were no ticker-tape parades, no medals and they were unsung heroes. So hearing all that and knowing all that there is a huge amount of responsibility so you really have top do it properly. It's not like you can walk into the film going I am playing a character, let's have some fun you have to do them justice.
JK: Maybe someone will go and watch it and realise "that's my grandfather"
AT: Yeah, that would be amazing

JK: Where was the film made and how were your living arrangements? I.e. Were they better than your living arrangements in the film?
AT: We film it up in Townsville and the town was great, they really loved the idea of a film being made there and they had such an attachment to the film as the lead character, Woodward came from there. They really helped the film out and we had great accommodation staying in furnished apartments.
JK: You got to come home at the end of the day and shower after all that mud
AT: Yes we did, couldn't do that in boot camp but we did get to do that after each day of shooting, and I was sharing an apartment with two of the guys, Mark Coles Smith (Billy Bacon aka Streaky - who YAY commented on the Salty Popcorn review of Beneath Hill 60 yesterday and made my day) and Mart Thomas (Ginger) so we all had fun. Because we got so close not only doing boot camp but filming each day we'd go back and all enjoy a cheeky little beer after a hard day's work. It was good that we all really got along so well. And it was such a great place to work, beautiful sunny Townsville, we'd take a trek over to Magnetic Island if we had a weekend off and we'd go to the beach.
JK: How long was the shoot?
AT: We shot for two months.

JK: What is your favourite memory from on set?
AT: The funny thing is that my favourite memory is actually boot camp. It wasn't even when the cameras were rolling, it was boys with toys. It was about discovery and a new experience. Being handed a rifle and told to go out and play soldier for a week was a cool experience. Funnily enough, one of my best memories, from an actor's point of view, was a scene I had with Chris Haywood, who played Colonel Rutledge, and I don't think the scene actually made the film, which was a shame, but it was an amazing experience, I remember he came onto set and he was going through his actor's process and we didn't really talk about anything because you give each other a bit of space and freedom. Jeremy came in and called action and he gave this amazing performance and I didn't have a line but I remember being so effected by his performance by him that I forgot I was acting and it was a real moment as an actor that you realise "I'm not acting" this person is just drawing a performance out of you and I'm not even aware I am doing it. It was an amazing experience to take out of that as an actor to actually feel that and forget the cameras were rolling.
JK: How were you cast for the part and describe your relationship with the impressive cast? And what was your reaction when you discovered you would be acting with some of Australia's acting heavyweights?
AT: It was all pretty surreal, I literally got a phone call from my agent on a Friday afternoon saying "Hey you've got an audition on Monday morning for Beneath Hill 60", so I went home and that weekend spent Saturday and Sunday all day researching everything I could about the film itself, who was involved and the story. I rocked up on Monday morning, did my audition and walked out like most actors going "M'eh, I don't know how I went". You just don't know and you can never tell. I always get the call from mum asking how I went and always responding "I don't know". So Tuesday you stress out wondering if you are going to get a phone call soon and then Wednesday morning I get the phone call telling me they want to fly me up to Townsville tomorrow (Thurs) to meet the casting director and director, so I hopped on a plane Thursday morning, met Jeremy, met Kirsty (the casting director) and they said "You've got the role" and it was then three weeks up until filming and we had a rehearsal in Sydney and I met the cast and from boot camp we all became really close. But you walk into the rehearsal room and go "WOW" and there's Gyton and there's Anthony Hays and you see these guys and I have watched them and I remember Brendon from years and years ago on Life Support and thinking "Man, this guy's so funny" and here he is sitting across from me and you get a bit star struck but then you realise they are ordinary blokes who want to have a beer with you and their doing their job and so are you.

JK: I heard a rumour you got caught on the wring side of some pyrotechnic explosions. Can you clarify this?
AT: (Chuckling) We were doing a night shoot, and we had to jump off a truck and run across the battlefield, no man's land and there were explosions going off in the background and then later on I think this was the scene where us three young boys (Sneddon, Bacon and Tiffin) get split up and take the wrong turn. It was as we get off the truck, we jump off and Woodward says go this way. Now the ground was wet because all the effects and props people had hoses and were wetting the ground to give it a nice little look and we had these boots on that just had no grip whatsoever and they timed the explosions so they would go off as we go past because we were in this line as were running out past the camera. We started running and I slipped, the timing went off a bit, and the pyrotechnic explosion went off and, you know, hit me in the face. And I wear contact lenses and unfortunately lost one of my contacts and this was the start of the night. I was just thinking to keep going, with my hand over the eye but someone saw I was hurt, yelled cut and got a nurse. Then this stopped all the shoot asking if I needed to lie down or what I wanted to happen. I was "no no no, i'm cool, how did it look". I filmed the rest of the night with only one contact lens.
JK: Did they use that scene?
AT: I think they used the scene but not that shot.

JK: How has your making of this film helped you gain a better understanding and appreciation of the real life characters and events?
AT: You do boot camp, you see the living conditions they lived in but at the end of the day we had an air-conditioned trailer, we had make up, we had hair designers but these guys had it very different. You get a tiny glimpse of what they went through but at the end of the day we can go home. These guys lived through horrific conditions and we were only there for two months and we got to go home and have a shower every day. These guys were there for four years in these conditions where literally bodies were just piling up into the trenches and literally becoming part of the wall so I don't think I fully understand it or could fully get my head around what they went through but I definitely appreciate what they did, especially being miners and digging these tunnels underneath these trenches and knowing that at any second there could be cave ins or the Germans could come through from any direction, it was extremely tense.

JK: One scene from you particularly impressed me with you, I won't explain details for fear of giving it away, but it was a scene of great sadness and loss. In that scene I saw you dig really deep for the emotional effect this had on you. Was there somewhere you went internally to obtain the required life shattering grief?
AT: I don't really like to draw back on past experiences that have hurt me because I like to be in the moment, I like to know what's going on and not take my mind elsewhere. I remember turning up to set that day and going ok this is the scene where I am really going to have to know what I am doing and concentrate and I got on the set and I think it was the first scene that we were filming that day and for some reason it got pushed back to after lunch so my little process that I had was to literally not talk to anyone and listen to really sad music so I sat under a tent for about four hours and then we finally get on set after i've been in this horrible state and I wasn't even sure if could do it but it's one of those things where you just have to and, of course, it was really nice to be able to see the other actors and be able to work off them. You take one look at them and you see what their feeling and that helps you. I think the best thing you can do is to not draw back on previous experiences, like my dog getting hit by a car or anything, just work with the other actors. It was interesting though, I remember Jeremy not really telling me anything after we had completed the scene and then at the end of the night after we done another scene afterwards that required us to be happy and laughing and everything. Jeremy was leaving and got in his car and turned to me and said "Beautiful scene today Alex" and to me that was kind of the tick approval and it was really nice to hear Jeremy say that.
I do remember one day we were doing this really tough scene I am standing there after just doing my process and Jeremy had his 6yr old daughter on set that day and he's sitting behind the monitor with his daughter and I hear everyone getting into place, I'm finishing my process and "Camera's rolling, quiet on set" and then we hear this little 6yr old voice go "Action" and I couldn't keep a straight face and I am trying to be in this terrible place but couldn't help a smile coming out because it was one of the funniest things I had heard.

JK: Now finally, with some feature film exposure, how is this helping your standing in the industry ? Have you had new doors open for you and what are your future projects?
AT: (Laughing), Ummmm, nothing. At the moment it's all Hill 60 and I am hoping because I am an unknown actor that hasn't done much before, fingers crossed, touch wood, people will see this and hopefully more work will come. I am kind of just riding the wave at the moment and taking it as it comes and attempting to remain grounded and in terms of industry it's been cool, going to a whole lot of events, I went to Tropfest and it was the first time I had actually been able to go into the VIP tent. It was really nice meeting a whole lot of people who knew about Hill 60 and who were interested in hearing about my experiences and I have seen all these people's work. So I have made a lot of friends and contacts just through having a foot in the industry now.

JK: This is one of the best Australian films I have seen from a commercial aspect in a long time. Is there an international release schedule for this film and if so what kind of impact would you like this film to have on the world?
AT: They're actually having a screening of the film today (day of interview) over in London and I know that Bill Lineback (Producer) took the film over to the Berlin Film Festival in hopes of it getting picked up. I heard it went down really well over there and they had a lot of interest (from what I have been told, I am not 100% on this) and so far all the feedback we have been getting on the film is all positive. We are now waiting on Cannes and we have had one of the official selectors come out and see the film for the first rounds but I am not exactly sure how the film is going in that respect but fingers crossed because it would be great if it screened at Cannes. In terms of it effecting people it's such an amazing story, it's a story that no-one's aware of. Australian soldiers and not only that, normal Australians, miners were responsible for the largest explosion the world had ever seen up until Hiroshima so it's a huge momentous victory for everyone involved in WW1. I think it will really appeal mainly to a lot of European audiences, especially for the fact we do have a lot of German scenes with German soldiers and they are not depicted in an evil, nasty way. It was just shot the way things were, no good guys or bad guys. People were given orders and they followed out those orders. So I think it may actually reach a good audience in Germany and Eurpoe and hopefully it will reach the States, but you can never actually tell how the States will react to an Aussie film, they will either love it or hate it.

JK: The Australian film industry is a rocky one, recently there have been a lot of films coming out that are brilliant plus a lot that are crap ones. Do you believe it is on the right track and do you believe there are any ways the industry can improve itself to garner more international attention?
AT: I actually believe we are releasing a lot of great films of late, Hill 60 being one, Animal Kingdom (we both agree this looks amazing and Alex is good friends with the lead actor who has been keeping him up to date on its progress) and I really cannot wait to see this one as he is such a great guy and it looks like he has done an amazing performance so you have these films coming out that are just well made films and I think this is one of the problems with the industry, it's not that we can't make great films, it's just that we don't (on a regular basis). I don't really know how to explain it, we have such amazing talent here in terms of film making and actors so I think maybe more funding would be a start but I don't really want to say anything that might get me into trouble but I know that a $9.6MIL budget for Hill 60 was really a kind of stretch and they really struggled to get that (JK NOTE: When you consider most US films have a budget of over $100MIL for things like comedies it is amazing what Australia can do with the money it has to use) and I recently heard that Screen Australia have capped their funding at $2.5MIL so how are you to make a film when our own Government are capping us at $2.5MIL. You can't make a decent comparable film.
JK: So people rely a lot on private investment?
AT: Our main private investors were miners, Ross Thomas, who was the one who found us the diary of Capt. Woodward, really got the ball rolling. He is not in the film industry himself. He was a miner and he just loved the story so much and invested money in it. So the majority of our mony to make Hill 60 came from the town and people of Townsville. You're right, it really is a rocky industry but I really do not completely understand. I have only really completed one film and it's talking to these other guys, Anthony Hays, who has done so many films. and it's really interesting to hear what he has to say because I don't have too much of an opinion at this stage as I don't really know enough about it.

JK: Who and what are your life influences in regards to acting and what are your top three films of all time?
AT: OOh, top three films, I don't even know..............Titanic would have to be up there.
JK: (Laughing) Did Sean (a mutual friend of ours) prep you on this? Titanic is my all time favourite film.
AT: NO, that's definitely up there, maybe Forrest Gump is up there, this is too hard, I have so many favourite films, too many for me to list the whole lot of them but if I had to pick a third I couldn't tell you. But influences..........I am not 100% sure about influences.
JK: Ok, who would you like to aspire to be like in regards to your acting?
AT: I really now look up the guys I have just worked with. I really look up to Anthony Hays and Brendon (Cowell). It's a bit more real for me, I could probably say the names of Tom Hanks or Leonardo DiCaprio because I do think of them as really amazing actors but I really respect these guys because I have actually worked with them. Warwick Young has really taken me under his wing and he's been....the same with Alan Dukes...I guess I aspire to be like them. I was talking to Warwick, because he has been helping me out in regards to the industry and he said he is helping me because someone did it for him and he hopes that one day I will be in a position to help a young actor so of course I aspire to be like that, people that help out young actors. There is no competition between them and nor should there be, everyone should be able to help each other out because it is such a rocky industry.

JK: Last question..................... it was suggested I asked you your favourite quote (in general) and what does this mean to you?
AT: An actor once asked Marlon Brando "How do you get to be a good actor?". Marlon Brando responded with two words "Stick around". It holds very true and reminds you to just keep at it.

With final words like that I think Australia might be seeing a bit more of Alex "Thommo" Thompson. Best of luck to you Thommo - I am looking forward to watching you scale the mountains of the Australian and world film industry. Beneath Hill 60 opens this Thursday 15th April at most cinemas in Australia. Kick butt Hill 60! Trailer is below.

A Brief History of Sparklers

DATE: Apr.13th
BY:  admin
DETAILS: It is believed that the Chinese first invented fireworks in the sixth century. As time passed, the use of fireworks spread throughout the world and a lot of new variations were created. It has become a crucial part of celebrating major events like the Independence Day, New Years Day, Bonfire night of England etc. Today the most used form of fireworks is the sparklers. It is a form of fireworks that can be held in the hand while the coated side burns.

According to BBC’s e-cyclopedia the primitive form of sparklers was invented by Callinicos of Heliopolis in about AD 670. Callinicos, who was an architect, called the invention ‘Cherosiphon’ which was more like a small Roman candle. Through the work of various fireworks manufacturer, that Cherosiphon has evolved in to sparkler. Sparklers consist of a long thin wire or rod that is coated down halfway with slow burning pyrotechnic composition. The pyrotechnic composition contains metallic fuel, the main ingredient to create the sparkles and other materials like Aluminum, Iron, and Titanium etc. to create colored sparkles.

Sparklers are inexpensive and easy to use fireworks. Besides the traditional use in celebration events, sparklers are getting popular in weddings, where especially made wedding sparklers are used instead of rice or birdseed. The visitors create an archway holding the sparklers upward for the bride and groom to pass through. The commonly used wedding sparkler is the 36″ sparkler which is used for the longer burning time.

Since its creation sparklers have been a great source of joy for people to celebrate events. As such, sparklers are becoming a part of almost all kinds of celebration events.

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Texas Stadium 1971-2010

DATE: Apr 12, 2010 2:21 PM
DETAILS: IRVING, Tex. - Texas Stadium was built in October 1971 and the imposion occurred on April 11, 2010.

2,700 pounds of dynamite was used in the implosion and 4,800 holes were strategically drilled.

The explosions were timed to create a controlled implosion. A brief fireworks display preceded the implosion.

Everything had been removed from inside the stadium before the implosion, leaving only the shell.

The City of Irving commissioned the implosion and has plans to build a mass transit station on the site. You can read more about the implosion here.

Texas Stadium at 3:00 a.m. the morning before implosion.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

China Blows Up 30,000 Illegal Fireworks

LOCATION: ShangHai,China
DATE: April 12, 2010 - 9:31am.
DETAILS: Shanghai authorities order the detonation of around 30,000 illegal fireworks, as part of the city's expo clean-up effort.

STORY: Shanghai authorities disposed of around 30,000 illegally made fireworks on Saturday (April 10), state television CCTV reported, by piling the confiscated boxes onto a secluded river bank, standing well back and then hitting the detonator.

The collection of illegal fireworks, designated a security hazard, had been building up since December last year, CCTV said.

The smoky destruction forms part of Shanghai's clean-up effort as it prepares to host the World Expo from May 1 to October 31.

Illegally-produced fireworks are a deadly cottage industry in China. The fireworks, produced without official safety checks, are frequently reported in the Chinese media to have caused explosions and injuries.

Shanghai has stepped up its security for the Expo, which is expected to see an average of 400,000 visitors each day,

Fireworks lovers petition Franklin

DATE: April 13, 2010
BY: Kevin Walters • THE TENNESSEAN •
DETAILS: FRANKLIN — Around 1,000 people believe Franklin residents should be allowed to set off their bottle rockets on the Fourth of July and firecrackers on New Year's Eve — for a few hours anyway.

Owners of La Vergne-based Mid-America Distributors Inc. fireworks company say they are in the midst of collecting signatures asking Franklin to change its laws that outlaw all fireworks.

Instead, Mid-America is proposing that Franklin residents have a few hours' window to allow fireworks on the two fireworks-intensive holidays.

"The more (signatures) we get, the better chance we have of turning this over," said Will Lloyd, Mid-America vice president.

So far, around 1,000 signatures have been collected. Lloyd hoped to have the petition completed in time to get aldermen to enact a change by next summer.

Whether a petition is enough to convince Franklin officials to loosen their regulations is doubtful. Franklin Fire officials have been longtime opponents of fireworks in the city for safety reasons.

A person reached at the Franklin Fire department said officials who could comment were out of town when this story went to press.

Despite Franklin's opposition, County Planning Commission members granted temporary-use permits recently for two Mid-America fireworks stands to operate for the upcoming Fourth of July holiday.

One stand will be located west of the McKay's Mill subdivision off Liberty Pike at 1050 John Williams Road; the second will be at the southwest corner of Henpeck Lane and Lewisburg Pike.

Safety reasons aside, the sale of fireworks less than 200 feet away from McKay's Mill gives the impression that fireworks are allowed in Franklin, city Fire Marshal Andy King said in a letter to commissioners.

No residents opposed the permits, and one resident said there were no problems with traffic or noise at the McKay's Mill stand.

"One of the closest neighbors to (the fireworks) is my Sunday School teacher, and he didn't hardly know the thing was back there," said John Williams Jr., whose father owns the farmland where the stand will be located.

Nixa allows use of fireworks in city(Discharge to be permitted on July 4, New Year's Eve.)

DATE: Tara Muck • News-Leader
BY:  April 13, 2010
DETAILS: Nixa -- Celebrating the Fourth of July and the new year with fireworks will no longer be illegal inside the city of Nixa.

The Nixa City Council Monday unanimously passed an ordinance to allow fireworks to be discharged on July 4 from 2-11 p.m. and on Dec. 31 from 2 p.m. to 12:30 a.m. on Jan. 1.

In the past, it had been legal to purchase fireworks inside the city limits, as long as they weren't being shot inside the limits.

But that hasn't stopped people from doing it.

Nixa Police Chief James Bacon said the department receives over 300 calls in a two-day period around those holidays.

Because it had been illegal, police officers would be dispatched to the complaints.

By making it legal during certain hours, Bacon said it could cut down some of the call volumes.

Nixa Fire Chief Jimmy Sebree was on the other side of that argument.

Sebree said the department ran about 25 grass and debris fires last year caused by fireworks. He also noted the danger involved with setting them off.

The fire chief also said he believes the city should continue to be proactive, the way it has with prohibiting smoking in public places and having a seat belt law.

"We've set a standard," Sebree said of the city. "Opening up fireworks is only going to confuse things more."

But most residents who spoke during the council meeting were in favor of allowing the shooting of fireworks.

Ken Thrasher of Nixa asked the council to consider the fuel savings generated if officers didn't have to respond to complaints regarding fireworks.

"By allowing people to shoot off fireworks during the Fourth of July between specific hours is going to keep (police officers) focused on going after the more important calls; not spending taxpayer dollars on what accumulates on gas, time and wear and tear on their vehicles," Thrasher said.

Businesses Step In to Save Portland's Fireworks

LOCATION: Portland, Oregon, USA
DATE: 04/12/2010 04:40 PM ET  
BY: The Maine Public Broadcasting Network

The popular event draws thousands to Portland's Munjoy Hill area each year.

Several Portland-area businesses have stepped up to help save Maine's largest city's popular Fourth of July fireworks event. The event was one of several cuts included in City Manager Joe Gray's budget, presented to the city council a week ago.

In addition to eliminating the fireworks, the budget cuts 40 positions and hikes property taxes by 1.4 percent. To save the fireworks, five businesses, including Quirk Chevrolet, Wright Express, the Maine Red Claws and the Portland Press Herald and Maine Sunday Telegram organized a fund-raising effort.

The $45,000 they raised will help pay for the fireworks and the costs of staffing the event, according to WCSH-TV. The annual event draws thousands to Portland's Munjoy Hill area each year.

Public hearings are scheduled on the city's $196 million budget in May before it's voted on by the city council.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Fwd: Azalea Festival parade, street fair, fireworks on Saturday

DATE: Apr 11, 2010 11:21 AM
DETAILS: WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) - Thousands of people filled the streets of downtown Wilmington on Saturday to watch the Azalea Festival parade, which was followed by a day-long street fair and fireworks at night. 

This year's parade procession included about 30 large floats and more than 100 other participants.

The azalea belles were a crowd favorite, as well as the guest celebrities and marching bands that were part of the parade.

The Azalea Festival street fair has drawn thousands of people to shops, restaurants and street venders set up for the weekend.

The festivities include live music, food and arts and crafts vendors.

One downtown business owner set up a booth for the street fair and says the festival has helped sales at his permanent location as well.

The street fair continues Sunday from 9 AM to 6 PM.

Fireworks wrapped up the Azalea Festival events on Saturday.

Families pulled up lawn chairs along the downtown Wilmington riverfront to take in the show that began around 9 PM.

LETTER: Fireworks donations sought

DATE: Posted Apr 10, 2010 @ 06:00 AM
BY: Marion Fireworks Committee
DETAILS: To the editor:

Last week, residents of the entire Tri town area received a letter asking for donations for the Marion Fireworks Committee Fund.

We are challenged this year but encouraged by the fact that we are already receiving generous donations from people in town and elsewhere.

Fireworks are a family event and are a part of the summer time fabric of our community. It has been a tough year for everyone but with enough donations, we will all have a chance to enjoy a wonderful event on the evening of the Third of July.

Last year proved difficult on the night of the event, but fog is a part of living and celebrating along the coast also. The family atmosphere on Silvershell Beach is second to no other event we have in town during the summer and everyone attending the beach activities had an amazing time.

This year's event will be Saturday, July 3, and we are counting on everyone who can to contribute to the fireworks fund.

The letter went out to Marion and Rochester addresses April 2, and Mattapoisett was mailed this week.

We have received two large private donations already and are hoping to receive general donations quickly. We still are required to have all our money on hand to even ask companies for bids – so it all will need to move along quickly to happen.

 As always the fireworks are supported through private donations. Please send your checks o the Town of Marion, Attn: Marion Fireworks Committee, 2 Spring St., Marion, MA, 02738. Mark in the check message field: Marion Fireworks Committee.

All the best and Happy Fourth!


Marion Fireworks Committee

Rob Dolan, Jack Beck, Tom Owens, Anthony Ucci, Chris Collings and Rick Barnes

Fireworks and pets

DATE: Sunday, 11 April 2010
DETAILS: Many animals have sharp senses and pets such as cats and dogs especially are known to have a very powerful sense of smell, hearing and vision. While cats have better vision in the dark than dogs, both animals have a sharper sense of hearing than humans. They hear a lot better than us, sometimes even sounds which are inaudible to us.

Most often, certain sounds irritate and disturb them, and even prove harmful to their hearing. So, it is very important to be extra vigilant about your beloved pets in the coming few days because the noise levels will reach a high peak.

With the dawn of the Sinhala and Hindu New Year the air will be filled with the sound of fireworks. Some of you will be already aware as to how your pets react to the sound of bursting firecrackers. You may have even had bad experiences where you have ended up with lost pets or injured pets during this season.

 Just as much as you need to protect yourselves from injuries when lighting firecrackers and sparklers, you should also pay attention to the protection of animals; your pets as well as other animals in the neighbourhood.

Most animals are afraid of loud sounds, and fireworks definitely frighten them. If you do not ensure they are safely locked up or restricted to an area where they cannot run away from, you may lose your pets the moment the loud sounds of bursting firecrackers fill the air. So, if you love your pets and do not want to lose them, be careful.

There are some children who do not think of animals as flesh and blood creatures who also experience fear and pain. They not only light crackers near the animals, but also throw them at these poor animals just for pleasure; to have a good laugh at their reactions. It is an act of cruelty. Animals should also be treated with respect. Just because they have no voice to protest or condemn us, it does not mean they should be ill treated. Never be a part of such cruelty. Do your best to stop such things from happening. Discourage people from throwing lit crackers near cats and dogs, especially because they could damage their sensitive ear drums and also blind and burn them.

When you are sending sky rockets too be careful. Just as much as you ensure people are not hurt, make sure there are no animals in the vicinity who may get hurt by them.

Do not light crackers near kennels. Some people leave their dogs in kennels and when you light crackers within very close proximity to the kennels, the dogs are unable to get away from the noise.

We should light fireworks to enjoy ourselves and not to get injured or harm anyone - no, not even animals. Be careful and watch out because in a few days time, with the dawn of the New Year, there will be plenty of fireworks all around us.

Hu's Visit: Finding a Way Forward on U.S.-China Relations

DATE: Thursday, Apr. 08, 2010
DETAILS: One afternoon last fall, on an unusually humid day in Beijing, the center of the city was buzzing as teams of designers, soldiers and Communist Party officials finalized preparations for the 60th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China. The event would be broadcast nationwide to one of those billion-person audiences only China can deliver. The party had planned a parade with fighter-jet flyovers, missiles that would roll along Eternal Peace Street and the once-a-decade ritual in which the top leader dons a Mao suit, stands in the open sunroof of a 1950s-style limousine and is driven past the Forbidden City — a moment that can seem quixotic to Westerners, as if the American President crossed the Delaware River wearing a tricorn hat every 10th anniversary of the winter of 1776. But the Chinese know that such symbols matter. Amid the uncertainty of reform, they sketch a confident line: Look where we came from. Look where we are going.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Healdsburg council funds fireworks show, rejects other community groups

LOCATION: Healdsburg
DATE: Monday, April 5, 2010 at 3:00 a.m.
DETAILS: Tight times have led the Healdsburg City Council to suspend the payments it doles out each year to non-profit and community groups with one exception — money for the Fourth of July fireworks show.

"I want to be the last guy on earth responsible for killing fireworks," Councilman Eric Ziedrich said Monday night before he and his colleagues agreed to put up $8,000 toward the fireworks spectacle staged by the American Legion.

"I don't want to be the one who puts the fireworks out," agreed Mayor Jim Wood.

The decision was made at the same time the council majority reaffirmed a 4-1 vote in mid-February to suspend the annual payment program to non-profit groups. The money comes from the Community Benefit Expendable Trust Fund, established in 1998 from the proceeds of the sale of the old City Hall site.

The total annual payments, which have averaged $63,000 the past several years, go to a cross-section of community groups. That has included the animal shelter, Girl Scouts, swim club, Healdsburg Museum, Boys and Girls Club, PTA and performing arts center. The Future Farmers Fair has used the funds for improvements at Recreation Park.

Currently, the fund has a balance of $777,000, but because of the city's shaky budget and continuing deficit in the general fund, the majority of the council decided it was prudent to suspend the payments, and revisit the issue in a year.

Councilman Gary Plass opposed the sudden freeze.

"Cutting it off cold turkey is a shock to the community," he told his colleagues. He advocated allocating $50,000 for the community grant program this year, then having a workshop next year to evaluate the program.

But the only item council members were willing to support financially was the fireworks show. The American Legion, which has put the show on for 23 years, typically gets an $8,000 subsidy from the city toward the staging the event, which now costs $27,000.

The Legion gets other donations to make up the rest of the cost of the show.

Councilman Mike McGuire was the first to suggest Monday that the city continue funding the fireworks show. During tough economic times, he said it's free for families. "It's the best entertainment you can get on the nation's birthday," he said.

Though council members agreed to commit $8,000, they also suggested that if the American Legion can raise all the money for the fireworks, the city would like to keep it. "It could be put to good use for another deserving group," said Councilman Tom Chambers.

The old city hall land, at 126 Matheson St., is now the site of the Oakville grocery, across from the Healdsburg Plaza. The $580,000 from the sale started the fund, but it's been augmented with $200,000 from the general fund and $350,000 from the community redevelopment agency.

Since 1999, the City Council has distributed more than $665,000 from the fund to various community groups and projects. But some Healdsburg residents also believe the fund can do better if the Community Foundation of Sonoma County invests the money for the city.

Richard Burg, who is part of Healdsburg Area Fund, an affiliate of the Community Foundation, told the council the city would still control the allocations to non profit groups. He said the Community Foundation has an average 6.8 percent rate of return, compared to the city's 1.5 to 3 percent a year.

Childhood: In Most Holiday Injuries, Everyday Causes

DATE: April 5,2010
BY: Roni Caryn Rabin
DETAILS: Children's injuries spike on holidays like Halloween and the Fourth of July, but pumpkin carving and fireworks are among the least likely culprits, a new study finds. Most of the injuries are caused by everyday activities, like riding bikes or just playing.

Only 2.9 percent of injuries that occurred during the five-day period around July Fourth were linked to fireworks, for example, while bicycling accounted for 8.6 percent, the study found.

In general, playing outdoors or falling indoors were more likely to cause injury than holiday-specific activities.

The study, published in the May issue of the journal Pediatrics, analyzed some 5.7 million holiday-related injuries among children 19 and younger treated at emergency rooms from 1997 through 2006. Data was obtained from the Consumer Product Safety Commission's electronic surveillance system.

Children younger than 5 were injured most often on Easter, July Fourth, Thanksgiving and Christmas; for children 10 to 14, the riskiest holidays were New Year's, Memorial Day, Labor Day and Halloween; and for those 15 to 19, New Year's led the list.

"While it's important to prevent the holiday-specific injuries," said an author of the paper, Christy L. Collins, a research associate at Nationwide Children's Hospital in Columbus, Ohio, "parents need to remain vigilant and try to prevent injuries that occur just because of the excitement: more people in the home, people cooking, and playing outdoors in warm weather."

Saturday, April 3, 2010


DATE: April 1, 2010
DETAILS: Setting off fireworks in an 85-year-old building sounds nothing short of disastrous, right?

You'd think so, but Chris and Augie Santore are masters of pyrotechnics and, besides, a little showing off for their eager crowd was expected.

The owners of Garden State Fireworks made a visit to Red Bank's Count Basie Theatre Wednesday night to give a few hundred people a glimpse into all the work that goes into the annual Kaboom! Fireworks on the Navesink show. The literally flashy live action of indoor fireworks was part of a presentation on how the display is coordinated with music.

You could tell by facial reactions that most, if not all, of the people in the crowd were surprised to see just how labor intensive setting up a fireworks show is.

Of course, how would the layman know that Chris Santore starts planning the show's choreography in December and spends hundreds of hours in front of a computer so the fireworks are in sync, down to the millisecond, with specific parts of a song?

Or that each mortar is tethered to a computer system on a barge that triggers their launch?

Or that the big mortars look like a deformed Mr. Potato Head on steroids?

That's why the Santores came, to display their knowledge and passion for what they call putting on "a play in the sky."

"At the end of the day, we get as excited or more excited for them as you do," Augie Santore said.

Santore detailed how the excitement is built up over months and months until the finale on the Navesink every July 3.

It starts with picking out the music, then pairing specific types of mortars to it from the company's seemingly-unending database. Chris Santore labors away at the timing — a key element that, in some cases, can go unnoticed, he said.

For example, he went through a segment showing how, during Bruce Springsteen's version of "Jersey Girl" last year, Santore used a set of fireworks that moved slowly across the sky from west to east when Springsteen sang the lyrics, "…gonna take that ride, across the river to the Jersey side."

When John Lennon sang "Imagine," fireworks shaped in peace signs flashed to coincide with Lennon singing the word.

All the hard work, including tugging out barges on the Navesink and spending days in the hot summer sun setting up the expanse of racks filled with mortars, is done by the time July 3 rolls around, Augie Santore said. There's a CD with the soundtrack, but it's also encoded with instructions that are communicated to all those mortars.

"The music is actually shooting the show," he said.

After explaining all that, when the Santores lowered the projection screen to replay last year's show, there was a feeling, with all the applause, whistles and cheers, that you were at the show again.

Neptune resident Christina Sack said there was no comparing the two, but now she'll look at the fireworks this July a little differently.

"It gives you a better appreciation of what goes into it," she said. "The video was good but it doesn't do (the live show) justice."

As usual, the fireworks will be held on July 3. New this year will be an evening concert, KaBoom! Rock The River in Marine Park on July 2. Together the two-day event has been dubbed KaBoomFest!

Hawaii Kai businesses supporting July 4th fireworks

LOCATION: Maunalua Bay, Hawaii 
DATE: Thursday, April 1, 2010
BY: Dianne Glei Reader Submitted
DETAILS: July 4 may seem far away, but organizers of the third annual Independence Day at Maunalua Bay are busy raising money for the event with a little help from local businesses.

Panda Express Hawaii Kai Towne Center is donating 20 percent of sales to Independence Day at Maunalua Bay Foundation during one week in April, May and June. Diners must present a coupon at time of purchase. The promotion is good April 4-10, May 2-8 and June 6-12. Coupons are available by calling Melanie Long, IDMBF president, 375-9223, or Laura Buck, 2010 event chair, 256-3553.

76 gas station in Koko Marina is donating a percentage of all gas sales in the month of April to IDMBF. Last year, this promotion netted more than $3,000 for the fireworks celebration. Buck is encouraging all Hawaii Kai residents to support this community event by filling up their tanks at 76 in April.

Koko Marina Center is sponsoring a chili cook-off April 24 from 5 to 9 p.m. in the Center Courtyard. Part of the proceeds from ticket sales will benefit IDMBF. More information is available from

For the second year, Outback Steakhouse Hawaii Kai is sponsoring a fund-raising dinner for IDMBF. Tickets are now available for $15, redeemable any time during May. The cost covers a sit-down meal with choice of three pre-fixe entrees, a side and salad. Tickets are available from Long or Buck.

Independence Day at Maunalua Bay is an all-volunteer effort celebrating freedom, family and friends. The event takes place from 2 to 9 p.m. in Maunalua Bay Beach Park with the spectacular fireworks show at 8 p.m.

Maunalua headlines the free entertainment again this year. In addition, local businesses are signing on as food vendors and community groups will have information booths and games.

Volunteers are needed for a variety of tasks from logistics to hospitality. Interested persons may call Mike Nitta, 551-8516

Exciting events for families during 2010 National Cherry Blossom Festival

LOCATION: Japanese
DATE: Friday, April 2, 2010
BY: Amy Orndorff
DETAILS: Cherry blossoms, with their soft white and pink colors bursting in unison, are at their peak bloom now. So while the National Cherry Blossom Festival began last week, there is no better time to enjoy the blooms than this weekend -- before they float away for another year. We have picked a handful of can't-miss events; for the complete schedule, visit or call 877-442-5666.
This Story

-- Amy Orndorff


IKEBANA INTERNATIONAL Through April 25. The exhibit features a rotating display of flowers arranged using Japanese techniques. U.S. National Arboretum, 3501 New York Ave. NE. 202-245-2726. Free.

THE BLOSSOM SECRETS STROLL Friday 10 a.m. to noon, Saturday and Sunday 2 to 4 p.m. and Monday 10 a.m. to noon, through April 11. The history of the iconic trees and how they ended up along the Tidal Basin is detailed during this guided walk. Meet at the Independence Avenue exit of the Smithsonian Metro station, 1200 Independence Ave. SW. $15.

BLOSSOMS BY BIKE Friday at 3 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday at 9:30 a.m., noon and 3 p.m.; Monday-Thursday at 3 p.m.; through April 11. Spend two hours biking by the blossoms, the Japanese Lantern, the Jefferson Memorial and Hains Point. Bike and Roll Kiosk, 1100 Pennsylvania Ave. NW. $32, $22 age 12 and younger.

CHERRY BLAST: A NIGHT OF CONTEMPORARY ART + MUSIC Friday 9 p.m. to 1 a.m. The hippest 21-and-older, blossom-themed event from last year is back with an even more robust lineup. The night includes Fatback DJs, classical musician Matt Hemerlein improvising with DJ Chris Nitti, videos by Amelia Winger-Bearskin, art exhibits and a display of the winning entries from the Festival's Blossom! Design Challenge. 1701 Florida Ave. NW. $10.


TWELFTH ANNUAL CHERRY BLOSSOM FREEDOM WALK Saturday 9 a.m. to noon. Learn about Japanese American experiences during World War II including life in camps and military service. The non-competitive walk honors their experiences. National Japanese American Memorial, D Street and New Jersey Avenue NW. Free, donations accepted.

NATIONAL PARK SERVICE FAMILY FUN ZONE Saturday and Sunday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., through April 11. Kids of all ages can get in on the cherry blossom action through ranger talks and art projects. Thomas Jefferson Memorial, 900 Ohio Dr. SW. Free.

ANIME MARATHON FILM FESTIVAL Saturday at 11 a.m. Take a break from the masses at the basin and head indoors for a day of anime fun. There will be a cosplay contest and three films including "Chocolate Underground," a movie about kids who start making bootleg chocolate when a political party bans the candy. Freer Gallery of Art, Jefferson Drive and 12th Street SW. 202-633-1000. Free.

SILVER SPRING'S BIG CHERRY BLOCK PARTY Saturday 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Who says you need to be in Washington to enjoy the blossoms? Head to Silver Spring for the party, which includes a cherry tree planting, Japanese music, anime, games for adults and kids, calligraphy and origami. Downtown Silver Spring, on and around Ellsworth Drive, Free.

ARTS FOR FAMILIES: FUN WITH FANS Saturday 2 to 4 p.m. Kids ages 4 to 12 can learn about fashion designer Issey Miyake, visit the "Contemporary Japanese Fashion: The Mary Baskett Collection" exhibit and decorate a Japanese fan to take home. Textile Museum, 2320 S St. NW. 202-667-0441. Free.

SOUTHWEST WATERFRONT MUSICAL PRELUDE AND FIREWORKS Saturday at 5 p.m. The festivities end with a bang -- literally! Military and local musical groups perform from 5 to 8:30 p.m., then fireworks will fill the night sky. For the best view of the fireworks, head to East Potomac Park or Southwest Waterfront promenade. The concert will be at Waterfront Park, 600 Water St. SW. Free.


LANTERN LIGHTING CEREMONY Sunday 2:30 to 4 p.m. A 359-year-old stone lantern is lit in a ceremony that includes Japanese performers, dignitaries and Cherry Blossom Princesses. Tidal Basin, Independence Avenue and 17th Street SW. Free.

Donors save Seattle's Fourth of July fireworks

DATE: April 2, 2010 10:15 a.m. PT
DETAILS: SEATTLE -- A day after plans for Seattle's Fourth of July fireworks fizzled, the annual display is back on the calendar thanks to a burst of donations.

The nonprofit that organizes the show, One Reel, announced Friday it has reached the goal of $500,000 in pledges.

The campaign ignited spontaneously Thursday when restaurant owner and chef Tom Douglas pledged $5,000 on KIRO Radio's Dave Ross show and Ross added $1,000 of his own money.

A number of businesses phoned in pledges and Starbucks and Microsoft said they'd each match $125,000 in donations.

One Reel had lost major corporate sponsorship of the show that attracts tens of thousands of people to the shores of Lake Union and is considered a Seattle summer tradition.


Information from: KIRO-FM,

Friday, April 2, 2010

Forthcoming cultural activities

DATE: April 2
BY: Mark
DETAILS: Here are the forthcoming cultural activities:

March 17th – April 25th Transit Station – an exhibition curated by Kris Van Diesel. Venue: St James Cavalier, Valletta. Time: Monday & Tuesday 09.00hrs- 17.00hrs, Wednesday to Friday09.00hrs – 21.00hrs, Saturday, Sunday and public holidays 10.00hrs – 21.00hrs.

March 26th – May 9th Mostly Churches – an exhibition by Marc England Venue: St James Cavalier, Valletta Time: Monday & Tuesday 09.00hrs – 17.00hrs, Wednesday to Friday 09.00hrs – 21.00hrs, Saturday, Sunday and public holidays 10.00hrs – 21.00hrs.

March 27th – April 4th A&Ax4 Art & Antiques exhibition by 4 artists; Justin Falzon, Simon Portelli, Hermine A. Sammut, Christine X– Venue – private farmhouse 46, 'Tas-Sallura' Triq il-Fanal, G?asri, Gozo. Opening hours: Saturday 27th March – 17.00 – 20.00 hrs, Sunday 28th March – Saturday 3rd April 11.00 – 13.00 hrs & 17.00 – 19.00 hrs. (Good Friday closed), Sunday 4th April – 15.00 – 19.00 hrs.

April 1st Via Crucis – The Passion of Christ – from medieval to baroque with the participation of Alex Vella Gregory (piano) and Pauline Longo (soprano). Venue: St Catherine of Italy, Valletta. Time: 12.30 hrs.

April 1st – 4th Dreams and Visions – An exhibition of painted ceramics by Vincent Camilleri. Free Entrance. Venue: Heritage Malta Head Office, Valletta. Time: Monday to Friday 09.00 hrs – 16.30 hrs (Last Admission at 16.00 hrs).

April 1st – 18th An exhibition of paintings by Austin Camilleri and Pawlu Carbonaro. Free Entrance. Venue: National Museum of Fine Arts, Contemporary Hall, South Street, Valletta. Time: Monday to Sunday 09.00 – 17.00 hrs (Last Admission at 16.30 hrs).

April 2nd Good Friday – feast celebrated in various parishes.

April 2nd Siren's Song – Mythological Music for Flute & Piano – with the participation of Rebecca Hall – Flute and Sophia Rahman – Piano. Works by Debussy, Reinecke and Jolivet. Venue: The Music Room, St James Cavalier, Valletta. Time: 11.00 hrs.

April 3rd Nuovo Cinema Paradiso. Venue: St James Cavalier Cinema, Valletta. Time: 16.00 hrs.

April 3rd & 4th La Sylphide The original version of this romantic ballet, with music by Jean Schneitzhoeffer and choreography by Pierre Lacotte, adapted and produced by Johane Casabene for the Dance Conservatoire. On the morning of his wedding day, a Scottish farmer falls in love with a vision of a magical sylph, or spirit. An old witch appears before him, predicting that he will betray his fiancée. Although enchanted by the sylph, James disagrees, sending the witch away. What follows is a fairytale-like plot which will definitely put the audience into a magical atmosphere this Easter. An enchanted evening for all ballet and dance lovers. This ballet will feature etoile dancer Donatien Ravet in the role of James, accompanied by Christina Camilleri in the role of the Sylph, Caroline Ciantar Barbara as Effie and Marco Calleja as Madge the Witch Venue: Teatru Manoel, Valletta. Time: 19.30 hrs.

April 3rd – 11th History in Scale 2010 – Malta's 1st International Scale Modelling Expo. Organised by SSM IPMS. Venue: Malta Aviation Museum, Ta' Qali. For further information, kindly visit

April 4th Easter Sunday – feast celebrated in various parishes.

April 5th 'Monday Ovation' Concert – organised by the Malta Cultural Institute. The programme consists of solos, choral singing and instrumental music presented by Colin Attard. Venue: Hotel Le Meridien, St Julian's. Time: 19.00 hrs.

April 5th – 25th Raphael Vella Installation in connection with the Children's Literature Festival – Venue: St James Cavalier, Valletta. Time: Monday & Tuesday 09.00hrs – 17.00hrs, Wednesday to Friday 09.00hrs – 21.00hrs, Saturday, Sunday and public holidays 10.00hrs – 21.00hrs.

April 5th – 9th International Spring Orchestra Festival (ISO) –. The Fourth edition of the festival, organised by Karl Fiorini, will start on Monday 5th April at 19.30hrs with a performance by the Rotterdam Sinfoniettawith conductor Roberto Beltran. On Tuesday 6th April at 19.30hrs at Sala Isouard, violinist Emanuel Salvador and pianist Giselle Grima will take you on a journey 'from Schumann to the 21st century' with works by Schumann, Liszt, Ysaÿe and Maltese composer Ruben Zahra. On Wednesday 7th April the Rotterdam Sinfonietta will hold a concert at the foyer of Mater Dei Hospital to commemorate the first anniversary of the Malta Heart Foundation. On 8 April, the soloists of the Rotterdam Sinfonietta will perform a chamber repertoire at 12.30hr at Sala Isouard, Teatru Manoel. The festival will close with another orchestral concert on Friday 9th April at 19.30hrs by the Rotterdam Sinfonietta, featuring the young Maltese piano prodigy Charlene Farrugia as guest soloist, performing Ravel's Tzigane and Bartok's Miraculous Mandarin Suite amongst others. This year's festival will include six short orchestral concerts 'Discovering the orchestra' aimed at young audiences, each lasting approvimately an hour, and held at Teatru Manoel. The first two concerts on the 5th April start at 16.00hrs and 17.30hrs, and the next four on Friday 9th April at 09.30hrs, 11.00hrs, 16.00hrs and 17.30hrs respectively. The concerts are free for children under 17 years of age. Each guardian/parent is encouraged to make a donation of € 1.

April 6th – 30th Introspections – an exhibition of abstract paintings by Christopher Saliba. Venue: Auberge d'Italie, Valletta.

April 7th Performers Platform – Piano Recital with Elaine Mercieca performing works by Chopin and Debussy. Venue: St Catherine of Italy, Valletta.

April 8th Baroque Music for Traverse flute – with the participation of Robert Calleja, flute, accompanied on piano by Alex Vella Gregory. Venue: St Catherine of Italy, Valletta. Time: 12.30 hrs.

April 9th Youth & Music: A Violin & Piano Duet by Giuliana Toselli (violin) and Silvia Gregoriani (piano) on the occasion of 'Gaulitana – A Festival of Music 2010' presented by Colin Attard and the Italian Cultural Institute. Venue: Exhibition Hall, St Francis Square, Victoria, Gozo. Time: 20.15 hrs. Entrance to the concert is free of charge.

April 9th & 10th A Journey With Guitars Session guitarist and guitar tutor Marc Galea teams up with prominent guitarist/composer Luigi Tessarollo from Turin to play several jazz standards – from funk and Latin to Bebop and blues numbers, mixed with their own interpretations, arranged for guitar duets. This will be an intimate and unique performance for all the Jazz lovers. Venue: St James Cavalier, Valletta. Time: 20.15hrs.

April 9 – 11, 16 – 18, 23 – 25 The Seduction of Almighty God Written by Howard Barker and produced by Unifaun Theatre Productions, the play is directed by Rachel O'Riordan. The Seduction of Almighty God is set during the dissolution of monasteries, a critical moment in the history of the English priesthood. The loss of faith and corruption that characterised the priests of the period is unexpectedly challenged by the arrival of a young man with an unsullied and passionate belief in God. The cast includes Manuel Cauchi, Michael Zammit Maempel, Joe Azzopardi, Lizzie Eldridge, Mikhail Basmadjian, Coryse Borg, Andrew Galea and Pia Zammit. Venue: St James Cavalier, Valletta, Time: 20.00hrs

April 10th St Vincent – feast celebrated in Valletta.

April 10th Art and Wine The second edition in the series of Art and Wine activities promising interesting discussions over a glass of wine Venue: National Museum of Fine Arts, Contemporary Hall, South Street, Valletta.

April 10th Celebrative Concert for Europe – by the Sliema Band, under the baton of Ronnie Debattista FLCM together with the participation of tenor Joseph Aquilina and soprano Andrijana Fenech Jordanova who will sing various arias from Italian operas and popular Neapolitan songs. Trumpet soloist Sigmund Mifsud shall perform Concerto for Trumpet by Franz Joseph Haydn. The concert will end with Tchaikowsky's Grand Finale Festive Overture 1812 and Cardenio Botti's Inno Sliema. Venue: Sir Temi Zammit Auditorium, University of Malta, Tal-Qroqq, Msida. Time: 19.30 hrs.

April 10th Hamlet (Encore performance). The works of Shakespeare have inspired more operatic adaptations than any other writer's. Simon Keenlyside and Natalie Dessay bring their extraordinary acting and singing skills to two of the Bard's most unforgettable characters in this new production of Ambroise Thomas's Hamlet. For the role of Ophelia, the French composer created an extended mad scene that is among the greatest in opera. Conductor: Louis Langrée; Production: Patrice Caurier/Moshe Leiser, Natalie Dessay, Jennifer Larmore, Toby Spence, Simon Keenlyside, James Morris. Venue: St James Cavalier Cinema, Valletta. Time: 19.00hrs.

April 10th – 11th 'Is-Sur Mastru' – a comedy by Joseph Vella Bondin, presented by Kumpanija Teatrali Bronk, directed by John Suda. Venue : Catholic Institute, Floriana. Time: Saturday 10th April – 19.30 hrs, Sunday 11th April – 18.00 hrs. Bookings from ?eraldu Kiosk, Valletta, the bar at the Catholic Institute, Bronk Productions, ?ebbu?, Tere?a Bazaar, ?abbar, Avalonm Trading, Mosta or on line or

April 10th – May 16th Rhythm and Harmony – An exhibition of paintings by Anthony P. Vella. Free Entrance. Venue: Heritage Malta Head Office, Valletta. Time: Monday to Friday 09.00 – 16.30 hrs (Last Admission 16.00 hrs). April 11th Brass Quintet – Venue: St Catherine of Italy, Valletta. Time: 11.00 hrs.

April 11th Met Opera Matinee – Simon Boccanegra – Giuseppe Verdi. The Metropolitan Opera's Peabody and Emmy Award-winning series live in high definition with English subtitles. Conductor: James Levine; Production: Giancarlo del Monaco, Adrianne Pieczonka, Marcello Giordani, Plàcido Domingo, James Morris. Venue: St James Cavalier Cinema, Valletta. Time: 19.00hrs

April 11th Spring Festival – organised by the Sezzjoni Zghazagh, Kumitat Festi Esterni. Venue: Qormi.

April 11th Crafts Exhibition – organised by the San ?wann Local Council. Venue: Misra? ?entawrja, San ?wann.

April 11th Kultour bi Tram – organised by the San ?wann Local Council, visiting various places of interest in San ?wann.

April 11th Festa tar-Rebbieg?a – organised by the Qormi Local Council in collaboration with Kumitat Festi Esterni San ?or?. Venue: Qormi

April 11th Cultural Tour – to visit the Aula Capitularis in the Basilica of Saint Helen, a limestone miniature model of Saint Helen's church, the church dedicated to Our Lady of Tal-Herba, the old parish dedicated to Saint Mary and the Shelters of World War II. Meeting place: Floriana, Sliema. The tour is organised by the Malta Council for Culture and the Arts. For further information please contact Noel Damato on 21232515 or 21245168. You may also visit the website or send an e-mail to Venue: Birkirkara

April 12th – 18th Hong Kong Film Festival Films which will be shown are: Sparrow, True Women for Sale, Tractical Unit-Camrades in Arms, The Moss, High Noon, City Without Baseball, This Darling Life, Shangai Blues, Once Upon a Time in China, Zu: Warriors from the Magic Mountain, Once Upon in China II, Once upon in China III. All films are in Cantonese with English/ Chinese subtitles. Venue: St James Cavalier Cinema, Valletta

April 13th Young Musicians Contest 2010 (Preliminary Phase) – organised by the Malta Society of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce, sponsored by the Malta Council for Culture and the Arts and The London College of Music. Venue: Palazzo de La Salle, Valletta. Bookings: – Tel: 21244339 – 21244400

April 14th Performers Platform – Violin Recital by Charlene Caruana featuring works by Telemann, Rachmaninoff, Prokofiev and Sophr. Venue: St Catherine of Italy, Valletta.

15th April The Commemoration of 'The Award of the George Cross Medal to the People of Malta' – organised by the Malta Tourism Authority. Venue: St George's Square, Valletta. Time: 19.00 hrs. April 15th Hapsichord Solo by Ramona Zammit Formosa. Venue: St Catherine of Italy, Valletta. Time: 12.30 hrs.

April 15th Caravaggio And His Art – a conference entirely dedicated to this renowned artist. Fr Marius Zerafa will guide us through the vicissitudes of both his life and his art. Venue: The Hall, Italian Cultural Institute, Valletta. Time: 18.00 hrs.

April 15th PIETRO PICCOLI – solo exhibition. The artist presents a series of figurative works with the theme of serenity. The paintings feature still lives pulsing with light and landscapes with typical Mediterranean colours – organised by the Italian Cultural Institute in collaboration with ART CONNECT. Venue: Cafè Premier, Republic Square, Valletta. Time: 19.00 hrs.

April 16th Lejla Gor?jana – organised by the Sezzjoni ?g?a?ag?, Kumitat Festi Esterni in collaboration with the Qormi Local Council. Venue: Qormi

April 17th & 18th The Importance of Being Earnest – by Oscar Wilde's most popular satirical play, produced by the touring company ATGE. Venue: Teatru Manoel, Valletta. Time: 19.30 hrs.

April 17th & 18th Tap Reloaded Fetcher Management in collaboration with Standing Ovations present the world's best internationally acclaimed tap dancers, who are taking the world of dance entertainment by storm attracting millions from all corners of the globe. Venue: Mediterranean Conference Centre, Valletta

April 18th, 25th In Guardia Parade – a historical re-enactment organised by the Malta Tourism Authority. Venue: Fort St Elmo Time: 11.00 hrs.

19th April 20 dita su una tastiera: a Quattro Mani – concert by two Italian pianists renowned all over Europe Andreina Nascagni and Fernanda Raponi. Music by Schubert, Rossini, Bizet, Saint-Saens and Barone. Concert organised on the occasion of 'Gaulitana – A Festival of Music 2010' presented by Colin Attard and the Italian Cultural Institute. Venue: Exhibition Hall, St Francis Square, Victoria, Gozo. Time: 20.00 hrs. Entrance to the concert is free of charge.

April 20th Charles Camilleri Commemoration Concert A concert of music by Malta's foremost composer Charles Camilleri (1931 – 2009) performed by the Malta Philarmonic Orchestra. The programme includes: Biblical Dances; Piano Concerto No 1 Mediterranean (Soloist: Caroline Calleja); Andante Religioso; The Maltese Cross – 3 Arias; (Soprano: Maria Abela); Malta Suite. Leader: Marcelline Agius, conducted by Michael Laus. Venue: Teatru Manoel, Valletta. Time: 19.30 hrs

April 21st Akkademja Mu?ikali – organised by Kumitat Festi Esterni San ?or?. Venue: Qormi.

April 21st Performers Platform – The fourth system clarinet quartet featuring works by Piazzolla, Gershwin, Borodin, Handel, Mozart and Garner. Venue: St Catherine of Italy, Valletta.

April 21st – 25th Children's Literature Festival Venue: St James Cavalier, Valletta

April 22nd A concert featuring music by young Maltese composer Jesmond Grixti. Venue: Sala Isouard, Teatru Manoel, Valletta. Time: 20.00 hrs.

April 22nd L'Ultimo Bacio – a film by Gabriele Muccino (2001), featuring Stefano Accorsi, Giovanna Mezzogiorno, Stefania Sandrelli and Martina Stella. "L'Ultimo Bacio" is based on what most of us actually feel when they are expected to grow up at around the age of thirty, to settle down, to get married and to start a family. All very important decisions and we never feel very comfortable making them. If you expect any answers from this movie, then we'll have to disappoint you, because you won't really find any good ones… Venue: The Hall, Italian Cultural Institute, Valletta. Time: 18.00 hrs. Free admission.

April 22nd and April 30th The Habit of Art Alan Bennett's new play is as much about the theatre as it is about poetry or music. It looks at the unsettling desires of two difficult men, and at the ethics of biography. It reflects on growing old, on creativity and inspiration, and on persisting when all passion's spent: ultimately, on the habit of art. Benjamin Britten, sailing uncomfortably close to the wind with his new opera, Death in Venice, seeks advice from his former collaborator and friend, W H Auden. During this imagined meeting, their first for twenty-five years, they are observed and interrupted by, amongst others, their future biographer and a young man from the local bus station. Direction: Nicholas Hytner, Music: Matthew Scott, Cast: Danny Burns, Martin Chamberlain, Philip Childs, Frances de la Tour and Richard Griffiths. Venue: St James Cavalier, Valletta. Time: 19.00 hrs.

April 23rd, – 25th Strange Bird – Being Caravaggio A night of drama and dance at its very best presented by the Foundation for Dance and Theatre and the Rampart Dance Company Haarlem , featuring actress Monique Van dee Werff and singer Charlotte Coppola, directed by Paul Rooyackers. Venue: Teatru Manoel, Valletta. Time: 19.30 hrs.

April 24th Fourth Mechanised Ground Fireworks – organised by the Floriana Local Council. Ground fireworks are a unique Maltese pyrotechnic tradition. Since the festival will be held on the eve of Floriana's Parish feast, those who attend the festival will also enjoy the lavish local festivities which are a hallmark of Maltese festas. Venue: St Publius Square, Floriana. Time: 22.30 hrs.

April 24th Xaghra Day Celebration – a special programme in which the honour 'Gieh ix-Xaghra' is bestowed. The event includes the reading of poems and theatre representations related to the locality of Xaghra. Venue: Victory Square, Xaghra, Gozo. Time: 19.30 hrs.

April 25th St Publius – feast celebrated in Floriana.

April 25th Jum ?al G?axaq – organised by the G?axaq Local Council.

April 26th LCM Annual Concert – organised by the Malta Society of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce. Venue: Casino Maltese, Valletta. Time: 19.15 hrs. Bookings: – Tel: 21244339 – 21244400,

April 27th 4 Artists exhibition –Venue St James Cavalier, Valletta. Time: Monday & Tuesday 09.00hrs – 17.00hrs, Wednesday to Friday 09.00hrs – 21.00hrs, Saturday, Sunday and public holidays 10.00hrs- 21.00hrs

April 28th Commemoration of the 322nd Anniversary of the Xaghra Parish Foundation – Venue: Xaghra, Gozo.

April 28th Performers Platform – Violin Recital by Gunther Abela accompanied on harpsichord by Sonya Abela. Venue: St Catherine of Italy.

April 29th Classical Works for flute and piano – with the participation of Silvio Zammit – flute and Ramona Zammit Formosa – piano. Works by Mozart, Beethoven and Haydn will be performed.

April 29th Mataharis The fourth in a series of six films presented by the Spanish Presidency in Malta on the occasion of the Spanish EU Presidency. Private detective Inés infiltrates the employees at a multinational corporation. Thanks to the collaboration of Manuel, she gets to the heart of company intrigues. But her investigation brings her face to face with a difficult emotional and ethical decision. Eva, just back from maternity leave, is juggling work and family obligations when she discovers that her partner Iñaki is hiding something fundamental to their future as a couple. Carmen, the most experienced of the three, observes and tapes Sergio's marital collapse but can't see her own marriage is dead. While working at the detective agency run by Valbuena, these three surveillance specialists often invade others' privacy but are clueless about confronting their own secrets. All three will have to cross the thin line dividing public and private matters, bringing their own issues to light in order to solve more than just their professional cases. Direction: Iciar Bollain, Cast: Najwa Nimri, Tristán Ulloa. – This film is in Spanish with English subtitles. Admission Free. Venue: St James Cavalier, Valletta. Time: 19.00 hrs.

April 29th and 30th The Malta International Fireworks Festival – organised by the Malta Tourism Authority. Venue: The Grand Harbour, Valletta.

April 29th, May 2nd Crafts Fair and Conference – organised by the St Venera Local Council and the Malta Crafts Council. The conference will be held at Dar San Guzepp, St Venera, and the fair will take place at Romeo Romano Garden, St Venera.

April 30th Ostinato Chamber Orchestra An Orchestra from France formed of highly talented young professional musicians with a vast operatic and symphonic repertoire. A concert that promises to enter the annuals as one of the best of 2010 Venue: Teatru Manoel, Valletta. Time: 20.00 hrs.

April 30th, May 1st & 2nd The Spiral – The legend of Malta's first super hero Kubos Mati Productions presents the story of seven friends and their individual fight against evil, The Spiral is a play balanced between dramatic conflict and action sequences with an original twist. So when the battle for Malta erupts, which side will you choose? Venue: MITP Theatre, St Christopher Street, Valletta. Time: 20.00 hrs.

April 30th, May 1st and 2nd Mayfair – Book fair, entertainment, exhibitions, games for children etc. organised by the Nadur Local Council. Venue: St Peter and St Paul's Square, Mdina.

April 30th – May 30th An exhibition of paintings by Patrick Dalli. Free Entrance. Venue: National Museum of Fine Arts, Contemporary Hall, South Street, Valletta. Time: Monday to Sunday 09.00hrs – 17.00hrs (Last Admission at 16.30hrs)

May 1st St Joseph the Worker – feast celebrated in B'Kara.

May 2nd British Brass Quintet – St Catherine of Italy, Valletta.

May 1st and 2nd The Annual Great Spring Festival – organised by the Malta Horticultural Society. This horticultural show, the main one on the island, comprises both competitions and exhibitions of flower arrangements, plot plants, vegetables and fruit. Over 200 classes, on competition basis as well as numerous floral exhibitions make this a showcase of Maltese Horticultural Products and proof of the high artistic level of our flower arrangers. On both days, various demonstrations of local crafts, as well as an entertainment programme, make this show an event ideal for the whole family. Venue: San Anton Gardens, Attard. Time: Saturday – 14.00 hrs – 22.00 hrs; Sunday – 08.00 hrs – 21.00 hrs.

May 1st, 8th & 16th Armida – Met Opera Live in High Definition This mythical story of a sorceress who enthrals men in her island prison has inspired operatic settings by a multitude of composers, including Gluck, Haydn, and Dvor?ák. Renée Fleming stars in the title role of Rossini's version, opposite no fewer than six tenors. Tony Award winner Mary Zimmerman returns to direct this new production of a work she describes as 'a buried treasure, a box of jewels.' The fanciful and magical tale, Zimmerman says, 'has an epic, enchanted quality and a tremendous visual element.' Conductor: Riccardo Frizza; Production: Mary Zimmerman, Renée Fleming, Lawrence Brownlee, Bruce Ford, José Manuel Zapata, Barry Banks, Kobie van Rensburg. Venue: St James Cavalier Cinema, Valletta Time: May 1 & 8 at 18.30hrs, May 16 at 15.00hrs.

May 1st – June 7th An exhibition of paintings by Patrick Dalli. Free Entrance. Venue: National Museum of Fine Arts, Contemporary Hall, South Street, Valletta. Time: Monday to Sunday 09.00 – 17.00 hrs (Last Admission at 16.30 hrs). May 2nd Performance by Pauleen's Dance Studio during the annual Horticultural Event. Performance includes Classical Ballet, Modern Jazz and Cabaret. Venue: San Anton Gardens, Attard. Time: 11.00 hrs. May 2nd Full Day Cultural Tour to Gozo – This tour is organised by the Malta Council for Culture and the Arts. For further information contact Noel Damato on 21232515 or 21245168. You may also visit the website or send an e-mail to

May 2nd Met Opera Matinee – Hamlet The works of Shakespeare have inspired more operatic adaptations than any other writer's. Simon Keenlyside and Natalie Dessay bring their extraordinary acting and singing skills to two of the Bard's most unforgettable characters in this new production of Ambroise Thomas's Hamlet. For the role of Ophelia, the French composer created an extended mad scene that is among the greatest in opera. Conductor: Louis Langrée; Production Patrice Caurier/Moshe Leiser, Natalie Dessay, Jennifer Larmore, Toby Spence, Simon Keenlyside, James Morris. Venue: St James Cavalier Cinema, Valletta. Time: 19.00hrs

May 2nd St Augustine – feast celebrated in Valletta.

May 2nd British Brass Quintet. For more information contact St James Cavalier on telephone 2122 3200 or email

May 2nd Festival t'Arti u Arti?janat mal-Armar tal-Festi A festival of crafts relating to local Festas. Venue: Inquisitor's Palace, Vittoriosa.

May 2nd, 16th, 23rd, 30th In Guardia Parade – a historical re-enactment organised by the Malta Tourism Authority. Venue: Fort St Elmo Time: 11.00 hrs

May 3rd Holy Cross – feast celebrated in B'Kara.

May 3rd 'Monday Ovation' Concert – organised by the Malta Cultural Institute. Quintet consisting of harp, 2 violins, viola and cello led by Esmeralda Camilleri. Violin recital by Valhmor Montfort, accompanied on piano by Esmeralda Camilleri. There will also be a ballet presentation. Venue: Hotel Le Meridien, St Julian's. Time: 19.00 hrs.

May 3rd – 29th Ballet Dancers in Action – an exhibition of acrylic paintings by Carmel Micallef. Venue: Vee Gee Bee Art Gallery, Republic Street, Valletta. Open shop hours.

May 4th – 23rd Exhibition by Francis Galea – Venue: Malta Society of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce, Palazzo de La Salle, 219 Republic Street, Valletta. Free entrance. Opening hours: Monday to Friday between 9.30 hrs and 13.00 hrs and 16.00 hrs to 19.00 hrs. For more information kindly send an e-mail to or visit the website

May 8th Movie Spectacular Concert The third edition of this hugely popular concert performed by the Malta Philharmonic Orchestra, featuring popular movie soundtracks that have accompanied great movies, such as Gone with the Wind, Robin Hood Prince of Thieves, Schindler's List, Raiders of the Lost Arc and Pirates of the Caribbean, amongst others. The Orchestra is conducted by Kevin Abela Venue: Republic Hall, Mediterranean Conference Centre, Valletta. Time: 20.00 hrs.

May 8th and 9th L-Esperimenti ta' Fjona- an original play in Maltese written by Clare Azzopardi. This theatre production, targeted at young children (aged 4-9), is a delightful story which introduces children to some basic Science. It tells the story of Fjona, a wizard at Science, in spite of her mother's objections! One day Fjona suddenly disappears. Was it the witch or was it her dreadful aunt and uncle forever conspiring to take her away from her family? This is a production with ample space for audience interaction as children assist various scientific, age appropriate experiments. Direction is by Marcelle Theuma, vocal coaching by Sigo. Venue: St James Cavalier Theatre, Valletta. Time: Saturday 8th at 17.00hrs and Sunday 9th at 19.00hrs (Performances for Schools 4-7 May)

May 8th, 9th 'Il-?uri tal-Im?allfin f'Nurimberga' – translated and directed by John Frendo, presented by Atturi Salesjani. Time 8th May – 19.30 hrs, 9th May – 18.30 hrs. Bookings from the Salesian Theatre, Howard Street, Sliema as from Monday 3rd May 2010 from 18.00 – 20.00 hrs or by telephone 2131 3044/ 9949 1024.

May 9th St George Preca – feast celebrated in Swatar.

May 9th Heritage Trail Gozo A visit to various historical sites in Gozo. Pre-booking is essential. Booking is available from all Heritage Malta sites and museums

May 9th Mother's Day Activity – organised G?aqda Qawmien. Venue: Qormi.

May 11th Ars Ludi Ars Ludi is an Italian Percussion Ensemble, widely recognised across Europe as a leading ensemble for its new and experimental music. Ars Ludi fill the theatre with the sounds of pans, pots and other paraphernalia in a show that will see the art of percussion playing stretched to another dimension. Venue: Teatru Manoel, Valletta. Time: 20.00 hrs.

May 12th Performers Platform – James Zammit – piano. Venue: St Catherine of Italy, Valletta.

May 14th – June 30th Willie Apap: Works from the National Collection – An exhibition of paintings by Willie Apap from the National Collection set up as part of the lejlet Lapsi, Notte Gozitana activities. Free Entrance. Venue: Gozo Area Exhibition Hall, St Martin's Quarter, The Citadel, Gozo. Time: Monday to Friday 09.00 – 17.00 hrs (Last Admission 16.30 hrs).

May 14th – June 13th Zepp Camilleri – exhibition Venue: St James Cavalier, Valletta. Time: Monday & Tuesday 09.00hrs- 17.00hrs, Wednesday to Friday 09.00hrs- 21.00hrs, Saturday, Sunday and public holidays 10.00hrs – 21.00hrs

May 14th – 16th A Tale of a Song The musical fable 'The Wind in the Willows' presented by Drama Troupe, with the participation of Malcolm Galea (Narrator), Giselle Grima (piano), Gillian Zammit (Musical Direction), Lorraine Aquilina (Direction). Venue : St James Cavalier, Valletta Time: 19.00hrs

May 14th – June 27th Philip Chircop Abstracts Venue: St James Cavalier, Valletta Time: Monday& Tuesday 09.00hrs – 17.00hrs, Wednesday to Friday 09.00hrs – 21.00hrs, Saturday, Sunday and public holidays 10.00hrs- 21.00hrs.

May 15th Cinema in Note/Cinema in Music Pianists Federica and Francesca Badalini from the School of Music, Teatro alla Scala, Milan will perform a 'quattro mani' concert of famous film sound-tracks from Charles Chaplin (Limelight) to Ennio Morricone (Spaghetti Westerns), Francis Lai (Love Stories) from Leonard Bernstein (West Side Story) to Andrew Lloyd Weber (Phantom of the Opera), Nino Rota (Il Gattopardo, Il Padrino and Amarcord) and a medley of Neapolitan songs from the movie 'Carosello Napoletano' of 1954; organised by Fiesole Artistic Productions and the Italian Cultural Institute. Venue: Sala Isouard, Teatru Manoel, Valletta. Time: 19.30 hrs.

May 16th Band Club Concert – Venue: Teatru Manoel, Valletta.

May 16th Our Lady of Fatima – feast celebrated in G'Mangia.

May 18th The Composer Conducts A concert featuring the Malta Philharmonic Orchestra. The programme includes: Simple Symphony (Benjamin Britten), Sinfonietta for 13 Wind Players (World Premier), Symphony No. 4 (Gustav Mahler). Leader: Marcelline Agius, conducted by Mro Joseph Vella. Venue: Manoel Theatre, Valletta. Time: 19.30 hrs.

May 18th – June 24th Jum San ?wann – various activities organised to commemorate Jum San ?wann, organised by the San ?wann Local Council. Venue: San ?wann\

May 19th Performers Platform – Ivan Vella – baritone. Venue: St Catherine of Italy, Valletta.

May 21st Concert organised by San ?wann Local Council. Venue: Torri Lanzon, San ?wann.

May 21st – 23rd Chatroom A play by Enda Walsh, produced by Maleth Theatre, directed by Erin Stewart Tanti. In cyberspace six 15-year olds type and chat. A chilling and powerful tale of manipulation and the ultimate act of teenage rebellion. Venue: MITP Theatre, St Christopher Street, Valletta. Time: 20.00 May 22nd St Rita – feast celebrated in Valletta.

May 22nd Lejl fil-Belt Hompesch – organised by Zabbar Local Council. An activity similar to Notte Bianca (lasting till the early hours of Sunday morning). This event will feature various bands and will include re-enactments. Various museums and places of interest will be open for the occasion.

May 22nd, 23rd Irkottafest – organised by Kirkop Local Council.

May 22nd – June 27th An exhibition of paintings by George Scicluna. Free Entrance. Venue: Heritage Malta Head Office, Valletta. Time: Monday to Friday 09.00 – 16.30 hrs (Last Admission 16.00 hrs).

May 25th Jum Hal Qormi – organised by Qormi Local Council. Venue: Qormi.

May 25th Qormi Day Band March – organised by Qormi Local Council in collaboration with Anici Band & Social Club. Venue: Qormi.

May 25th Young Musicians Contest 2010 – (Finals) – organised by the Malta Society of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce, sponsored by the Malta Council for Culture and the Arts and The London College of Music. Venue: Casino Maltese, Valletta. Bookings: – Tel: 21244339 – 21244400

May 25th Debutants' Concert A concert presented by the Malta Philharmonic Orchestra. For more information please visit

May 27th Songs from Britten – with the participation of Soprano Dorothy Baldacchino accompanied on piano by Alex Vella Gregory. Venue: St Catherine of Italy, Valletta.

May 27th, June 24 Spanish Film Season Venue: St James Cavalier Cinema, Valletta. Time: 19.00hrs

May 28th 'San Paolo Evangelizza I Maltesi' by Carlo Diacono for soloists, choir and orchestra featuring Miriam Cauchi, Claire Massa, Joseph Aquilina, Alfred Camilleri and Anthony Montebello, the Mirabitur Choir and the National Philharmonic Orchestra under the direction of Fr John Galea.

May 29th, 30th Vocal Aid by Stage Coach. The concert, now is in its sixth edition, features a 500-strong choir made up of students of all ages from Stagecoach Theatre School, Malta. The repertoire consists of songs from musicals and films, and include 'Nella Fantasia', 'Ghostbusters', 'Earth Song', amongst many other hit songs. Musical direction is in the hands of Denise Mulholland. The show will this year integrate short drama scenes and dance numbers, choreographed by Emma Loftus and performed by a dance troupe created specially for the show, and also made up entirely of Stagecoach Malta students. This year, proceeds will again go to a local charity Venue: Mediterranean Conference Centre, Valletta. Time: 7.30pm/ 6.30pm.

May 30th Holy Trinity – feast celebrated in Marsa.

May 30th Invitation au voyage a French programme which takes us through melody from Gounod to Satie with the participation of Mezzo Soprano Sandra Scicluna accompanied on harp by Ann Marie Camilleri Podesta. Venue: St Catherine of Italy, Valletta.

May 30th St Paul – feast celebrated in Munxar, Gozo.

June 4th – 6th G?anafest The Malta Council for Culture and Arts presents a fabulous three day festival of Mediterranean folk music. Besides g?ana (Maltese folksong), the festival will also host local folk ensembles, Maltese songwriters and folk musicians from neighbouring Mediterranean countries. G?ANAFEST also hosts a series of workshops on traditional instruments and a special programme for children. A wonderful event ideal for the whole family complemented by traditional Maltese food and the marvellous surroundings of the Argotti botanical gardens in Floriana, situated within walking distance from Valletta. Venue Argotti Gardens, Floriana. Time 19.00hrs

June 4th, 5th and 6th Notte Scarlata – organised by Sannat Local Council.

June 5th Band Concert – organised by So?jeta' Filarmonika Pinto. Venue: Qormi.

June 5th and 6th 'Festival Marittimu Senglea' – 2nd Edition. Organised by Isla Local Council.

June 6th Verdala Palace Tours and Nature Tours A whole day activity at the Verdala Palace with special tours to the Buskett Gardens commemorating World Environment Day. Pre-booking is essential

June 6th, 13th, 20th, 27th In Guardia Parade – a historical re-enactment organised by the Malta Tourism Authority. Venue: Fort St Elmo Time: 11.00 hrs

June 6th The Annunciation – feast celebrated in Tarxien.

June 6th St Joseph – feast celebrated in Ghaxaq.

June 6th Corpus Christi – feast celebrated in Rabat and Ghasri, Gozo.

June 7th 'Monday Ovation' Concert – organised by the Malta Cultural Institute. Piano recital by Rachel Gauci, launch of Mount Carmel Youth Band (AD2010) Premier Performance. Venue: Hotel Le Meridien, St Julian's. Time: 19.00 hrs.

June 7th Sette Giugno – National Feast

June 7th Annalise Ellul Annual School Show Venue: Mediterranean Conference Centre, Valletta.

June 10th Cyprien Gaillard Venue: St James Cavalier, Valletta Time: Monday & Tuesday 09.00hrs – 17.00hrs, Wednesday to Friday 09.00hrs – 21.00hrs, Saturday, Sunday and public holidays 10.00hrs – 21.00hrs

June 10th – 25th Member's Annual Exhibition – organised by the Malta Society of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce. Venue: Society of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce, Palazzo de La Salle, 219 Republic Street, Valletta. Entrance Free. Opening hours: Monday to Friday between 9.00 hrs. and 13.00 hrs. For more information kindly send e-mail on or visit website on

June 11th and 12th Ulysses Legend – Bringing Calypso to Life! – an activity held to promote the legendary Calypso Cave, overlooking the fantastic sandy beach of ir-Ramla. The event features local artists and it is being financed by the cultural scheme 2010 launched by the Government. Venue: Xaghra, Gozo. Time: 20.00 hrs.

June 12th Mostafest 2010 – organised by the Mosta Local Council. Venue Rotunda Square, Mosta.

June 13th St Philip – feast celebrated in Zebbug.

June 13th St Anthony – feast celebrated in Ghajnsielem, Gozo.

June 17th A theatre performance about the life of St George the Martyr – organised by G?aqda Qawmien. Venue: Qormi.

June 18th Lejla Maltija – organised by Ghaqda Muzikali San Gorg Martri. Venue: Qormi.

June 18th Lejla Maltija – organised by Ghaqda Muzikali Anici. Venue: Qormi.

June 20th Our Lady of the Lily – feast celebrated in Mqabba.

June 20th St Catherine – feast celebrated in Zejtun.

June 20th Sacred Heart of Jesus – feast celebrated in Fontana, Gozo.

June 21st Summer solstice A guided tour to the Spring Equinox at Mnajdra Temples or the ?a?ar Qim Temples. Pre-booking essential. Booking is available from all Heritage Malta sites and museums.

June 21st Mer?ba lis-Sajf – Classical Soiree – with the participation of musicians from Zabbar and special guests. Organised by Zabbar Local Council together with the Kunsill Civiku, Zabbar. Venue: The Hall, Zabbar Local Council, Zabbar. Time: 19.00 – 21.00 hrs.

June 22nd Our Lady of Pinu – feast celebrated in Ta' Pinu, Gozo.

June 22nd The Great Siege Harbour Tour A boat tour visiting various historical sites around the Grand Harbour. Pre-booking is essential. Booking is available from all Heritage Malta sites and museums.

June 27th St George – feast celebrated in Qormi.

June 27th Sacred Heart of Mary – feast celebrated in Burmarrad.

June 27th St John the Baptist – feast celebrated in Xewkija, Gozo.

June 28th, 29th Mnarja A traditional agrarian fair at Buskett Gardens which includes an evening event with folk singing and outdoor feasting of traditional food. Organised by the Malta Council for Culture and the Arts. Venue: Buskett Gardens, limits of Rabat, Malta

June 29th St Peter and St Paul – feast celebrated in Mdina and Nadur, Gozo.

Permanent Exhibition

Rux Art Gallery – Sir Antonio Micallef Street, Balzan, featuring paintings by Damian Ebejer, late Francis Ebejer and Giuseppe Cassar. A ceramics exhibition is also being held by Sina Farrugia-Micallef, Zell Osborne, Julie Apap and Sue Mifsud, together with sculptures by Ivan Fenech and Guzeppi Theuma. Other exhibitors are Frank Schembri, John Busuttil Leaver, David Xuereb and Millie Burn (paintings) and Kevin Attard (silver art works).


Art Course in Painting, Life Classes, Stone Sculpture, Clay Sculpture – organised by the Malta Society of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce. 10 lessons, once a week between April and June (morning or evening hours). Applications are available at the Malta Society of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce, Palazzo de La Salle, 219, Republic Street, Valletta. Tel: 21244339 – 21244400, Email:, Website:

Crafts Course – organised by the Malta Society of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce. Venue: Malta Society of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce, Palazzo de La Salle, 219, Republic Street, Valletta. 10 lessons, once a week between April and June (morning or evening). Applications available from the Malta Society of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce, 219, Palazzo de La Salle, Valletta. Tel: 21244339 – 21244400 Email:; Website:

Master Class by prominent Jazz guitarist Luigi Tessarollo The Euro Institute of Music, in collaboration with MRM events, is organizing a Jazz Guitar master class by Italian guitarist/composer Luigi Tessarollo. Mr Tessarollo is a prominent figure within the international jazz scene. He has performed at the most prominent Jazz Festivals around the world and has collaborated with some of the most outstanding jazz musicians, including the legendary Lee Konitz and Slide Hampton, among others. The Master Class will be divided into two sessions. The first session will be designed for beginners/intermediate level guitar players and will focus on Jazz genres (Latin, funk, Blues bebop etc.); Head and form (AABA etc); and basic tunes for beginners (ii-v-i). The second class will be designed for advanced players and will focus on what is referred to as playing "outside", Jazz Scales, Modal Tunes and playing in an ensemble. The sessions are being held at the Euro Institute, High Street, Hamrun, on Saturday 10 April. The beginner-intermediate class will be held between 10.00 hrs and 11.30 hrs while the advanced class will be held between 11.30 hrs and 13.00 hrs. Price: €10 for each class. For bookings or more information please call at the Euro Institute of Music on Tel: 2122-6555 or Mob: 9946-6324. Email: Limited places are available.