Report by Trevor Connell
Guests were invited to “Transformations” at the Sebel Albert Park. As they gathered in the foyer for pre-function drinks nothing looked remarkably different. However when the ballroom doors opened they walked into a misty room and meandered through a very stunning table layout – a mixture of standard round ballroom tables interspersed with a number of long tables.
The opening of the event was a time lapse video showing the setup of the room then Stewart Wilkinson took his place at the grand piano on a stage in the centre of the room and was joined by Michael Cristiano on guitar and singer Lisa Edwards for the opening act.
Following entrée a classic rock band line up took to the stage at one end of the room – and what a line-up. Stewart Wilkinson from Glen Shorrock’s band on keyboards, vocalist Lisa Edwards from John Farnham’s band, guitarist Michael Cristiano who was once musical director of The Seekers and Judith Durham, saxophonist Wilbur Wilde, guitarist/saxophonist Joe Camilleri (Jo Jo Zep & The Falcons and The Black Sorrows), former Skyhooks drummer Freddy Strauks and Paul Gadsby from Paul Kelly’s band on bass.
Following this set – dessert then some cutlery escaped from the kitchen and dragged the audience’s attention to the back of the room and a Kabuki drop (not quite an Olympic cauldron moment but with the encouragement of a number of staff) to reveal the Twisted Liquid flair bar with Leeroy Petersen looking for al the world like he was trying to incinerate all the redevelopment of the ballroom.
A nice segue from the pyrotechnics to Stand and Deliver, a very youthful 80’s covers band that quickly had guests onto the dance floor.
Overall quite a neat way to relaunch a ballroom.
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The event was produced by DG Global with technical production by Staging Connections.
Jon Smith from DG Global, Creative Director, Executive Producer and the creative minds behind the ‘Transformations’ event describes the event.
“Tonight has been put together by three parties, DG Global as event producers, Staging Connections’ lending technical and production support; and of course the Sebel Albert Park, the venue and catering for tonight’s event.
In essence tonight has been a relaunch of the ballroom and banqueting facilities at The Sebel.
Tonight was very much about changing audience expectations about all three companies, particularly the venue. Working together we developed a creative that was very much about the transformation of the venue over the last two years. The event has transformed and metamorphasised several times during the evening.
Tonight we began with pre-dinner drinks accompanied by a small jazz band in the ballroom foyer. Guests walked into the ballroom which was completely draped in black, a very elegant setting. We had an animated transformation graphic on the screen and a series of moving and colour changing lights in the room that were programmed to work with the animation to keep the room changing both in terms of the light and the animation.
Lights then faded and we kicked off with a one and a half minute time lapse sequence shot over the last 24 hours and showed us transforming the venue and setting up for tonight. That was played to a piece of orchestral music especially written for the occasion.
As the time lapse finished, the lights faded to black and we went into an opening number performed with grand piano on a circular stage. It was the theme song from Glee. We started with the grand piano in the centre of the room and then Michael Christiano on guitar entered the room making his way through the audience to the centre stage. He was then joined by Lisa Edwards who also sang as she made her way to the centre of the room and then they all performed the rest of the number on the circular stage in the centre of the room.
We then took a break for entrée, then the formalities, hosted by the Master of Ceremonies, Colin Cameron, who introduced Craig Bond, manager of the Sebel who welcomed everyone and explained the purpose of tonight. He was followed by Haig Walker, Regional General Manager of Staging Connections’ who explained the technology fit-out that had just been completed in the ballroom; and then on behalf of DG Global I explained the context for this evening.
Following that we crossed via a live video link to the kitchen where Nick Yates dressed as a turkey, embarrassed the Head Chef by being a turkey in his kitchen, but it gave us a moment to see what was happening back of house where main course was being plated up.
After main course, Wilbur Wilde and his band performed a 45 minute set with guest artists Lisa Edwards and Joe Camilleri.
A pause for dessert service with some amazing trays of desserts that were all made in house.
But the highlight of the night came after dessert whereby Colin came back to stage to wrap up the night, but on hearing that a table was missing cutlery, summoned into the room an oversized fork and knife that made their way to the appropriate table, which happened to be at the back of the room. This drew the audience’s attention to the back of the room and then magically the whole back wall of the room, which was draped in black, descended to the floor to reveal a huge bar flaring show on a circular bar. Very, very high impact show which went straight from the flare bar into another band, Stand and Deliver, who filled the dance floor within a minutes.”
Room shots by Andrew Hobbs
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The client – Sebel Albert Park – Keren Southgate, Director of Sales – Conference and Events
Venue and catering by Sebel Albert Park
MC – Colin Cameron
Incidentals – Wacky Entertainment
Opening Act – Music arranged by Michael Cristiano, performed by Michael Cristiano (guitar and vocals), Lisa Edwards (vocals) and Stewart Wilkinson (keys)
Feature act – Wilbur Wilde band – Stewart Wilkinson (keys), Lisa Edwards (vocals), Michael Cristiano (guitar & vocals), Wilbur Wilde (sax and vocals), Joe Camilleri (guitar, sax and vocals), Freddy Strauks (drums), Paul Gadsby (bass).
Dance band – Stand and Deliver
Flair bar – Twisted Liquid
Jon Smith – Executive Producer/Creative Director (DG Global)
Simon Creely – Production Manager/Show Caller (DG Global)
Elvira Janowicz – Assistant Producer (DG Global)
Loree Murphy – Stage Manager (DG Global)
Abbie McKrisken – Assistant Stage Manager (DG Global)
Video Production – Dave Hase from Hase Media
Production for Stand and Deliver – Huntingdales with Bill McCormick as Audio Engineer
Kabuki drop – Bytecraft
Staging connections crew
Technical Directors: Dan Quinn and John Iorlano
Head Stylist: Kristy Foulcher
Show Operators: Lee Vella, Melissa Goldsworthy, James Hunter, James Mccart, Stjohn Gill, Drew Parsons, Jarrod Hansford, Paul Costello, Clayton Smith, Dima Shafro
Styling: Bruce Brigham, Janine Marshall, Jelena Railic, Jodie Olde, Renee Baldwin, Shannon Penver