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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2005

    2018 R&R Person of the Year

    This is only my personal opinion as someone who has been in our 1950's style music & dance scene for a number of years in Melbourne. There have been so many people & bands who have contributed greatly to our 1950's scene during 2018 and I am sure many of you have your own personal favourite(s) as well. I would be happy to hear from you of your favourite people, bands, festivals and dance teachers.

    2018 Melbourne Rock n Roll Person of the Year - Jocelyn B O'Mara

    So many people caught my attention in 2018. Jonathan & Zoe continue to spread the message of R&R dancing far & wide in Melbourne with their classes and "8 Week Wonder" and also their $1,000 shoot Out Dance Comp. Their dance gigs are usually well attended and they have brought out Si Cranstoun and A Band Called Twang for our enjoyment. DJ Ashley & Leanne Lonel impressed me with their energy & passion in promoting live music and R&R dancing bringing us top bands week in week out. DJ Ashley's photos and videos are legendary keeping our memories of happy times alive for many years to come. Suzie from Rock'n Suzie is another who needs no introduction teaching hundreds of students over the years and holding dances monthly in Pakenham. Her contribution for so many years in staging the Good Friday Charity dance event raising money for a good cause will always be remembered. But the person who I think deserves to be our Melbourne R&R Person of the Year is Jocelyn B O'Mara. I have known Jocelyn in our R&R scene for many years. She has been an active contributor on Vicrock (arguably the world's first website totally dedicated to 1950's style music and dancing) for many years and continue to share her views online. She was also one of a small group of people who came up with the idea of staging the R&R Flashmob dance at various locations in Melbourne city as well as at the Doncaster Shopping centre. But what I am most impressed is her dedication and passion in wanting to preserve the history of R&R music and dancing in Melbourne for future generations by starting a website called "History of R&R Dancing in Melbourne" specially for this purpose. Everyone can go onto this website and make a positive contribution with your knowledge, photos and videos of our 1950's scene in Melbourne. Wouldn't it be a fantastic outcome & achievement if the data and knowledge captured of our 1950's scene for posterity will be taken up and accepted by our university's history departments as well as Australia's museums and Australian Historical Archives? I certainly think so.

    Other Awards for 2018:

    2018 Band of the Year - Shane Magro Trio

    So many great bands in Melbourne with some like the Straight 8's and the Vincents having been in our dance scene for over 25 years or more. Sadly, the Speedsters are no more having played their last gig recently. We all have our local favourites such as the Fender Benders, the Detonators, Louis King & the Liars Klub, Honky Tonk Rockers, Rockin' Daddies, Itchy Fingers, the Rockin' Tones, the Jump Devils and later the Jump Cats, Joe Galea Band, Robyn & the Rancheros, Hank Jalopy Demons, the Firebird etc but to me, the most exciting band to have come into our 1950's style R&R live music scene in recent times has to be the Shane Magro Trio comprising the very youthful & dynamic Shane Magro & James Schembri and well supported by Frank D'abaco on drums and the stylish Robin Sharrock on the double bass. Hope to see Shane Magro Trio continue to grow in popularity in years to come,.

    2018 Dance Promoter of the Year - DJ Ashley & Leanne Lonel

    Great to see many taking the risk and spending huge amount of time and commitment to promote our R&R scene usually for very little reward. Some have been doing this for many years such as Cliffy & Maryann and also Jonathan & Zoe. Special mention must also go to promoters at the Furlan Club, Renegade Rockers, Rosebud Rockers, Peninsula Rockers, Rock'n Suzie, Geelong Jukebox Rockers, Triple F's etc. Special thank you to Milton, Sue & Big Al for staging Flipside for 5 wonderful years. It was a sad day with their last dance in December. But to me, the promoter of the year goes to DJ Ashley & Leanne Lonel who have kept dancers busy on the dance floor for so many years and keep introducing so many new and great bands to our scene. DJ Ashley is someone who never say never, and he just keep on surprising us in keeping our dance scene rockin'. Thank you DJ Ashley and Leanne Lonel for your dedication in promoting the 1950's style live music and R&R dancing.

    2018 Dance Teachers of the Year - Jonathan & Zoe

    Thanks to the many dedicated R&R dance teachers, so many people have now found a new passion in life dancing R&R in Melbourne. Some have been teaching for many years like Glenys at Southside, Anne Truex in LaTrobe Valley, Adam & Deanne in country Victoria and Sue in Pakenham whilst others such as Brian & Marge and Charlie & Karen Toia took up the baton to keep R&R dancing alive. Special mention must go to Adrian who had taught thousands to dance over the years before his retirement from teaching. Linda Symth is another who has taught for so many years and continue to do so today, and many have found the joy of dancing through her special skills & dedication especially amongst those new to R&R dancing. I must mention also Grant & Maryanne Richards for their passion in competing but especially in bringing R&R to young people who are our future in keeping R&R alive. But to me, Jonathan & Zoe embodied what is great & the future for R&R dancing. Not only are they State Champions but they have taught R&R to a large number of people in different age groups with classes all over Melbourne for many years. I love especially their innovative and fun "8 week Wonder" classes.

    2018 Social Dancers of the Year - Karin & Erwin

    To me, it's not so much the showy dance moves you exhibit but how much joy & fun you have on the dance floor. And it's also about you supporting our various dance gigs week in week out that matters. Without your support there'll be no more R&R dances as we know it today. So many dancers I can mention that have supported our dance scene for many years and continue to do so today - Coral, Inga, Paul & Maree, Rob & Margie, Vince & Joyce, Laura & Manny, Italia, Glenda Raka, Maria Stolnik, Wayne, Mick, Bernie, Laurie, Jocelyn, Denise Winter, Irene, Denise & Les, Lynn & john, Linda etc. But to me, the social dancers I most admire and hope to emulate dancing right through my seniors years have to be Karin & Erwin. Just like the "Swingchesters" who have been dancing since the 1950's, Karin & Erwin have been dancing for so many years that I have lost count of. They have been featured in newspapers article and on TV so they are our very own "A list" rock & rollers in our dance scene.

    2018 R&R Festival of the Year - Camperdown's "Rock the Clock" R&R Festival

    R&R Festivals have the potential to really promote R&R music, fashion and dance far & wide and to have that massive impact in the general public arena. We are lucky in Melboune & in Victoria generally to continue to enjoy & attend various R&R festivals although it was sad to see some closing down like Shepparton Rockabilly festival and the Tallangatta R&R festival. Geelong Jukebox Rockers' Summer R&R festival continues to be staged after so many years and continues to draw a large crowd. Rosebud R&R festival is growing in popularity with some dance events sold out weeks before. Ballarat rockabilly festival which I attended was quite popular with the general public especially the open stage area on Lydiard street where bands performed and with dancing on the main street. But the festival which gains my admiration & support is Camperdown's "Rock the Clock" R&R festival. From what I understand, the people & businesses in Camperdown came together to support and stage the festival after Camperdown rockabilly festival was closed. It's in this spirit of togetherness exhibited by this small country Victorian town to bring alive our 1950's music, cars, fashion and dance scene that I most admire. For this reason alone, I nominate Camperdown's "Rock the Clock" to be the R&R festival of the year.

    Last edited by Jitterbug; 26-12-2018 at 05:07 PM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    South East Melbourne

    Re: 2018 R&R Person of the Year

    Thanks Paul for your nominations. A great reflection and acknowledgment of some of the bands, dancers, teachers and promoters who all work tirelessly to keep our great rock n roll dance scene alive and rocking. A great memory also to see the mob dance at Doncaster from 2012 again and remember all the people who came along to dance.

    I'd like to also nominate and thank you and Mel for keeping Vicrock alive and working since 2002 to keep everyone informed of the gigs, dance classes and festivals coming up. Its a great site that has worked well for many years and we'd all be lost without it. Your reviews always make interesting reading and your ongoing support of all the dances is invaluable.

    The website "History of rock n roll dancing in Melbourne" is a work in progress, and hopefully more people will find the time to send me contributions, and I can find the time to add to it. I have donated many dance flyers, as well as old "Rock n Roll News", to the Special Collections section of Monash University Library where they will be preserved for the future. For those who have not yet had a look at the History website here is the link.



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