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20 November 2019
By LOTTE REITER
Audiences of a newly named RM Showcase at Horsham Town Hall experienced several novelties during the concert on Saturday.
Previously known as the Richard Morris Memorial Concert, the RM Showcase celebrated Wimmera talent in a two-hour display of performances from the past year.
And this year’s event welcomed both the first recipient of an inaugural Alex Rathgeber Performing Artist Scholarship, and the first person to win the Richard Morris Memorial Scholarship two years in a row.
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Boolite opera singer Sofia Laursen Habel won the Alex Rathgeber Performing Artist Scholarship, and Horsham College student and Horsham Arts Council member Liam Robertson took home the Richard Morris Memorial Scholarship.
Event spokeswoman Jan Morris said Liam, 16, received the coveted scholarship last year, making him the first entrant to win twice.
She said the Richard Morris Memorial Scholarship was purely about a performer’s passion, to which Liam was a deserving winner.
“He truly deserves it. He’s heading to Melbourne next year, so he really needs the finance for what he wants to do,” she said.
“And he’s still only 16. I’m very thrilled for him, and very thrilled for Sofia too.
“The showcase went above my expectations.
“I think the crowd really appreciated what was given to them.”
Ms Laursen Habel, who last performed at the event in 2011, said she was originally unaware that the Alex Rathgeber Scholarship was in its first year.
She said she was humbled to be the inaugural recipient, and also the winner of an award dedicated to a Horsham export.
“It’s very special, and the fact that it was from Alex Rathgeber, who is hoping to encourage other performing talent, made it extra special,” she said.
Ms Laursen Habel said the scholarship would help pay for her to further develop her performing passion, particularly in acting.
“I would really like to do acting classes, but it can be really hard to pay for those extra things when you’re also worried about rent, bills and food,” she said.
“So, this means I can pursue acting and develop that skill.”
Ms Laursen Habel said she would also return to perform at the showcase next year as a previous scholarship recipient.
“It will be great to come back and perform,” she said.
“I’d like to thank Alex again and the Richard Morris family and committee. I’m excited for the year to come.”
The entire November 20, 2019 edition of The Weekly Advertiser is available online. READ IT HERE!