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    SOUNDS FROM HOME: Classical singer Sofia Laursen Habel will perform at a Sheep Hills silo concert, only a short distance from her family’s farm, before further pursuing her career in Europe. Picture: PAUL CARRACHER
  • Hero image
    Sofia Laursen Habel will headline an opera concert with the Sheep Hills silos as the backdrop in a COVIDsafe setting.
  • Hero image
    Sofia Laursen Habel will headline an opera concert with the Sheep Hills silos as the backdrop in a COVIDsafe setting.
  • Hero image
    Sofia Laursen Habel will headline an opera concert with the Sheep Hills silos as the backdrop in a COVIDsafe setting.

Sheep Hills Silos to come to life at drive-in opera show

Silo artwork at Sheep Hills between Warracknabeal and Minyip will provide a dramatic ‘drive-in’ backdrop for a unique night of musical entertainment later this month. 

Rotary Club of Warracknabeal is revisiting the popular drive-in concept to help pave the way for a major return of live, high-quality entertainment to the region.

The Sheep Hills silos will light up and provide the setting for an October 30 Drive In Opera concert featuring Boolite opera singer Sofia Laursen Habel. Celebrated Australian Opera tenor Michael Lapina is also pencilled in to perform.

The musical performance will be relayed to people through their car radios at the GrainCorp site, with technical help and promotion from ACE Radio Broadcasters and the team at radio stations 3WM and MIXX FM and The Weekly Advertiser.

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The event will double as an opportunity for patrons to experience high-calibre live music and farewell and thank Laursen Habel before she leaves for Denmark in November to further her singing career.

The Rotary club has organised the event to raise money for Warracknabeal and District Country Education Foundation. It hopes to raise about $5000.

The foundation supports young district people with grants to help them with tertiary studies.

In its third year, the foundation has already provided financial help to almost 10 people in realising their career aspirations.

Rotarian Wendy Hewitt said the more money for the foundation, the more Warracknabeal district youth the club could help. 

“Initial plans for such an event involved a live opera performance in a shearing shed with catering,” she said.

“However CoviD-19 restrictions put a stop to that. Ideas for an outdoor event were considered, with the final concept of a drive-in at the Sheep Hills silos ticking all the boxes. 

“There was a lot of work needed though to prepare for such an event and the Rotary club is very grateful for the incredible and timely support from all partners from GrainCorp, which owns the land, and Yarriambiack Shire Council, which leases the area. 

“The council is working on the drainage and upgrading of the site to enable the best parking space. GrainCorp is also helping with the lighting of the silos and upgrading the site.”

To comply with Covid-safe regulations, patrons will enter the venue using a QR code or manual registration. 

They will also obtain information about receiving sound into their car radios. 

“To add to the sparkle of the event, a gourmet grazing box can be pre-ordered to be collected on the night. There will also be some limited light refreshments available at the venue,” Mrs Hewitt said. 

“The number attending will be restricted by car spaces, not people, and we envisage from between 50 and 80 cars will be our limit. 

“Already there is a lot of interest in this unique event, so we are expecting tickets will sell quickly.”


ACE Radio Horsham general manager Brendan O’Loughlin said the event was a prime example of Wimmera innovation.

“It’s representative of the type of outside-the-box thinking our community organisations are going to have to develop as we venture forth from the pandemic,” he said.

The Saturday drive-in concert will be from 7.30pm to 9.30pm. Tickets are $100 a car and will go on sale on Tuesday with more details in coming editions of The Weekly Advertiser, Warracknabeal Herald and Rotary Club of Warracknabeal website and Facebook pages.

People keen to find out more can call Mrs Hewitt on 0427 332 193 or club president John Aitken on 0418 103 697.

Laursen Habel grew up 15 kilometres from the Sheep Hills silos and her performance will include music from a variety of genres as she draws on her growing experiences from musical theatre as well as opera and major productions.

 A passion for her community and making classical music accessible to rural Victoria led to her obtaining a creativity grant from University of Melbourne. She used this grant to curate a 2019 money-raising concert for Wimmera Health Care Group in Horsham, scheduled again on November 14.

Laursen Habel returned to the family farm after graduating from Melbourne Conservatorium of Music in June, 2020.

Lapina has been a professional musical performer since 1988 and has extensively toured Australia and Asia.

Since 2006, he has been engaged with many of Australia’s leading opera houses to perform some of the most coveted tenor roles in the operatic repertoire.

He juggles his professional opera career with being performing arts director at Saltwater P-9 College in Point Cook, and is the assistant governor of Rotary International District 9800 in Australia.

The entire October 13, 2021 edition of The Weekly Advertiser is available online. READ IT HERE!