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Grooming audiences

Date

I was somewhat puzzled by the article ''Plea for cultural awareness'' (June 4, p3) complaining that our politicians do not set a bright example as far as concert-going is concerned. It is not politicians who will fill opera houses and concert halls. To do that requires grooming of new audiences. Conductor Nicholas Milton has just returned from conducting a season of La Traviata in Europe. Did he learn anything there?

Orchestras/operas in some of these countries are grooming their future audiences by organising with schools free concerts with some interesting explanations of what is going on during a performance, about the various composers and instruments (lots of fun involved). Education, not politics, is the key. Politics will come into the equation later.

Canberra opera/concert seasons used to be sell-out business. The seats were filled up mostly by Europe-educated (in music in general), music-hungry people. However, as that generation passed slowly away, nobody is being groomed to take their place. Shall we try again?

Erwin Wegner, Giralang

Vegie validation

At last the Medical Journal of Australia (June 2012) has validated vegetarianism and, to a large extent, veganism. As a vegetarian for 30-plus years, I think I have seen and heard it all in matters vegetarian. Thirty years ago a vegetarian in Canberra was required to give a restaurant one to two weeks' notice and even then we were put in the same category as those with a disability.

Thankfully, vegetarian culinary options are now widely available. Commercial vegan options are still lagging behind but, hopefully, with formal recognition that meat-based protein is not essential in our diet, more options will become available.

While it still seems to be taboo for people to announce they are giving up meat for animal-ethical reasons, it won't really matter. Giving up meat for any reason is a far better outcome for production animals.

Judy Matusiewicz, Chifley

St Mary's in exile

I may be in a fool's paradise but I was still taken aback by the breadth and depth of Ross Fitzgerald's article (''Exiled church still thriving'', June 4, p13). As just one example, the Queen's authority to reign has come down through many generations, including if I may say so, those of Fitzgerald. So what is the problem about the Pope's authority having been passed down since Jesus and Peter? For several thousand years people have been throwing the equivalent of tennis balls at the tank of the Catholic Church. But it is a Centurion! Which reminds me that some pagans have more faith than Christians. The Roman Centurion showed remarkable faith and humility in asking Jesus to cure his servant, adding that he felt unworthy to have Christ under his roof. As I recall, Christ commented he had not found such faith in all Israel! I wish all the best to those in the community of St Mary's in exile and look forward to unity.

Colliss Parrett, Barton

Support Raiders

The Canberra Raiders should be monitoring the performance of Canberra Milk and deciding whether they really want to be associated with them (''Sour Milk: rattled Raiders get sponsor's attention'', June 5, p1). I'm sure they're not telling Garry Sykes how to sell milk and he shouldn't be telling them how to play rugby league.

Dominic Stinziani, Higgins

Let's stop crying over spilt milk and put things in perspective. It's round 14 of 26 rounds in the NRL. There are two other teams on the ladder, the Panthers and the Knights, which have played 12 games and won four, like the Raiders. Not to mention the Eels, who sit below us at the bottom of the ladder. So give the boys the chance to play some football, before we declare their whole season has gone sour.

Gordon Edwards, Page

When we think of ways Queanbeyan negatively affects Canberra, we usually think of sewage spills or its regionally pioneering the carpeting of walls in its Leagues Club. But by far their most important dud gift is the apparently unbreakable Furner-McIntyre grip on the Canberra Raiders.

Today we were shown (''Raiders reach the crossroads'', June 5, p18) that the only coach with a worse winning percentage than David is dad, Don. You remember Furner-the-elder. He was the one who made Wayne Bennett carry his bag and cut oranges, so he could learn from the master. And now the person speaking out, strongly defending ongoing provincial sub-mediocrity, is current Raiders chairman, John McIntyre. Les McIntyre would be so proud. Perhaps instead of changing coach, just change the Raiders' name to the ''McFurners''?

Adrian Dunlop, Campbell

Love of Canberra

I have for some time thought I might, because of my deep love of Canberra, join the Walter Burley Griffin Society. I have, however, only recently turned 60 and from some of my observations of the society, I have been concerned I may be a tad too young to join. Reading '' Who cares about Canberra'' (June 5, p9), by society president James Weirick, I now realise that the greater barrier to my membership, if Weirick's diatribe reflects the society's views, is that unlike it I actually like Canberra.

Jon Stanhope, Bruce

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