Glen music star aims to "give back" in RFS benefit concert

Jennifer Mackenzie will study music, dance and drama at Australia's top performing arts finishing school the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts this year. She leaves on February 3.

Jennifer Mackenzie will study music, dance and drama at Australia's top performing arts finishing school the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts this year. She leaves on February 3.

Glen Innes stepped up to help Jennifer Mackenzie when she needed financial help to achieve her dreams.

Now the singing, dancing local talent is giving back, aiming to raise $10,000 to help the local RFS in a benefit concert.

"It was one of the catalysts really,

"Back then all the proceeds went to me for me to go to the tour, but this time I want to give back to the community and show my gratitude.

"I thought that this would be the perfect way."

In 2016 Jennifer needed thousands of dollars to join the choir the West of the Divide on tour to Europe. At a benefit concert, residents of Glen Innes raised over $6000 to help out.

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The catch is: she's leaving town to pursue her musical dreams just next month.

"What I find amazing is that this idea just popped in my head literally a week and a day ago," she said.

"We knew there was not a lot of time for us to organise it, so we jumped on it immediately."

Since 2016 she has continued her music education, winning places in the prestigious Talent Development Project, the State Dance Festival, as a featured vocalist for CAPERS, a regional school spectacular, and more. She won a place to study music, drama and dance at Australia's top performing arts finishing school the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts this year. She leaves on February 3.

But she's going out on a song, aiming to raise an intimidating $10,000 for charity first.

"It feels very heartwarming knowing that even though I may or may not reach the ambitious amount I may have, at least knowing I've done something (to help the RFS)," she said.

"And I wasn't just sitting down and wondering what I could do when I could use my assets to be able to contribute to the community."

Jennifer Mackenzie.

Jennifer Mackenzie.

The concert, set for January 28, will feature local acts the Abbeys, the Glen Innes High School dancers and the cast of Mamma Mia in concert at the Chapel Theatre.

Many of the performers have either lost homes in the bushfires directly or have fought them as part of the RFS.

"There's too many to count, whether it's closely related or distantly related.

"As a community we all feel for each other, we all have sympathy and empathy for each other.

"I think that's the best thing about living in a small town, we all genuinely care for what's happening in the community."

Dance teacher Lindy Alt is part of a committee helping to organise the event. She was full of praise for the cast of Mamma Mia, a production by the Glen Innes Arts Council which closed late last year, saying it'd be a major draw for the benefit event.

"The voices in that production were just phenomenal," she said.

"It was probably one of the best productions I've ever heard in my thirty-five odd years of doing this stuff."