Forbes was treated to a spectacular performance on Saturday, with three Opera Australia stars in Forbes for a fundraiser concert.
Dominica Matthews, Diego Torre and Kathleen Moore gave their time to travel to Forbes and perform a program included classic and contemporary opera as well as musical theatre pieces.
As well as individual performances, the tenor, mezzo soprano and soprano combined for a stunning performance of “You’ll never walk alone” in finale.
They were accompanied by local pianist Barbara Bruce OAM.
Organiser Adrian Matthews, brother of Dominica and friend of the Garland family, said the afternoon was wonderful, raising an estimated $15,000 for the Garland family, to be used however needed.
The family’s lives were upturned mid-2016 when three-year-old Ava was diagnosed with leukaemia.
Without time to even go home and pack, Ava and mum Kath were off to Westmead to start treatment.
In a message of thanks, the Garland family said they would never be able to fully express how grateful they were “for the extraordinary and amazing support we have had since Ava was diagnosed last year”.
“For those long and hard nine months our family was separated and Ava and I were in Sydney, our phones didn’t stop with messages of kindness, offers of help and comfort from all over,” Mrs Garland said.
“I’m not sure we will ever be able to thank everyone enough for the thoughtfulness and generosity our family has experienced – it is extremely humbling and positively overwhelming.
“The old joke you need to have a generation or two in the cemetery at Forbes to make you a local is simply not true.
“This amazing town has embraced our family, when we absolutely needed it the most, and has helped us survive this far better than we would have on our own.
“Our children have witnessed all of this and it has made them start planning how they can give back and that just makes our hearts burst with pride.”
The family is forever grateful to dear friends Kylie and Adrian Matthews and Jane Francis who brought Opera 4 Ava together.
“Who would have imagined an opera?” Mrs Garland said.
“It was an amazing and perfect day and we thank you from the bottom of our hearts.
“There are so many people to thank through this and saying thank you again and again does not feel enough.
“We are so incredibly grateful to everyone who has helped bring back the positive in our lives.
“Please know you are the reason our family has been able to get through this far and will continue to until Ava has finished her treatment and is all clear in June 2018.
“From the first week of Ava’s diagnosis, Red Bend Catholic College and St Laurence’s have been incredibly generous and supportive. On Saturday, Red Bend superbly showcased its exceptional organisational, culinary and service skills and were heartily praised by all.
“The Four Strings quartet also volunteered their services and added a beautiful musical interlude to a perfect day of stars and talent.
“Dominica, Diego and Kathleen are just extraordinary individuals who have given up their time and generously shared their craft with us all for more than 200 people who attended. I think they have instantly fostered a love of opera in our town.”
To us Saturday showed how this is a story about how our whole town has rallied behind us to to help get our little girl better.
In the whirlwind that Ava's diagnosis was when you hear those words child and cancer it absolutely crushes you. Personally I felt like it knocked the wind out of me and a massive weight came down on my chest. as soon as the news got out, people began doing and offering the most thoughtful things. For those long and hard nine months our family was separated and Ava and I were in Sydney, our phones didn't stop with messages of kindness, offers of help and comfort from all over. Every single message, visit, parcel and email helped lessen that weight and worry. From very early on we had shed just as many tears of appreciation as we had tears of devastation at Ava being so sick.