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Love is in the Ayr: The night an Aussie icon gatecrashed tiny NQ school's musical

Culture

A tiny school in North Queensland received the ultimate climax to their performance of Strictly Ballroom – when pop music legend John Paul Young secretly arrived to sing the final scene.

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Teachers at Burdekin Christian College in Ayr had secretly organised for the singer to make the lengthy journey from his NSW home to the tropical north – suddenly appearing on stage to sing his hit Love Is In The Air during the final scene of the school’s musical performance, to the shock and awe of students and audience members.

School principal, Debra Creed, told the ABC that the event had been months in the making, with the New South Wales floods throwing his appearance into doubt.

“He actually got up at 3:00am to drive to Sydney Airport because of flooding in Newcastle just to make it here,” Ms Creed told the ABC.

Young managed to book a last-minute flight from Newcastle in order to make the journey.

The production of Strictly Ballroom was the first full-length production performed by Burdekin Christian College and had been in the works since mid-2020.

It was an adaptation of Baz Lurhmann’s famous film Strictly Ballroom, a love story which follows a young man who defies the conventions of ballroom dancing to forge his own path and win the woman of his dreams.

Young told the ABC that he was thrilled to be a part of the production.

“It was great, it felt really good,” he said.

“They asked me if I could come along and do this and I was quite happy to.”

Young said that this performance marked a return to the stage for him after the turbulent past year.

“I’ve been in sort of solitary confinement for the last 12 months. I’ve only really worked once in the last year so it was great to get out of the house,” he told the ABC.

He also parted with some wisdom for the students involved in the production.

“It’s just a great place to learn and I’m sure they’ve all learnt something,” he said.

“The theatre is a wonderful place to start rather than being in a rock band. There is a lot of discipline here.”

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