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Just one day – March 2016

There are some days that are just…special. You remember them forever. They are the days that make you feel good about being alive, about people. They are the days that when they pop back into your mind, they make you smile.

19th March 2016 was one of those for me and, I suspect, for many of the people who attended the Cato’s place at Foxground that day.

It was sunny and warm, but not hot, with the lightest of breezes. The days before were anything but that – my family stayed in a tent above the natural amphitheatre that housed the second Cato Concert, and ‘robust’ is a polite way to describe the wind, and my mood, through most of the night.

But the perfect weather was not why the day was special.

Without doubt, we got to listen to an entire day of amazing (I need to say that again unless it is read over too quickly) simply AMAZING, performances.  And I would be a blatant liar if I did not say I had tears rolling down my face watching my two girls Sarah and Lily sing their songs. I would also be less than accurate if I didn’t confess to enjoying the dancing, the bountiful ‘fruits of the land’ dispensed by the perennial happy serving team at the top of the hill, and the healthy feeling of just being up and about in such a beautiful natural environment.

Yep, all that was great. But it wasn’t what made the day so special.

What made it special was how the event itself made me feel.

The world can be a dark place. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed with all that we see and read.

And then we take a day, just one, to come to a concert organised by two selfless people and supported by their selfless children and their partners. There we were, two hundred and fifty people – largely unknown to each other but somehow a collective – doing something to make other people, who most of us will never meet or see, have a better life.

I was surrounded by a whole group of selfless people.

It made me feel good about being me. I felt I was saying the right things to my two daughters; not with words, but with my actions and the actions of all the other people there.

But perhaps my girls had what this Concert is all about figured out before I even said anything. Last year my youngest daughter, then 10yo, won her school cross country race and so was elevated into the interschool event. This was a very big deal for her.  But, the race was scheduled to be on the day of the first Cato Concert in 2015. She alone had the call on what she would do. She chose to honour her commitment to Joe and Maura to sing for the Bairo Pite Clinic.

Joe and Maura are amazing people – my wife Karen and I are humbled to call them friends. Their second Cato Concert to raise funds for the Bairo Pite Clinic was simply brilliant.

Hundred’s of people coming together to do something good for goodness’ sake, and my daughters seeing this. I like the special way it made me feel. When is next year’s event?

Hopefully we have all experienced some days in our lives which seem to be blessed – March 2015

March 28, 2015 was one such time for 250 very lucky people who attended the first (but it will definitely not be the last) “Concert in the Hills” on Joe and Maura Cato’s property at Foxground on the south coast of NSW.
Joe and Maura have held two very successful fundraising dinners in Wollongong in 2012 and 2013 for Bairo Pite Clinic.
In 2014 Joe and Maura built a rammed earth home themselves, with some help, on their magnificent property on a mountain top on the south coast. The home was featured in the Australian TV Program “Grand Designs” but even that program does not do the home or the property justice.
It is perhaps the most beautiful home you could ever visit, as is the property, whose views sweep majestically over Jervis Bay and the small township of Gerringong.

Joe and Maura found, by luck, one day when the two young daughters of their close friends the Castledines started singing down the bottom of a hill on their property that they in fact were standing in a natural amphitheatre and it was right then that the idea to hold a fundraising concert in this beautiful site was born.
The song the girls sang that day was their favourite at the time-“Skinny Love”. At the concert these two youngsters took to the stage again and sang, unaccompanied, a heart rending version of Skinny Love which was possibly the highlight of the highlights of the day.
Joe and Maura’s daughter Tara was married to Donal on the property on March 21st . May we all wish them every happiness. With the Marquee from the wedding still standing and providing a base from which to serve the lunch Joe and Maura decided to hold the concert the weekend after the wedding and so it happened. How many of us would hold a concert a weekend after our daughter got married. Just goes to show what sort of generous and just do it sorts Joe and Maura are.
Joe and Maura’s family rallied around and did everything – son Brendan is a very talented chef and prepared a mouth-watering lunch with his partner Pippa and many helpers, other son, Kieran and his partner Sarah, organised the sound system and the staging and many other things on the day as that is part of their professional expertise.

Every close and distant relation and friend seemed to be helping in one significant way or another.Members of the East Timorese community in Sydney helped with the food on the day as well.

The weather was outstanding and the golden sun and the tree’s shade and our green, green concert hall provided the perfect environment to listen to 7 truly outstanding performers/groups. The quality of the sound and the brilliance of the singers and the warmth of the audience who really responded to the Story of Timor’s past and present challenges and the story of the work of the Bairo Pite Clinic made it an almost heavenly experience.
At the end, the local group – the Dynamic Lifters (gotta love that name)- finished the concert with real verve and belted out much loved covers with everyone getting up and letting fly with no inhibitions as to the quality of their dance moves but just loving the fun of it all.
The day raised over 40 thousand dollars. We all want to say thank you to the entire Cato family for a very special memory and cannot wait until next year when the goals is to go from 250 lucky people to over 500!
See you there-don’t miss it next time!