Musical to raise funds for cancer

AN EX-FRASER Island ranger has launched a musical featuring the island, which is now a national fundraising venture for cancer research.

In August 2007, Dee Handyside was employed with the Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service on the island and was thoroughly enjoying her “job of a lifetime”.

However, a diagnosis of breast cancer meant a move back to the mainland and an end to her dream.

Not only had Dee's mother lost her life to the disease but within a month of Dee being diagnosed, her sister and cousin, both in England, had also received the same news.

Dee went through surgery and aggressive treatments in Australia while on the other side of the world her sister and cousin endured the same.

A hobby songwriter and musician for many years, Dee was unable to work or gig with her band due to her illness.

For Dee chemotherapy sessions became composing opportunities and gradually she transposed her feelings and experiences into songs to represent and appeal to people of all ages.

Her band became guest artists, as well as a group of 15 friends and family who appear on the final track.

The result is an eclectic mix of orchestral rock, pop, jazz, swing, motown, country and electronic dance.

Recorded, produced and mixed by Dee in her spare bedroom over a six-month period, the album formed the basis of a mini-musical and was scheduled for release in July 2008.

However this was delayed due to further surgeries which left Dee partially deaf and spending five months in hospital.

It was during this time her music partner Steve Hills came to the rescue.

While visiting Dee in hospital, Steve encouraged her to write and collaborate with him on a further album of 12 songs entitled Now Hear This. The two albums combine to become a musical, which involves a music venue The Peachey Club, its managers, staff and customers.

Cancer is only one part of the drama, as the characters leave business deals on the tables, relationships on the floor, and music on the stage.

“Music gave me focus and a chance to give something back. To receive genuine feedback from strangers across the world via my website has been humbling,” Dee said.

Following on from positive feedback by listeners, 10 per cent of profits from Genetic album sales will go to The Australian Cancer Research Foundation.

Their official logo is proudly displayed on the album.

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