Memory honoured


A performing arts scholarship in memory of Oamaru girl Ruby Marris, who was killed in a car crash near Moeraki last year, has been established.
Oamaru vocal coach Vanessa Kelly-Brown, who gained national fame as one half of pop duo Deep Obsession in the late 1990s, decided to set up the Ruby Scholarship after she discussed its potential with Ruby’s family.
While the dollar value is yet to be determined, it will allow the selected student to study performing arts either nationally or internationally.
The family supported Mrs Kelly-Brown’s idea, and a concert to raise funds for the scholarship is to be held on July 17 at the Oamaru Opera House.
It will feature dance, music and live singing performances.
She said Ruby enjoyed performing in front of a crowd, and felt it was the perfect way to honour her memory.
“I thought I would do it because she was a very keen young performing artist. Her whole family have always enjoyed the arts.
“What happened with the accident … it really hit the community in a big way. When I approached Kim [Marris, Ruby’s mother], she was completely, 100% behind it.
“I think it’s something really positive and exciting. It’s a really lovely and positive thing, especially for the parents and the memory of their daughter.”Mrs Marris said she was delighted to be involved with the scholarship.
“The Marris and Cant families are thrilled to have her memory carried on through through the fund raiser. Our bright wee star loved acting, singing and music.
“It’s wonderful that Vanessa Kelly-Brown has chosen Ruby’s name and it’s a wonderful way to celebrate Ruby and her legacy.”Mrs Kelly-Brown said the pieces to be performed at the concert were about the “sea of life, family and friendships”.
Her Vocal Mechanics students will perform solo numbers, and there will also be some group performances.
Other groups to be involved include Maddy Maxwell’s A Stone’s Throw Productions and Anna Keno’s Giant Leaps speech and drama group.
Mrs Maxwell’s film students’ work will be screened, while her music theatre group will also perform, and Mrs Keno’s students will perform monologues at various times throughout the concert.
“We’re are going to intertwine it to make it a really interesting media piece,” Mrs Kelly-Brown said.
“It’s an opportunity for the locals to see what’s happening with the local talent. It’s perfect for them to get used to the big stage as well, which I think is very helpful for them.”The concert is backed by the Creative Communities Scheme. However, Mrs Kelly-Brown hoped other individuals and businesses would support the concert, either financially or through the donation of services.
A series of public workshops are also being held for people who would like to be involved.
Ruby, who attended Ardgowan School, was killed when a ute driven by an overseas driver collided with the Marris family’s station wagon on State Highway 1 on February 21, 2015. The 5-year-old died at the scene.

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