FOR some people, five years in a community might only be a short time.
But it can leave a long-lasting impression.
Kavisha Mazzella will depart her country lifestyle in Castlemaine for her home city of Perth after five years in the central Victorian town.
She leaves to spend time with her father who was in hospital earlier this year following a heart attack.
"When he had his heart attack in April, I felt I had to go home. He is going okay. I just want to be with him while he still doing things," she said. "Mum died last year and I am aware if you don't spend time with your elders, you can't hear their stories, be a part of family histories and memories.
"I moved over to Melbourne in 1993, 26 years ago. But I have gone back to Western Australia a lot.
"It's sad, it's happy. It's a mixed thing (to be leaving). I'm happy to go back home but I have made a lot of friends here."
The impact of the Castlemaine community will not be lost on Mazzella who, in turn, has become an important and influential figure in the town.
"Living in Castlemaine has been an amazing learning experience," she said. "There's so many amazing people who have a lot of knowledge and have made Castlemaine their home.
"You never know who you're walking past. So it is lovely to access that conversation that you might not have in the city. I have really loved that."
Mazzaella's decision to move to Castlemaine came down to wanting to experience life in a different way.
She moved for the country lifestyle but stayed for the country community.
"I had never really lived in the countryside, I was always a city person," Mazzella said. "But I wanted to experience going to live in a place like Castlemaine. I had friends who had moved up here and it felt like a positive community.
"I didn't really have an expectation (of the town), I had just heard that people were very positive and I wanted to experience a relationship with the countryside.
"You can't do that in the city - feel nature or that sense of space. Coming to Castlemaine gave me a chance to learn how articulate language is about that."
Jan Wositzky has been a friend of Mazzella's since she arrived.
He has performed alongside her and when hearing of her plans to depart Castlemaine organised a farewell concert at the Theatre Royal on Saturday night.
"She's a friend of mine to start with, but I consider her a really great artist," Wositzky said. "She gives so much of her time and her heart wherever she goes.
"(Kavisha) has now spent five years in Castlemaine and contributed greatly to musical culture of the town but, also within her music, which has a lot about human rights, justice and fairness, with a good spiritual mix in there too.
"I felt it really appropriate that she do a major concert before she left so people could honour her. The Theatre Royal is the music venue in Castlemaine and it's appropriate to her standing."
Mazzella said she was initially embarrassed at the prospect of a farewell concert but admitted it would be a fun evening.
"Of course the night will go on for a while," she said.
"When Jan said 'I'm organising a farewell concert', I was a bit embarrassed. I kind of felt a bit overwhelmed and just wanted to go off quietly like everybody else.
"But I feel very touched. People have come up to me in street and said 'sorry you're leaving'. I wasn't thinking about what I was doing in the community but I have been aware how good it is for my soul.
"So I feel grateful to the Castlemaine community. The people have been very kind."
Wositzky said Mazzella's musical influence isn't often found in regional communities.
She won the ARIA for Best World Music Album in 1998 and received an Order of Australia in 2011 for services to singing and songwriting, and reflecting the experiences of refugees, Indigenous and multicultural communities.
Living in Castlemaine has been an amazing learning experience. There's so many amazing people who have a lot of knowedge and have made Castlemaine their home...I have made a lot of friends here.- Kavisha Mazzella
"Musically, she has brought something different to Castlemaine," Wositzky said. "She is a performer who has directed her work towards social justice and multiculturalism."
"Her musical influences aren't normally found in this place, or Bendigo for that matter.
"She's a performer that carries with her a huge heart and gives to audiences wherever she goes."
Mazzella said that connection to either a community or an audience was important to her.
"I love the professional side of music and working on a fantastic stage with big crowds," she said. "It's beautiful but you feel empty if you don't share it.
"It can kind of be empty if you're just getting adoration. Like, it's not meaningful unless you can use your skill to bring people together.
"Healing a community is more meaningful for me. It's exciting to get on stage but after a while its empty unless you're sharing it with people that matter."
Suffice to say there will be no shortage of musicians and friends sharing the stage with Mazzella at the Theatre Royal on Saturday night.
The theme of sharing and connecting with people is something that was immediately evident in Castlemaine for Mazzella.
"When you're stranger and you come in from outside the community (it's hard). A community lunch linked me in and I can't imagine that happening in Melbourne," she said.
"It was a fantastic way to meet people. There's a passion for bringing the community together here (in Castlemaine). It makes life feel safer and more upbeat."
Her connection to the country community saw Mazzella take on new challenges.
"I had my first art exhibition 30 years after I finished art school," she said. "Because I got enough confidence boosted by the great support of fellow artists here, I would have felt too scared in Melbourne.
"Also, I got to learn about radio and had my own radio show after I was mentored by Pete Dawson and welcomed to Maine FM where I did Planetary Wanderer for a few years. It was kind of a dream come true.
"So I just feel very grateful for my time in Castlemaine and that I lived in a positive environment. I was blessed and fortunate to have had the experience."
Kavisha Mazzella's farewell concert is at the Theatre Royal in Castlemaine on Saturday, November 30.
She will be joined by will musical friends Jack Norton, Matthew Arnold, Fay White and Nic Lyon. Jan Wositzky will host the night. Tickets are $37.50.
For more information on Kavisha Mazzella's farewell concert or to book tickets visit www.theatreroyalcastlemaine.oztix.com.au
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