17 Message Sticks: 17 Communities

Moorambilla Voices in 2017 is packed with singing, singing and singing! Plus dance, drumming, performing, creating, teaching, celebrating, music, art, children and communities!  Here’s a taste of what we’ll all be up to.

We’re unearthing the stories of our region with “17 Message Sticks: 17 Communities”.  Throughout the year, we’ll be unfolding what it means to live in our region, focussing on 17 communities, with specially commissioned music and performance, dance and choreography, stunning photography, sculpture, exhibitions, stories, narrative journeys and more!

We are creating the first Australian-made taiko ensemble ever! And we’re donating it to the region! We’ve secured funding to build from scratch a stunning large-scale ensemble of Australian-made taiko drums for the region’s youth to play in performances that speak of the rich cultural legacy and capacity of rural Australia. Watch out for them in August!

We’re off on the annual Skills Development Tour in March, teaching, singing and dancing across the entire region over three weeks. As professional teacher development in the region has always been a large part of Moorambilla Voices, this year we’re excited to be part of the BOSTES teacher accreditation scheme through the NSW Department of Education.

We’re immersing ourselves in Gundabooka, near Bourke, in July, to discover, uncover and bring to life the stories and landscape of that region in music, dance and visual art. This immersion is facilitated by Phillip Sullivan in partnership with NSW NPWS

We’re recording! With the next generation of graduates from ANAM and our wonderful friends at AWO we are getting into the studio to record some new Australian Christmas carols in July for you!

We’re getting together in Baradine in August and then again in September to sing, sing and sing! And we will rehearse, learn, dance and build light sculptures!

We’re performing, not two, but three concerts at Dubbo Theatre this year in September 23 and 24, 2017.

We’re celebrating the region’s amazing creativity at Studio MV, a new space for a series of exhibitions, performances and creativity in Sydney. Our first event is Clive Live on March 16-18! And then we present stunning watercolours by Tracey Loughlin, Sydney, and Annie Murray, Walgett from April 13.

We are sharing our exceptional resources with researchers and educators. As a recognised publisher of online material of national interest developed from our program, we have been asked to contribute to the Pandora Archive at the National Library of Australia – forever keeping our achievements alive. WOW!

Artwork: Burnt wood emu callers, Peter Gordon, Brewarrina, 2006.
Photography: Noni Carroll.

Moorambilla Voices ring in the Christmas season

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The sound of angelic voices singing Christmas carols soared across the city as Moorambilla Voices sang in the Christmas season at the Martin Place Christmas Tree Concert! We were joined on stage by Megan Washington, Taylor Henderson, Casey Donovan and MCs Mark Ferguson and Samantha Armytage from Channel Seven. A total of 53 children travelled from all over regional NSW to take part in the City of Sydney Concert, supported by Royal Far West in Manly.

Looking for Christmas stocking fillers? Buy a Moorambilla Calendar and Baseball Cap and support our program of creative opportunities for all talented children from the far west of NSW – not matter who they are!

We wish you a safe and happy Christmas and a prosperous new year!

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Photography: Noni Carroll

AWO and Song Company in the house!

Welcome Australian World Orchestra members, as chamber ensemble in residence, who arrived into Baradine today from Stuttgart, Vienna, Berlin, Denmark, Paris, Manchester, London and Sydney! Together with the six members of the Song Company and pianist Ben Burton they lifted the roof of the Baradine Memorial Hall with Moorambilla Voices boys and girls regional choir. Straight into rehearsals of Elena Kats-Chernin’s Baime’s Ngunnhu, what incredible role models for the children to sing with! Photography Noni Carroll.

Setting up and getting ready!

Moorambilla Voices are in residence in beautiful Baradine and the sun is coming out! The program relies on a regional network of supervisors, helpers, volunteers, parents to set up, rehearse and get ready for the two massive Gala Concerts in Dubbo. Photography: Noni Carroll.

 

 

Dance is not just for girls!

Dance rehearsals for the MAXed OUT Company are intense this week in the Baradine Hall in the build up to the Moorambilla 2016 Gala Concert. All the high school students in the Company sing, dance and play taiko. From the remote central western mining town of Cobar comes Blake Toomey in year 12 and Laine Ellicott in year 9 at Cobar High School. Moorambilla regional dance intern Tainga Savage is also from Cobar. 

“Dance has the profound power to enrich and transform lives, connecting with people of all ages and backgrounds,” says Jacob Williams, Queensland Ballet’s Education Coordinator, on site at Moorambilla Voices in Baradine.

Dance is a unique language that has creative and educational benefits for children of all ages. And it makes you feel good! For young men dance develops physical coordination and strength. It has also been discovered to stimulate the release of a brain-derived protein that promotes the growth, maintenance, and plasticity of the neurons necessary for learning and memory! Add to that the promotion of wellbeing and helping to improve mood and concentration, it’s no wonder that dancing makes young men feel good!

Blake is studying music for his HSC, learning the bass guitar. Moorambilla’s MAXed OUT Company is the only chance he has to express himself with dance. “The atmosphere is amazing here,” says Blake. “It’s a place where you can just be you and enjoy the arts you like. It’s the most welcoming environment and if there is one place on earth that I get to dance, it’s here.”

“You have to work hard if you want to study in the arts out here. Because of our isolation in Cobar, I study my music classes through Distance Education in Dubbo.

“You can’t sit back. It takes three and a half hours to travel to Dubbo for my music classes, which means I also miss a whole day of school.”

Blake is planning to study education at university next year and is thinking about teaching as a career. “Moorambilla is the company that has taken me out of my shell. I’d like to give something back to this project and come back next year as a supervisor.”

Laine isn’t studying music at school, but takes dance classes at the Western Studio of Performing Arts in Cobar in hip hop, jazz and contemporary dance. “I really like the way that Tainga teaches us how to hear the music, like the beat and the rhythm. And I love making up moves when we get a chance to do some of our own choreography.

“I would say to any boys who are shy about dancing – go for it, you are not going to be judged for it. It’s fun!” says Blake.

“I would say to any boy, don’t be scared to dance,” says Laine. “It’s not just for girls!”

Photography: Noni Carroll.

Sensational Gala Concerts 2016

 

 

Moorambilla Voices performed two sensational 2016 Gala Concerts of new Australian music inspired by the landscape, heritage and traditional owners of Brewarrina and Mount Grenfell. Dubbo Regional Theatre was home to a powerful celebration of creativity, joy and new Australian music!

Led by Artistic Director Michelle Leonard, the impressive concerts involved nearly 300 children from primary and high schools all across the region. They included several world premieres of pieces commissioned for the children by established Australian composer Andrew Howes and emerging composers Josephine Gibson and William Yaxley.

The Australian World Orchestra and Song Company performed alongside the children to create moments of pure joy and inspiration. The concerts featured powerful and moving dance segments choreographed by Queensland Ballet Education Coordinator Jacob Williams, with regional dance intern Tai Savage performing a captivating solo. The high school group MAxed OUT finished with an awe-inspiring percussion piece written and performed with them by Taikoz artists.

Captured in full by photographer in residence Noni Carroll, the concert also included digital set designs by Noni and regional photographer Burra Mac. At the beginning of the concert, the stunning Elena Kats-Chernin piece Baime’s Ngunnuh, also included The Leichhardt Espresso Chorus. In Moorambilla tradition, the concert finale saw 350 on stage to sing Wide Open Sky dedicated to one of the program’s founders, Liz Markey.

Under the night sky stars, the concerts featured light sculptures of wedge-tailed eagles in the park by Lismore Lantern Parade artists Jyllie Jackson with Sara Tinning and a dramatic fire sculpture by Phil Relf that called back to the wedge-tailed eagles in paper.

Read the full program of the concert here
Listen to the concerts plus interviews by ABC Western Plains here
Check out all the talented artists, performers and designers here