17 Message Sticks: 17 Communities

Moorambilla Voices in 2017 is about unearthing the stories of our region with “17 Message Sticks: 17 Communities”.

We’re excited to prepare for our NEW SCHEDULE for Moorambilla Skills Workshops 2017!

The workshops tour starts on Wednesday 26 April (following ANZAC Day), and finishes on Wednesday 31 May. Read all about it here!

Yes! Our Artistic Director Michelle Leonard OAM will be touring across the region, with 96 schools invited to attend a massive 47 workshops in 52 towns.

Yes! STUDENTS AND PARENTS
Come to school and come along!  All workshops are FREE and all children at the school on that day are welcome to attend. You only need to attend ONE WORKSHOP.

Yes! SCHOOLS: Download the full  NEW SCHEDULE Moorambilla Skills Workshops 2017!

Yes! TEACHERS: we’re excited to be part of the BOSTES teacher accreditation scheme through the NSW Department of Education. Check out the registration details here! You only need to attend ONE WORKSHOP!

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 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. Clive Live was sensational on March 16-18! Next we present stunning watercolours by Tracey Loughlin, Sydney, and Annie Murray, Walgett, opening 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.

Ancient markings, red dirt and night sky legends. Welcome to 2016!

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Moorambilla Voices has launched the creative inspiration driving its 2016 program with the Artistic and Cultural Immersion at historic Mount Grenfell, near Cobar, north-west NSW.

Facilitated in consultation with Ngiyampaa Indigenous and community leaders, the Immersion experience took place in April and will drive the artists’ source material.

“This incredibly beautiful landscape has an ancient history as a meeting place for the Ngiyampaa people, and is notable for its spectacular examples of ancient Ngiyampaa rock art,” explained Artistic Director Michelle Leonard. “When I first found out about it I knew that this place would form a strong foundation for our performances incorporating music, dance and visual art.”

“Combined with the rich local history and unique landscape, this year is shaping up to be quite a big one for Moorambilla Voices.”

The 2016 Program includes Sydney Tour, the Annual Residential Camps in Baradine and the Gala Concert in Dubbo and several Associated Performances and Tours.

More about the Artistic and Cultural Immersion and Mount Grenfell here…

More about the 2016 Program here…

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On a dry creek bed: The team of artists were grateful to be given this time to experience the energy of the landscape and  to appreciate the rich depth of cultural  knowledge shared by Ngiyampaa Elder, poet and powerhouse Elaine Ohlsen and elder Peter Harris, with members of the Co-management committee Rick Ohlsen, Lawrence Clarke and Philip Sullivan. Artists at the immersion this year were: Artistic Director Michelle Leonard, Composers in residence Andrew Howes, Josephine Gibson and William Yaxley, Taikoz Artist Tom Royce-Hampton, Choreographer Jacob Williams, Regional Dance Artist Tianga Savage, Lantern Artist Sara Tinning, Speaker Clive Birch, Photographer Noni Carroll and Regional Photographer Justin Welsh, supported by General Manager Dayle Murray.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Go to the bend in the river

Interweaving new Australian choral music with contemporary dance is taking composer Andrew Howes and choreographer Jacob Williams into new territory at Moorambilla residential camps in 2015.

IMG_3139 “Narran Lakes was what I call an ‘ice bath’ to my system,” says Andrew. “I jumped off the plane straight from the intensity of London and drove on the same day to the utter stillness of the lakes. It was exactly what I needed – and I didn’t know that until I got there! The stillness was the best thing. It was so dense and yet also clear.”

Andrew has just graduated in composition at the Royal College of Music in London with first class honours. He got on a plane to meet Artistic Director Michelle Leonard and fellow artists at Narran Lakes.

“At the end of the Narran Lakes journey, I hadn’t settled on any ideas but my mind was full of thoughts and fragments – mental thoughts and notes – that’s how composition works for me,” says Andrew.

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“Michelle invites us to play inside our brains. To come up with ways to generate ideas – connecting story and landscape, and how those stories connect to each other.”

“I like more of a formal structure,” says Jacob. “I want a framework at the beginning and I’m eager for the composers to commence writing and committing to ideas so I can start drawing inspiration from their work.”

“At Moorambilla the children in our rehearsals create movements through choreographic activities that I devise and then the composers draw from the movements to create music. We create the movement and music simultaneously, frequently checking in with each other and watching each other’s rehearsals so that we create a holistic piece.”

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Moorambilla composers work under the pressure of time – they have the children for only 3-4 days which generally means writing music overnight. “How do I feel about that?,” says Andrew. “Well I don’t believe in writers block!” he laughs.

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“No seriously, I tend to think that you can make music out of anything if you can see possibilities – and Michelle thinks the same way which is why I really love working with her. There are thousands of possible ways to turn a bad idea around. We find the first good idea and improvise on that. It helps that all of the other Moorambilla artists are incredibly skilled music interpreters and fast sight readers!”

“I needed to know the level of expertise in the choir, so I sent a vocal exercise to Michelle to work out the level of the MAXed OUT choir. I am pleased to say they were at the highest level of my expectation,” says Andrew.

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To create the choral piece, called Go To the Bend in the River, Andrew talked with Rhonda Ashby, Lightning Ridge Language Nest Language Consultant. “Rhonda said something that really struck me,” says Andrew. “When she told me the creation story, she said that Baime went to the bend in the river, to the black dirt, to cut off the waterway deep underground. This is the Narran River with all its billabongs, and he knew he could stop the crocodiles there.

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“I didn’t necessarily want to depict that actual story but I wanted to find something within it that I connected with. So I wrote a piece using that imagery. The piece is really about about searching and finding lost things.

“I used the Gamilaroi language that Rhonda Ashby gave me – and focused on two words in particular –yanaaya (go) and baanaga-y (run). “

The resulting piece, ‘Go to the Bend on the River’ is written for the MAXed OUT choir, with its own chamber choir, Song Company, piano and drums. Andrew will also orchestrate a string quartet, sax and shakuhachi between the August residency and the rehearsals for the September performance.

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When it became time to work with Jacob Williams to create a dance piece, Jacob was already looking at floor work.

Jacob portrait

“I wanted more work on the floor this year to showcase the developing sophistication of the teenagers,” says Jacob. “Michelle liked the floor work in rehearsals so that became significant component of the dance, and then I worked with Andrew to create movement based on migratory birds.”

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“We identified a smaller group of talented students to create their own choreographic response to the themes of bones, water, sand and birds as well as Frank Wright’s artwork. This movement was then taught to the larger group.”

“Then I manipulated this phrase, altering the movement qualities to reflect an internal rhythm – which meant it was not set to counts. As Andrew composed music for this section, I continued to play with movement, consulting with Michelle, and altering its rhythm until we were all very happy. This was exciting as neither of us had worked so closely with someone else before like this.”

“I call it supported risk taking,” says Andrew. “It’s hard to fail at that.”

“Because we were experimenting together we didn’t feel at risk – we just decided that we would keep working on it until we got it! And we did!” says Jacob.

“I cannot wait to show our audiences what we have created this year. What a remarkable 10th birthday gift!”, says Michelle.

Text and photography: Lliane Clarke

 

 

 

 

 

Moorambilla Builds Leadership in our Region’s Young People

There is no doubt that early experiences in life have a huge impact on our leadership potential as adults.

It is well documented that communication, problem solving skills, organization, flexibility and creativity build self confidence in children. Moorambilla has a nine-year track record in building children’s capacity to become leaders. Here are three examples from the MAXed OUT Company.

Annabell Park

Annabelle Park.

Dylan Crockett

Dylan Crockett.

Domanic Lugli

Domanic Lugli.

For a start, encouraging children to pursue things that interest them means they develop a passion for it, feel comfortable and are more likely to take on a leadership role in the future.

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Annabelle Park, from Coonabarabran High School, remembers the moment she left the stage at the end of her first Moorambilla Gala Concert last year, when she was in year 7. “I loved that performance so much, I remember feeling I was a different person. I realized I’d changed. The person that just performed in that concert was different to the person I had been just a few months before.”

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Annabelle says she doesn’t need formal validation of her leadership skills – she knows that she has found something that she is very good at, feels at home with and wants to excel in. It gives her the confidence to say: “I know I’m good at this. It makes me a stronger and confident person. I don’t really need a leadership position to be given to me here, I just do what I do best and excel in that.”

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Annabelle is proud to have been given a role in the concert – the company follows her lead she they fold their Japanese fans and they must look to her as she leads the bow at the end of the concert.

“Annabelle has developed so much in the two years she has been here,” says Education Consultant Margie Moore. “She knows the importance of giving her all, and the other children watch that and model it. Even though she is quite young, she has an incredible leadership ability.”

Education Consultant Margie Moore supports the students in their goals to achieve results

Education Consultant Margie Moore supports the students in their goals to achieve results both on the ground and behind the scenes.

Dyllan Crocket is the school captain of Binnaway Central School. A boy with self proclaimed shyness, who says he doesn’t like being in charge, at Moorambilla Dyllan will take initiative, take ownership of a situation and do his best to improve it – cleaning up, helping to organize meals, spotting when jobs need doing, responding whenever asked to by the Moorambilla Mum Dianne Holz.

Dylan Crockett with Moorambilla Mum Dianne Holz

Dylan Crockett with Moorambilla Mum Dianne Holz. Di comes from the region, understands the children’s environment and supports the children through the program.

Moorambilla Mum Dianne Holz from Lightning Ridge talks through potential problems with the children before their final rehearsals

Moorambilla Mum Dianne Holz from Lightning Ridge talks through potential problems with the children before their final rehearsals

“Moorambilla helps me to concentrate and keep on top of my shyness and nervousness,” says Dyllan. “Once in English the teacher asked me to read out the textbook and I had a panic attack. That has never happened at Moorambilla. What I learn here about focus has helped me in some ways to stay like that.”

When I first started in year 7 I was picked out as one of four to play the taiko – I was given an important job. I was nervous about that but then I realised that it’s no longer about me – it’s about the entire piece of music.

“Michelle told me to just go with it – make it look good. And that has really helped me. It stops me thinking about anxiety.”

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Michelle Leonard rehearses professional musicians in preparation for the Gala Concert, at which the children will perform. A high calibre of performance shows to the children the cultural experience of excellence.

Dylan Crockett in rehearsal

Dylan Crockett in rehearsal.

“The other advantage of this program is that I’m not with these kids in the playground at school in Binnaway. There are only 50 people in our high school – so it’s a small playground. As I don’t really see the Moorambilla kids as often it gives me a sort of freedom to be whoever I am.

“You have to know how to pay attention here. Ability to see the bigger picture really helps. When you are putting a concert together, you learn bits and pieces of different dances and then it all comes together. When we get to the gala concert we need to see the bigger picture. And respect. That’s very important.

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Domanic Lugli in rehearsal. As a long-standing member of the program, Domanic willingly takes responsibility for the participation of other members.

Domanic Lugli, from Coonabarabran High School, has grown up in Moorambilla, from a young timid and shy seven year old boy starting out in Moorambilla Voices, Dom has developed incredible focus on and off stage. Domanic is always demonstrating to the other students who are new into the project what is expected of their behavior, in rehearsal and on stage and behind the scenes at camp.

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“Moorambilla has made me push myself towards changing,” says Dom. “It’s made me more responsible for things, so I stop the other kids from talking, stuff like that, you know, to focus. Everyone in MAXed OUT helps everyone else because you need to have confidence to get up on stage and practice – you need persistence and you need to stick with it, not get angry and keep going.”

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Domanic excels in his commitment to percussion, dance and music

The skills, experiences and teaching style at Moorambilla has turned many shy and unsure teenagers into leaders and achievers. They learn the ability to understand and deal with others, crucial for children from remote and regional areas. Their need for achievement, confidence and assertiveness are not only encouraged but nurtured in the rehearsals and performances.

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The Gala Concert brings all the elements together in performance, but Moorambilla is about so much more than one night.

Annabelle Park in performance.

Annabelle Park in performance.

Annabelle Park in performance

Annabelle Park in performance

Text and photography: Lliane Clarke

MAXed OUT Performs at National Male Voice Festival in Brisbane

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Pemulwuy finale 2014

MAXed OUT Company on stage at Pemulway!

While Moorambilla Voices children count the days until the August 2014 residential camps in Baradine, Moorambilla Founder and Artistic Director Michelle Leonard and 10 young men from MAXed OUT Company travelled to Brisbane in July to perform in the Pemulwuy! National Male Voice Festival.

The National Male Voice Festival is a huge weekend of talks, rehearsals and performances with leading choral organisations, conductors, composers, artists and singers from around Australia. It’s all about choral music and education, new repertoire and performance, and sharing and exchanging professional experiences.

Michelle was invited to be a Guest Conductor at the festival by Julie Christiansen, the Artistic Director and Founder of Birralee Voices, to work especially with the treble choir.

This was a weekend of firsts for MAXed OUT – it was the first time that the young men had taken part in a choral festival outside of the Moorambilla Festival and the first time many of the young men had travelled outside of their north-west NSW region.

CHECK OUT THIS LATEST SHORT FILM ABOUT MAXED OUT
https://vimeo.com/100070589

“This Festival is very like Moorambilla, in that it brings young people together to rehearse, learn new music and perform,” says Michelle. “The weekend highlighted to me some of the challenges that we deal with so successfully at Moorambilla. The major difference is that at Moorambilla the children participating have little regular access to music education, they don’t sing together in class every week, and many of them don’t know each other when they arrive in the residential camps. Our kids come from up to 70 schools across the region, from 42 towns.”

“The festival had such a great vibe about it,” says Julie Christiansen. “It was a mixture of guys who just love to sing for fun and those who are studying voice or singing regularly in community and school choirs. In a couple of instances there were families with three generations of men/ boys, which also added a fabulous multigenerational element.”

“The importance of the festival is simply to set communities alight with the joy of singing and to reinforce that it is completely acceptable for guys to sing. It is also a vehicle to feed into the artistic pool of new works, encouraging creativity and storytelling and providing an arena for conductors, composers and arts workers.

“Organising the event is always a challenge when resources are limited,” adds Julie. “But we had a strong volunteer team and some fabulous assistance for the three-month lead time.”

“It was fabulous to give the young men from MAXed OUT Company an opportunity to be involved and we hope that the experience will equip them for their next performance at Moorambilla Festival.”

What was the reason for taking MAXed OUT Company instead of Moorambilla Voices? Moorambilla Voices was invited to participate in the Festival, alongside the many other choirs. But as Michelle was working with the treble voices choir in Brisbane, she wanted to give the older boys a different experience of working with other conductors. So the MAXed OUT members worked with Jakub Martinec, an international conductor from Europe and the USA who was the founding artistic director of the Czech Boys Choir and a PhD candidate University of Western Ontario. They also worked with Australian composer and educator Paul Jarman who wrote the Festival piece – Pemulway.

How did you choose which young men could get this amazing opportunity? “I wanted to bring ten young men who could represent all the communities that Moorambilla works with,” says Michelle. “With the exception of Ivan Adams from Coonamble, all of them had participated in the Moorambilla program since they had been in primary school.”

“I tried to pick candidates who would benefit in the long-term. I knew that coming to Brisbane would really boost their experience and confidence so I had to choose those who were keen and who had the right personality take positive risks in a challenging environment. Also, it’s important that they will come back to Moorambilla this year and work with the younger or less experienced singers. They will be able to be in leadership roles.”

“It  was a very different social situation for the MAXed OUT young men. They met and rehearsed with other boys from very different social situations. For example, most of the other boys were from leading private schools in both Queensland and NSW, including the prestigious Knox school. Our boys are all from public state schools.”

“Despite all of these differences, our young men rehearsed and performed brilliantly. This was a direct result of their active participation in the Moorambilla program – they knew how to behave and what to do because we have shown them how to do it.”

Who went to Brisbane? The chosen candidates who accepted the challenge were Riley Fernando, Ivan Adams and Justin Welsh from Coonamble, Jack Ayoub, Dylan and Dom Lugli from Coonabarabran, Nathan Byron from Guerie, Reece Buckton and brother Scott Edwards from Baradine and Hayden Priest from Gilgandra. Shane Rose from Bourke was selected, but in the end unfortunately couldn’t make it.

They were supported by QPAC, and Moorambilla scholarships provided the gap to ensure that they could particularly fully. Justin Welsh travelled with the boys as their youth mentor, assisted by Jack Ayoub and Nathan Byron.

“I’ve always thought that music brings people together but seeing all the people in the choirs from different towns, and some from different states, it was just amazing that people would travel that far for just a few days to sing together,” says Justin. “It was an awesome experience. Good music can bring a couple of people together, but great music can bring hundreds together! It was a great opportunity and I really appreciate being able to join the fun!”

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Before and after: Jack Ayoub enjoys some quiet time before the other MAXed OUT young men interupt him!

Before and after: Jack Ayoub enjoys some quiet time before the other MAXed OUT young men interupt him!

What were some of the advantages of going to Brisbane? While Michelle was busy rehearsing the treble choirs at the festival, the MAXed OUT members were looked after on the trip by Moorambilla education advisor Beth Stanley.

“Half of the young men had never been on a plane before, so it was a real eye opener and a special experience for them,” says Beth. “They had to cope with a whole new situation – going through security, getting to their accommodation, dealing with hotels and rehearsal schedules – I certainly think it gave them real confidence that they can function successfully outside of their own communities.”

“They were very excited – all of them were very keen to be picked and all saw it as an opportunity.”

“They responded to the different music that they are downloading onto their iphones! They really liked the Pemulway massed choir song they were given, written by Paul Jarman. They also did some busking on the river when we were on our break – they found a ukulele player and sang some Beatles songs with him! They sounded fantastic!”

“They didn’t stop singing all weekend – they helped each other to learn the new and challenging music that they were given at night in the hotel, and sang whenever we were travelling around Brisbane.”

“How blessed I was to be the one in charge of those magnificent and interesting boys!” says Beth. “Yes there were challenges, but they were such a wonderful group of boys – they taught me a lot and we taught each other a lot.”

What was Michelle doing at the National Male Voice Festival? While the MAXed OUT boys were learning and rehearsing, Michelle was “handed an instrument” of 180 primary aged boys who hadn’t sung together before, although all of them did sing in weekly choirs together.

“I love working with that energy!,” says Michelle. “The boys had an extraordinary sound and concentration. Having done Moorambilla for so long it was great to know how to channel that energy to achieve a great performance outcome.”

Michelle worked with the festival piece by Paul Jarman called Pemulway, a piece that Moorambilla commissioned by Alice Chance called Bonfire Season, a character piece called Captain’s Tale which uses unison and semi chorus and a commissioned work by Andrew Batt-Rowden, commissioned by Birralee Voices.

“Andrew and Alice will also be working with Moorambilla Voices this year, so it was a great chance for me to see how their music would work together,” explains Michelle. “It was also great to hear William Brown’s stunning work called Bellbirds for treble choir, which featured the choir in three parts and a stunning soundscape.”

“Supporting choral music is part of what I do, and who I am as an artist and musician. I am always keen to support events that are developing our unique Australian choral repertoire through recording and workshops . To do that with men and boys of all ages makes this festival a real joy.”

“I was incredibly proud to see our Maxed OUT boys on stage performing in the Festival piece. They were not phased at all by the massive audience of 1,500 people. Performance is a skill that you have to learn how to do, and they boys all showed how their years at Moorambilla have really paid off.”

“We all enjoyed working with Birralee Voices, and the wonderful facilities of QPAC and Brisbane Grammar. We would certainly be honoured to be a part of the National Male Voices Festival again!”

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Coonabarabran Calling

On the road the Warren - it's a wide open sky!

On the road the Warren – it’s a wide open sky!

 From the Artistic Director Michelle Leonard: “We’re on the last few days of the 2014 Skills Workshop Tour for Moorambilla Voices! We’ve been particularly focusing on our potential MAXed OUT students and there are lots of them! I’m so inspired by the energy of the kids here, many of whom just relish the chance to show me what they can do!

“We are on the last workshops now in Coonabarabran. Creativity is such a positive force in every young person’s life and its such a powerful thing especially for teenagers, who are often struggling with identity, issues at home and where they see themselves in the bigger picture. Our workshops offer them a chance to step aside and take a look at life from another angle – one that is intensely supportive, involves their peers who are all on the ‘same page’ and one that underpins their own sense of self.

St Ignatious Bourke

 

St Ig Bourke

 

“What have we been doing at the workshops? We do a lot! In fact we’ve been beat boxing and rapping – I know! I picked up some of the words from a favourite book of my own children – We’re Going on a Bear Hunt, and we’ve been using the rhythmic structure to create music – you know the one that says “we can’t go over it, we can’t go under it, we got to go through it!” Our Moorambilla Mum Annie Berrell and I were laughing when we hit massive mud  on the way to her property Midgery in Walgett – we had to go through it!

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Michelle Leonard and Justin Welsh at Bourke-Walgett School of Distance Education

 

“We also do call and response activities, simple part singing, body percussion and an introduction to notation and writing music. The kids are lapping it all up, and are fascinated by the language of music and the pillars that they can learn to write music for themselves. All the kids that we have seen on this tour learn to use their hands to remember how many lines and space are on the stave. It’s easy for them to remember the #SolFa hand signs and many of them have remembered this from last year!

http://australian-music-ed.info/Curwen/HistO%27view.html
http://trove.nla.gov.au/result?q=subject%3A%22Tonic+sol-fa.%22

Outstanding Year 5 boys at St Mary’s Warren.

St Mary's in Warren

This year’s tour has been incredibly successful and I am busting to get back to the Moorambilla office and work out ways to ensure that as many children as possible are offered a place in Moorambilla this year. While we have been away, our supporters at the Hidden Gardens Festival donated funds to our MAXed OUT students this year. Thank you!

http://www.hiddendesignfestival.com

Arriving in Nyngan after four hours on the raod - ready for another workshop!

Arriving in Nyngan after four hours on the road – ready for another workshop!

Look out for the ABC documentary screening on television in May or June made by Heiress Films about Moorambilla Voices, called Outback Choir. We’re really excited to have a chance to talk nationally about the incredible talent in this region that I love.

On we go to organising our August residential camps and tours where we can all get together again. For more information go to the website: http://www.moorambilla.com/2014-dates/

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Our Gala Concert stage in 2013 in Coonamble.

 

 

 

Lightning Ridge welcomes Moorambilla Voices

There’s no rest for the Moorambilla team! From Dubbo, the Moorambilla Workshop Skills tour, with Moorambilla Mum Annie Berrell at the wheel, drove on to Gilgandra, Coonamble, Gulargambone, Quanbone, Baradine, Pilliga and spent a few nights in Lightning Ridge.

Michelle is listening to every child available to see if they have the musical or creative capacity to attend this year’s Moorambilla program. All schools are included – Primary, Catholic, High School and community education groups.

Over the next week and a half, the Workshop Skills Tour will have covered over 70 schools in 42 towns: Baradine, Bugaldie, Binnaway, Bourke Distance Education, Bourke, Brewarrina, Carnavon, Cassillis, Cobar, Collarenebri, Combara, Coolah, Coonabarabran, Coonamble, Dubbo, Dunedoo, Engonnia, Gilgandra, Girilambone, Goodooga, Gulargambone, Gwabegar, Leadville, Lightning Ridge, Mendooran, Narromine, Neilrex, Nevertire, Nymagee, Nyngan, Pambula, Quambone, Quirindi, Stanmore, Trangie, Walgett, Warren.

From Artistic Director Michelle Leonard:

“It’s wonderful to connect again with everybody here and catch up with all their news. I always wish I had more time! But we have over 70 schools to see in such a short time so we can’t stay long!

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Moorambilla Mum Annie Berrell records a workshop

“Justin Welsh is travelling with us this year which is such a bonus for the team. His ability to connect with the kids, Indigenous and non-Indigenous, is astounding – he has such a talent for youth work. I’m incredible excited that he can use some of this time here as part of his TAFE course in Sydney, to help him achieve his dream of working with young people.

“Justin is also doing beat boxing in workshops when we don’t have a piano and we are using some of the kids melodies and rhythms for ideas immediately to compose new works!

“At Lightning Ridge, we connected up with our fabulous Moorambilla mum Dianne Holz, who welcomed us warmly to the community. We are changing the pattern of performances this year at Moorambilla, and extending the opportunity into the region. From a Gala Performance in Coonamble, we are planning to perform in another major centre, possibly Lightning Ridge. And where else would projections and sound look better than this open cut mine. We tested the acoustics and they are perfect! In the early evening the colours are stunning and the light – well you couldn’t make that up if you tried!

 

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Moorambilla Youth Mentor Justin Welsh at the open cut mine site visit.

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Moorambilla Mum Dianne Holz checks out the open cut mine in the Ridge.

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What do you think? Artistic Director Michelle Leonard and Moorambilla Mum Annie Berrell check out the open cut mine site.

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“It’s still a work in progress, but we all got pretty excited about it! On we go now to Goodooga, Walgett and Brewarrina, heading for Bourke and Cobar. If Sebastian could talk he would say ‘Are we there yet’ and I would say “no honey, we are not!

“The landscape we a travelling through after the rain looks ready to spring into new growth  – all it needs is another couple of days of sunshine. The regeneration is incredible…and the colours of the enormous sky against the red landscape with silhouetted gums and saltbush is stunning.

“Seems I am still a kangaroo magnet! But at last now they tend to sit calmly on the side of the road watching us as we drive past. Phew!!! Let’s see what they are like on the road to Goodooga!’

Follow Justin Welsh on tour on Facebook – use the tag #MoorambillaTour2014 and you will find him!  Check out all the information for 2014 on the Moorambilla website: www.moorambilla.com and the Moorambilla Voices Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/pages/Moorambilla-Voices/113546078665694.