'Our children have been so switched on by this experience - not just the technical knowledge imparted but the thrill of producing music that spoke to them and touched all our hearts. Our family is on such a high after the concert and that fabulous music! The Jnr Orchestra Workshop was stunning."
The New England Conservatorium’s annual Junior Orchestra Workshop on Wednesday 29 and Thursday 30 June was another invaluable experience for 77 young musicians, NECOM staff and guest tutors. The 2-day intensive orchestral workshop culminated in a sensational concert showcasing a challenging and entertaining program of orchestral music that surprised and delighted the packed audience.
The concert finale presented the rhythmically stunning arrangement of 'Lord of the Dance', based on the original Shaker song 'Simple Gifts'. The outstanding peformance received a standing ovation and encore. As guest conductor Anne Phelan says ' Magic happens!'
NECOM's flagship workshop for Yr 3-9 students was created over 12 years ago and is growing stronger each year. The annual 2-day workshop provides invaluable performance experience to children who have been playing their orchestral instrument for 12 months or more.
For many regional students, it is the first time they have played in a full symphony orchestra and it is an unforgettable and formative experience.
NECOM Director Susanne James comments 'Most young musicians have to travel a long way (often to Sydney, Newcastle or Brisbane) to join a huge 75+ member orchestra or most have to wait until they are much older as they have to make it through competitive auditions or selections. Our workshop is open to all children who have played their instrument from 12 months and upwards so this makes it very accessible. It is a really invaluable opportunity for them to learn about orchestral playing at the outset and this is incredibly inspiring for them and their families'.
The annual Junior Orchestra Workshop provides intensive tutorials, full orchestral rehearsals under the baton of guest conductor Anne Phelan, lots of fun games and time to meet and make new friends. 6 months in the planning by Program Manager Corinne Arter, the Workshop brings together children from as far afield as Coffs Harbour to Bingara, and tutors from Armidale, Brisbane to Sydney, to play challenging music scores by sight (no preparation beforehand).
SCHOOLS represented in 2016
NSW Public Schools: Armidale High School, Armidale City Public School, Bellingen High School, Ben Venue Public School, Bingara Central School, Duval High School, Sandon Public School, Orara High School (Coffs Harbour), Tamworth Public School, Urunga Public School,
Independent Schools: Chrysalis Steiner School Bellingen, Casuarina Steiner School Coffs Harbour, NEGS, O'Connor Catholic College Armidale, PLC Armidale, St Marys Catholic Primary School Armidale, TAS, Waldorf Steiner Armidale
NECOM congratulates all the students and families for making their way to frosty and wintery Armidale and taking part in this year's outstanding Junior Orchestra Workshop.
In addition, NECOM congratulates and thanks the musical team of:
Anne Phelan, guest conductor; Joanna Fairs-Wu (NECOM Head of Strings) and NECOM staff Laura Currotta, Robert Jackson, April Kelson, Paul Marshall and Louisa Sindell-Marshall.
Guest tutors: Dave Brown, Charlotte Lowe, Eliza Scott, Jess Stocker, Cathy Wellsford and Jess Wright and Guest student mentors Izzy Emanuel, Jess Hughes and Chris Ramazani.