Jazz city of the country

JAZZ was the focus in Mount Gambier over the weekend as the highly anticipated Generations in Jazz Festival brought a plethora of talented young musicians to the Limestone Coast region.

Held on the outskirts of Mount Gambier in OB Flat the weekend was full of activity with the school band competition, the scholarship awards and the spectacular Generations in Jazz Gala Concert, where some of the world’s most high profile jazz musicians shared the limelight with the 68 piece Adelaide Symphony Orchestra (ASO).

The sellout concert featured US jazz sensations including Wycliffe Gordon and Gordon Goodwin, Romanian born jazz pianist Marian Petrescu, New York rising star Jazzmeia Horn and a host of Australian music icons including the legendary James Morrison.

Guest vocalist and former The Voice contestant Darren Percival performed at all four concerts and said the atmosphere inside the tent was “electric” while ASO conductor Ben Northey described the experience as “unbelievable”

“It was an unforgettable night, and it was a very inspiring thing to be a part of; we’re all musicians and we all speak a common language and being able to share it with so many young people is what makes it so special,” Mr Northey said.

Still coming to grips with the influx of talent to the region and her success over the weekend is 19 year old Flora Carbo.

Winning the $10,000 James Morrison Scholarship, the talented young musician said the whole experience still feels very surreal.

“I was not expecting it at all,” she said.

“It was such a special moment when they announced it – I walked backstage and all of these famous musicians that I look up to were congratulating me – it was pretty amazing.”

Competing against six other instrumental finalists, Ms Carbo said it was an inspiring event to be involved with.

“Having that many young musicians in one space was incredible – there is so much talent out there,” she said.

Currently in her second year at the James Morrison Academy in Mount Gambier Ms Carbo said she is still deciding what she will use the prize money for.

“I am thinking of maybe recording something or buying a new instrument, but I’m not really sure yet,” she said.

A finalist for a second year in a row, Monash University music student Amelia Evans secured the second coveted award – the $5000 Vocal Scholarship.

Other special guests at this year’s event included transport magnate Lindsay Fox and his wife Paula, Jeff and Felicity Kennett, and South Australian Government Minister Kyam Maher.