Music students band together

COMBINED BAND: The Mount Gambier Combined Schools Band practices for the first time together.
COMBINED BAND: The Mount Gambier Combined Schools Band practices for the first time together.

TALENTED young musicians from two of the city’s schools will have more opportunities to showcase their musical abilities after joining together to create one big group – the Mount Gambier Combined Schools Band.

North Gambier Primary School and Mount Gambier High School – both of which have active and successful music programs – this year decided to combine their concert band and jazz ensemble and members recently undertook their first ever practice.

Working tirelessly over the past three months to organise the band, Mount Gambier High School music teachers Meg Spirat and Scott Gunn said they were thrilled to see the project coming together.

“We have such talented students studying in a rich music community, it made sense to broaden the program and collaborate with other schools,” Ms Spirat said.

“We wanted to provide students with the opportunity to experience music on a grand scale and to strengthen their connection with the music scene in Mount Gambier.”

With a major goal of performing at the Generations in Jazz festival next year, the combined band of over 50 members will rehearse each week for one and a half hours and take part in a mentor program with James Morrison Academy of Music students.

“These students have a wealth of knowledge and experience, making them the perfect mentors for up and coming musicians,” Mr Gunn said.

The mentors will join in rehearsals, playing and singing along with the band and guiding and helping the younger students with music reading and performance techniques.

“As a conductor, it is fantastic to have support within the band – the mentors are a key factor in promoting collaboration and communication within the band, breaking down confidence barriers and offering moral support,” Ms Spirat said.

In conjunction with the combined schools band, Mount Gambier High School is also running a vocal group.

This group aims to build on its second place success at the 2017 Mount Gambier Eisteddfod with hopes to compete in future events and perform with the combined schools band.

With such a positive initiative secured, Mount Gambier High School is looking toward a bright musical future.

“The combined schools band is in its infancy, but even after one rehearsal the band sounds vibrant and well prepared with all students leaving motivated and inspired,” Mount Gambier High School arts coordinator Judith Kelly said.

“Our dream to join the 5000 students from around Australia who participate in Generations in Jazz is now a reality for 2018.”