Fledgling recorder players from Merimbula Public School are still revelling after their fantastic performance at the Sydney Opera House on Monday night.
They were a part of the Festival of Instrumental Music Opera House Concert series which consisted of hundreds of children all diligently playing their hearts out in the Opera House’s magnificent concert hall.
Merimbula resident Toni Houston was there to watch her daughter take to the stage.
“There was a packed audience of family members and people of all ages, all waving madly at the youngsters on stage or clapping long after the songs were done,” Ms Houston said.
“It was an amazing program offering the gift of music to kids across the state and bringing them together in harmony; it showcased the essence of music.”
Ms Houston’s nine-year-old daughter Lola said watching the other performers has inspired her to try to learn to play the clarinet.
”It was a magical night and I enjoyed watching the other musicians playing. It was worth it to practice that hard every morning and afternoon to go to this amazing place [the Opera House],” Lola said.
“It was such an honour to be there. Next year I hope to come back here.”
Lola wasn’t the only child inspired by the night’s performance.
Year 6 pupil Chloe Bretherton said she now wants to learn Four Seasons by Vivaldi on the violin after hearing other school children play it.
Thirteen children from Merimbula Public School performed in the Acacia Concert, the first of a series of four concerts for the Festival of Instrumental Music, beginning Monday August 22 and concluding this Thursday August 25.
Joining them on stage for the Acacia Concert was Bega Valley Public School, with other valley schools – including Towamba PS, Candelo PS, Cobargo PS and Quaama PS - all appearing on different nights.
Merimbula PS and Bega Valley PS joined over 700 other recorder players from across NSW, with a total of 1000 children – playing a variety of instruments including string, harp, percussion, saxophone, trombone and flute – filling the concert hall with music.
Merimbula PS teacher and mentor Beth Smith said this was the fourth year the school has participated in the festival, and she was “so proud” of the children.
“They had to learn not just the music, but to performance standard, and also off by heart,” Ms Smith said after the concert on Wednesday.
“This year the technical component of the pieces was far more difficult, in musicality and timing.”
She said the pupils showed “huge committment”, practicing for hours and attending pre-school rehearsals. Ms Smith also acknowledged the patience and support of the parents – listening to the pupils “playing over and over” within their homes – and the school’s support helping finance the endeavour.
“It’s a wonderful opportunity for the kids, as many very famous people have not performed at the Opera House...but they have!” Ms Smith said.
Ms Smith practiced with the children for months and joined the kids on stage, and said the look of wonder in the children’s faces – and their eyes “popping in awe” – as they entered the concert hall was “priceless”.
“Hopefully it instills not just a love of music but valuable work ethic as well,” Ms Smith said.
“If you persist, even when you can’t see the light at the end of the tunnel – or recorder! – you will succeed at accomplishing your goal.”
The Festival of Instrumental Music is an annual event showcasing the musical talent of public schools only, hosted by the NSW Department of Education.
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