Friday 4 August, 2011

viviennewintherVivienne Winther is Artistic Director of Music For Everyone, the ACTʼs community music organisation . In November 2005, Vivienne was named 'The Canberra Times Artist of the Year', for her uncompromising vision and achievement in gaining national and international recognition for opera in the ACT. Vivienne will be blogging for us in the run up to our Music in Communities day in Canberra.

If it’s August then September is not far off and that means coming up there’s the Music in Communities Network Meeting right here at the Ainslie Arts Centre in Canberra, followed the very next weekend by the Bloom Music Festival at the same wonderful location.

I hope everyone knows about the Music in Communities Network Meeting on 10 September and how much we Canberra music-makers are looking forward to getting together with like-minded people from around Australia.

But what’s the Bloom Music Festival?  It’s three day celebration of community music-making in the Ainslie Arts Centre, the hub for music in the ACT.

At last year’s MiC Network meeting in Canberra, I discovered that there doesn’t seem to be many centres like ours in other places in Australia and I realised how lucky we community music-makers are in Canberra to have it.

smfeaac-1st-rock-schoolThe Ainslie Arts Centre was created as a centre for community music activity and education in 2000 by the ACT Government. The building is one of Canberra’s earliest, dating from 1927 as the old Ainslie Primary School.  Since it stopped being a school it has been used for a number of things: a temporary site for the science museum Questacon; an immersion school for students with English as a second language, and the famous “School without Walls” an alternative school for students who did not adapt well to traditional school settings.

smfeaac-music-in-the-courtyardWhen it became a music arts centre, Music For Everyone (MFE) was the first organisation to take up residence, closely followed by Canberra Youth Music (CYM) with its youth orchestras and choirs. Today the Young Music Society, who I talked about in an earlier blog, the Australian National Eisteddfod, and Pro Musica, who present the Canberra International Music Festival, all have their offices here, along with MFE and CYM.  Eight classrooms and the large school hall are used as teaching and rehearsal spaces, with two community orchestras, a brass band and a jazz big band among the weekly hirers, in addition to all of the MFE and CYM activities.

The Bloom Music Festival from 16 to 17 September showcases the activity of all the organisations in the Ainslie Arts Centre with a three day program of workshops, concerts, instrument ‘try-outs’, open rehearsals and for Music For Everyone, our Open Day, with a whole lot of exciting hands-on opportunities I’ll talk about next week.

smfeaac-open-day-in-the-foyerSo we’re very excited to have the MiC family come and visit the Ainslie Arts Centre in Canberra for their network meeting on 10 September and you can be sure of a warm welcome.  You can take a good look around the building, see first hand how much a facility with great rehearsal and teaching space has helped music in Canberra flourish, and maybe go back to your states to pressure for something like it for yourselves!