Tuesday 20 September, 2011

programuntitledWhat began as a regional outreach program run by the Music in Communities Award winning Leichhardt Expresso Chorus has grown into a cultural highlight on the calendar of north-western NSW. This multi-arts festival, under the artistic direction of Michelle Leonard, has grassroots community music making at its heart. The Music in Communities Network is please to be able to offer you a glimpse into the heart of this wonderful festival as we "live blog" daily for the course of the festival from 23rd to 25th September.

How do you house, feed and care for 189 young people between the age of 8 and 18?

The best way is to stage your project in Nth West NSW which not only has big skies and beautiful landscape, inspiring indigenous art forms and fantastic natural wildlife but is peopled with extremely generous and talented people who have huge hearts and capacity to help.

The communities around Baradine, Coonamble and Gulargambone have been baking, organising bedding and shifts of people to cook BBQ’s, supervise children, cart gear, and prepare artwork and feasts a plenty for months in preparation for the Moorambilla Festival this weekend. Nea and Ronnie and their team are cooking up a variety of storms to feed the 300 or so artists involved and the Monterey Café in Coonamble is being transformed into a 30’s style tea shop complete with live Jazz band.


untitled4The streets of Coonamble will be filled with markets offering local produce; there is a local art competition called the ‘Outback Archies’ that will feature much of the extraordinary local art and you can buy a chook styled in a variety of characters to support a scholarship for a student to attend Moorambilla.

untitled3We have also for the first time established an inaugural youth leader position.  Justin Welsh, who has been involved in the project for four years as a member of the MAXed OUT company and is about to enter year 12 at Coonamble HS, has been working with each of the age groups in the camps as a youth leader – helping with their art work, their singing (teaching solfa!), their percussion and drum playing and being a wonderful role model for each of the young people to look up to.  He has been ably assisted in this by two young people from Sydney who have come up as interns, Mark Rossman and Natalie Popovic, who want to make teaching their career and are happy to give their time as volunteers to help.

It is amazing the level of commitment and support Moorambilla now has in both its local and the wider community.  After six years of continual growth and expansion it is not surprising that it is embraced and made to feel so welcome.