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Ryan Sheales (Media office)
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Alix Bromley (on campus)
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The University of Melbourne will run a series of music workshops for teenagers in communities still recovering from the Black Saturday bushfires, culminating in a Melbourne concert.

Six recent Melbourne Conservatorium of Music (MCM) graduates will work with woodwind and brass ensembles at schools in Alexandra, Healesville and Whittlesea, to support and enhance existing music teaching.

The students will then perform alongside the University of Melbourne’s Wind Symphony and the Royal Australian Navy Band in an afternoon concert at the University’s Melba Hall on Sunday 16 September.

The event will feature performers from the Whittlesea Secondary College Concert Band, Alexandra Secondary College Concert Band, and Clarinet and Saxophone ensembles from Healesville High School.

Entry to the concert is by donation, with proceeds going to the Whittlesea/Alexandra/Kinglake/Yea (WAKY) Youth Music Network, which supports music programs for teenagers in the region.

The project co-ordinator at the MCM, Anastasia Russell-Head, said the program will be a rewarding experience for the students.

"This gives the secondary school students a unique opportunity to be inspired and motivated by performing and working alongside professional and pre-professional musicians.

“In addition, the project brings together students and teachers from three schools, helping to unite and network school music programs from different shires."

She said more workshop programs and concerts would be held over the coming years.

“As part of our Regional Engagement program, we envisage that the schools and ensembles involved will have further interaction with the MCM, including touring projects with the orchestra and wind ensemble in 2013,” Ms Russell-Head said.

The concert is proudly supported by CatholicCare, the University of Melbourne, the Royal Australian Navy Band, Arts Victoria and Hal Leonard Australia.

CatholicCare’s Bushfire Community Recovery counsellor and event organizer, Aicha Brogan, said the experience would be invaluable for the students.

“Though the communities were deeply impacted, losing teachers, students and families to the fires, people have been looking forward to the future in terms of their rebuilding and the road to recovery,” she said.

“This type of outreach enriches all involved,” Ms Brogan said.

  • NOTE: Workshops are on the 27th + 28th August and 4th + 10th September.