I find it hard to believe that this project is finally coming to an end!
Last night we had our final public concert at the ‘Complex’ – A gymnasium which is shared between the school and the community of Cummins.
We had quite a good turnout of audience – which is amazing, considering two very important factors:
1) Apparently its the middle of Harvest for the local farmers
2) There’s a bushfire happening nearby! Lots of the locals are cfs volunteers, so its quite understandable that they missed a concert to be away fighting a bushfire.
On Tuesday I even had doubts that this concert would happen at all: given that there was a very real possibility of quite a devastating bushfire on the outskirts of Port Lincoln. As I write this the bushfire still isn’t out, and it could still threaten homes.
I’ve been driving from Port Lincoln to Cummins each day and seeing smoke and the cfs trucks. I can only have the highest admiration for these volunteers who put their lives on the line and work tirelessly day after day.
Anyway, that is off the subject, but still a very real thing that affects communities. It was difficult working at Cummins on Tuesday: a day of catastrophic fire danger. Cummins school isn’t considered a real fire danger, so it wasn’t closed, but the school buses didn’t run. Because the school buses didn’t run there was only about half of the students at school. I could only do my best to do my job in the best way I could, and not show any worry to the kids, as I didn’t want them to be stressed. I could tell that they were concerned, as anyone would be with a bushfire in the area.
Still, I think doing our drumming workshops and preparing for the concert was a very welcome stress relief for some of the students, teachers and parents!
Here are a few of the performances that were featured in this performance:
1) Year 5/6/7 performing ‘Funky Junky’
2) Year 4/5 performing ‘Infinity II’
3) Year 8/9 performing ‘rainforest fantasy’
This week we also put together a staff & community ensemble and they performed at the concert with the kids. They all had a fantastic time, which was essentially my outcome for this activity.
I’ve done these sort of adult groups before, and generally they always have a great time. The thing with it is to stay flexible in approach. I had one idea for a beat to have them play, but it actually got modified within about 30 seconds of trying it with them. There was something else that sat much better, so I didn’t persist with my first idea, instead I shifted my expectation, and it worked really well.
Anyway, here is the video of the staff & parents performing their ‘Hip Hop Beat’ piece. As you can see in the video – they have a great time, and really enjoyed their performance. I wasn’t actually planning on playing myself, but one of the participants couldn’t come at the last moment (something to do with the Bushfires I think), so I had to fill in.
Lastly – Our Big Finale.
I was so thrilled to be able to put together a big finale with all the students involved in the project. They had to share drums, use the buckets which we normally hold sticks in, and utilize just about every drumstick we had – but we did get there!
I was so proud of the kids – and so many people came up to me afterwards and the next day saying how you could really see the joy on the kids faces that were taking part.
It was a really special thing to be able to do this project, and I’m forever grateful to an enormous list of people for making it happen.
Firstly, to Musica Viva in Schools, particularly the South Australian State Manager Emily Kelly. It was Emily who really believed in me, and submitted the initial idea to do Junk Percussion as an Artist in Residence Program. Also a special thanks for Cassandra Knox who put together the initial funding application to get this off the ground, and Laura Read who provided the logistical support with booking flights and making arrangements.
Most importantly I have to thank Arts SA – without whose funding there would have been no possibly to undertake such an amazing program.
Also I need to thank the Staff of Cummins Area School for their support, particularly assistant Principal Mike Ford for his support and belief in the project. Its been my pleasure to work with Arts Teacher Natalie Scheepers and John Wood throughout the course of the project, and get to know all the other staff as well.