Last week our Community Engagement and Education (CE&E) team travelled across Perth, delivering some of WASO’s signature programs away from the main stage.
We followed the team in one of their busiest weeks of the year as they performed to hundreds of people, stimulating learning and promoting the power of music across the city.
The CE&E team are hard at work on site at WASO, coordinating various ensembles to prepare for the week ahead. Amongst the busy chaos, the team have also got a new intern starting today, who will be learning the ropes of working in an arts organization over the next few months.
Four musicians, along with members of the CE&E team travel 35km from the Perth CBD to present a folk quartet performance at North Parmelia Primary School. The Folk Quartet is made up of performers from WASO’s 15-piece Education Chamber Orchestra, EChO, and this performance marks their first time presenting a brand-new show.
Led by presenter Lee Stanley, Rebecca Glorie (violin), Jasmine Middleton (violin, UWA Masters student), John Keene (double bass) and Alex Millier (clarinet and bass clarinet) perform to an audience of 267 students and 14 teachers.
The interactive performance includes presentations on how music represents national culture and tradition, student volunteering, and a Q&A session. Students from WASO’s Crescendo program are in the audience and eagerly engage with the ensemble.
Today the CE&E team and selected musicians conduct performances as part of WASO’s Hospital Orchestra Project (HOP). Rob Gladstones (horn) and Alex Millier (clarinet and bass clarinet) visit the classrooms at Perth Children’s Hospital, delighting sick children, before a performance in the Atrium space.
EChO then take to the Hospital’s Auditorium for a performance of Symphonic Spinfest, presented by Lee Stanley. The 71-strong audience is made up of patients, carers, teachers and hospital staff.
Children spin “Professor Stanley’s” magic wheel to select composers and music. The interactive program tells the stories behind the pieces, before EChO brings the works to life.
Anne Wise, Senior Coordinator, Strategy and Planning for Child and Adolescent Health Service is in the audience, and relays her delight to us at the end of the performance.
“Professor Stanley was so engaging but even more so was the orchestra. The music was so beautiful. I felt truly blessed that I could come to work and have this experience.”
Once again the musicians and the CE&E team hit the road to travel a whopping 87km south of the Perth CBD to St Damien’s Catholic Primary School in Dawesville. Today’s performance is ‘Meet the Strings’, and includes Louise Sandercock (violin), Jasmine Middleton, Kierstan Arkleysmith (viola) and Emma McCoy (cello) playing to 8 teachers and 180 students from Pre-Primary to Year 2.
After a program involving conducting, jumping, Irish dancing and singing along, the musicians visit classrooms for Q&A with the students. The cello proves particularly fascinating, and some students are lucky enough to get hands on with the violins.
Today the EChO Folk Ensemble travel 38km from the CBD to Medina Primary School. However with only hours to go, John Keene falls ill and is unable to perform. Andrew Sinclair jumps in with less than 3 hours notice to replace him on double bass, with Rebecca briefing him on the repertoire in the car as the team travel to the school. Andrew has just 15 minutes to practise with the ensemble before the performance.
Despite this, the ensemble play a fantastic concert to 170 students and 11 adults. The Q&A once again presents interesting questions to the musicians, with one student exclaiming about the Toreador song, “that one makes me feel excited, and you can almost see the bulls charging!”
In the afternoon, the CE&E team return to the office to prepare for their biggest performance of the week; tomorrow’s Symphonic Spinfest concert with Lee Stanley at Perth Town Hall. The public performance has sold almost 200 tickets, and has been planned for almost a year.
But disaster strikes: a COVID case in the Perth community prompts a snap three-day lockdown, commencing at midnight tonight. The WASO team call an emergency meeting…
The team are left with no choice but to postpone the concert, with the Perth region in lockdown. Emails and messages notifying ticket-holders have been sent, and now the CE&E team must start the process of liaising with the Perth Town Hall, musicians, Lee Stanley and more to reschedule the concert. It’s a disappointing end to a huge week, but the team will bounce back and continue to deliver music across Perth, touching souls and enriching lives along the way.
Symphonic Spinfest has now been rescheduled to Saturday 10th July, and has been expanded to two shows (10am and 11:30am). Tickets are on sale here.
Crescendo is proudly supported by Crown Resorts Foundation and Packer Family Foundation, Feilman Foundation, Tianqi Lithium Australia, Crescendo Giving Circle, The Stan Perron Charitable Foundation, Bunning Family and the Department of Education Instrumental Music School Services.
Hospital Orchestra Project (HOP) is supported by Mitsubishi Corporation.