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The Bush Concert

5 Jun 2019
  • Behind the Scenes
by Ashleigh McManus
The Bush Concert

The ASO is a strong advocate for the importance of music education across the state, and believes that every student in South Australia should have the privilege of experiencing the Orchestra perform at least once during their education.

In April we took The Bush Concert to schools across Adelaide to share a tale of community, adversity and inclusion. Based on Helga Visser’s beautiful Australian book of the same name, this participatory experience engages students through music composed by Adelaide’s Mark Ferguson.

The students have the opportunity to sing and dance during the performance and also meet twelve instruments of the Orchestra. Throughout the score the calls of many Australian birds featured in the story can be heard being played by the instruments – even the percussion.

Ian Denbigh at St Peter’s Woodlands Grammar School

A comprehensive teacher resource pack is provided, with sound files of all of the songs the students will hear in the performance, so they can be familiar with them before we come to the school. There is also a compulsory professional development session a couple of months before the performance date so that teachers are able to return to their schools and prepare the children for the concert experience.

‘I liked every single bit!’ – Matthew, Reception at Star of the Sea School

“My favourite instrument is the one that goes na, na, na, noo, noo, noo-that’s a trombone!” Arlo, Netherby Kindergarten

The children all loved their experience, but even better, the members of the ASO also value being able to get off the stage and into the community to bring music to everyone.

A drawing from Rayza, Year 1, from Our Lady of Grace

From the Players

These sorts of programs are incredibly important to perform, after all, these kids are our future audience, and some of them possibly even future orchestra members. Because it is a smaller ensemble, we are more “up close and personal”, and it is fantastic watching all the kids’ reactions, from those hearing instruments for the first time, to those leaping up in excitement as they already know the difference between a violin and a viola! Anna Hansen, viola

The ASO’s education outreach programme is vitally important in sharing music and the sounds of our instruments with young school (& preschool!) children across South Australia. To share with young people such well-written music within a culturally relevant story such as the Bush Concert is a privilege for all ASO players.” – Ian Denbigh, trombone

From the Schools

The children were well prepared to enjoy the Bush Concert and were very excited to wear their feather crowns and have their bird artwork on display and play host to the ASO, it was an amazing experience and we were all captivated by the performance. Thank you for enriching the children’s learning opportunities and providing such a meaningful experience.” – Lisa, Educator at Netherby Kindergarten

We loved having the ASO’s Bush Concert visit Cedar College at the end of term 1. From the beginning the students were enthralled with the picture book, hearing familiar Australian bird song in the form of instruments and they loved being able to follow the music using the listening maps. The dances often had them in stitches – especially the Bush Turkey and the Pelican-can! The teaching resources provided were so easy to follow and had such rich content for engaging the students in the orchestra, its instruments and of course in preparing them to hear it live. Seeing the instruments ‘in person’ was a fantastic way to end our Bush Concert Unit. The musicians were friendly and approachable and clearly love their craft.” – Amy Webster, Performing Arts Teacher at Cedar College

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