In Kamilaroy, ‘billa’ means ‘water’ and ‘mooram’ means ‘place of’.
So ‘Moorambilla’ means ‘place of deep fresh water’.
Moorambilla was originally one of the first sheep runs in Coonamble , and the original placement for the town centre. The first fresh water spear was placed in the Castlereagh river for the fledging township of Coonamble here so that the people knew where to dig for fresh water so they could thrive. It has always been a place of natural beauty and renewal. The Castlereagh river is known as an ‘upside down river’ because it flows beneath the sand for most of the year. Only when it is in flood does it become a conventional river – and its mighty power is revealed for all to see.
Similarly, Moorambilla Voices helps uncover artistic excellence in regional children and youth , creating performances that showcase choirs, dance and Taiko. Repertoire that at its core seeks inspiration from this region of NSW its landscape, rich culture and inhabitants. Like the Castlereagh in flood this regions creativity is powerful, breathtaking and immense.
Moorambilla Voices is a nationally-awarded program and seeks at its core to give country kids a rare opportunity to sing, dance and create incredible performances with artists of the highest calibre. The friendships the children make, and the incredible experiences they have along the way, are life-changing beyond the performances themselves. Under Artistic Director Michelle Leonard OAM, the annual program of performances and tours has flourished, receiving numerous national and state awards.
Each year 300 students attend a camp where they dance, sing, compose, paint, weave, play drums and learn about the cultural traditions and stories of their landscape. This is delivered in partnership with the highest quality professional musicians, performers, composers, choreographers and visual artists including Taikoz, Song Company and the Australian World Orchestra.
Children participate from the areas and towns of Brewarrina (Angledool, Goodooga); Bogan (Nyngan); Bourke (Byrock, Wanaaring); Cobar (Nymagee, Mount Hope, Euabalong); Coonamble (Gulargambone, Quambone); Dubbo (Brocklehurst, Wongarbon, Geurie, Maryvale, Mumbil, Yeoval); Gilgandra; Narromine (Trangie, Tomingley); Walgett (Lightning Ridge, Collarenabri, Pilliga, Comebychance); Warrumbungle (Binaway, Coolah, Coonabarabran, Dunedoo, Baradine, Mendooran); Warren (Nevertire); Wellington, areas of Tamworth, Orange and children from Western Australia.
2017 APRA/AMCOS Art Music Award: National Award for Excellence in Music Education.
2016 APRA/AMCOS Art Music Award: National Award for Excellence in a Regional Area.
2015 APRA/AMCOS Art Music Award: Excellence in Music Education: NSW
2013 APRA/AMCOS Art Music Award: Excellence in Music Education: NSW
2011 NSW Trade and Investment Event and Tourism Award for Moorambilla Festival
2011 APRA/AMCOS Art Music Award: Inaugural NSW State Award for Excellence for an Organisation
Moorambilla Voices: quick facts
- Covers one third of NSW in the north-west region – an area designated rural, regional and remote;
- Involves around 3,500 children annually from years 3-11 in skills workshops inviting 100 schools across the region including Distance Education Schools
- Has three regional ensembles – Regional Boys and Regional Girls from primary school and MAXed OUT Company for secondary students;
- Invites all children to participate with a strong core value of equity of access and equity of opportunity for all children, Indigenous and non-Indigenous alike
- Over one third of participants are Indigenous; have high artistic values in singing, dance and performance
- Has been honoured by awards for community cultural development, art music development and contribution to tourism for the region;
- Has a development program for Youth Leaders and Regional Artists, who grow through the program as it has evolved.
Moorambilla Voices relies heavily on financial support to inspire and encourage these amazing children.