Leonora students from WA thrive at Moorambilla

For the first time at Moorambilla Voices residential camps, three students from Leonora District High School, in remote Western Australia, came to Moorambilla MAXed OUT Company. And they had a blast of a time. Leonora students Braedyn Butson, Shantahlia Kenda and Lakeisha Whitby travelled with teacher Jenna Corlett, AIEO Dianne Vincent and Education Assistant Luke Maxfield.

Jenna Corlett, Leonora District High School Teacher, shares their experience, with photographs by Noni Carroll.

We began our adventure in our small rural town of Leonora in Western Australia. Three of our students were selected to participate in MAXed OUT Company to sing, dance and play percussion with other like minded 12-16 year olds from towns across rural and remote Australia. We were the only school from Western Australia participating in the event, which was pretty exciting!

Our first flight from Leonora to Perth was a wickedly, windy flight where the turbulence allowed for no real rest. With a two hour delayed departure we arrived in Perth and made our way straight to the Qantas domestic terminal to catch our second flight to Sydney. Out of our small group of three students and three adults only two of us had flown to East Australia before so the thrill of a flight on a larger plane as well as a new city was evident.

We arrived in Sydney late and caught a cab to our hotel. The next morning we woke and returned to the airport for our third and final flight to the rural NSW town of Dubbo. From there we hired a car and drove to Baradine, a small rural town of approximately 500 people. This would be our final destination and home for a week to the 97 enthusiastic high school students ready for a unique opportunity to share their creative selves with professional musicians and artists and choreographers.

Workshops and sessions start immediately the students arrive into Baradine, with Taikoz artist Ryuji Hamada leading the session on fan and sword dancing, and Artistic Director Ian Cleworth on taiko.

Each day consisted of a range of workshops to build on the children’s natural talents, whether it was choral singing, percussion and taiko or composition techniques and performance experience with the ultimate goal in mind of an end performance in September . The workshops were run by professional artists, who have a passion for their area as well as passing their skills and knowledge onto these aspiring young people. However, to me this whole experience has been so much more than just a music workshop. There are so many underlying qualities that this camp teaches these students. Qualities such as social skills and leadership, self- confidence and self- discipline and the opportunity to make lifelong friends.

Choreography with Queensland Ballet Education Executive Jacob WIlliams and intern Tainga Savage.

Luke Maxfield was a wonderful part of the supervisors team on camp.

The passion of Michelle Leonard, the Artistic Director, is highly apparent and the students truly respond to this. Her high expectations, guided with the clear directions of all the experts allow for outstanding results. Being a resident of a rural town in Western Australia, I believe there is a need for such a experience to be brought to our state. The way it brings the local community as well as communities within the area together was admiring to witness and is what I took from this experience the most. Whether it was creating the props for the final performance, catering the food for the students, staff and volunteers, or providing the accommodation for everyone, they all came together to make this event such a success. It was truly a beautiful occasion to witness and be a part of!

Above: Michelle Leonard works with the children as they sing and guides the artists at the MAXed OUT residential camp. Below: The WA children were part of a large group of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students this year from all over Australia and could share stories and experiences as they took part.

The children worked with artist Roslyn Sullivan, from Laverton in WA, as she produced textile backdrops.

Jyllie Jackson, from Lismore Lantern Parade, worked with the children to build sculptures for the lantern parade.

Leave a Reply