QSO community concert with Maranoa Music Inc.
QSO community concert with Maranoa Music Inc. Jorja McDonnell

Music is Instrumental

Students from school bands across the region were invited to Roma State College today, where they learned under the tutelage of Queensland's finest musicians.

Fourteen specialists from the Queensland Symphony Orchestra came to Roma to run a workshop with the kids and perform alongside them.

Roma State College, St. John's Roma, Wallumbilla State School, Yuleba State School, Surat State School, Mitchell State School, St. Pat's Mitchell, and Injune State School all sent at least one student along to the workshop.

The students finished with a concert for their parents and residents of Pinaroo, just before the end of the school day.

For QSO it was straight to the Cultural Centre to prepare for their next performance: a community concert with Maranoa Music Inc.

The evening show proved more popular than anyone had expected, and before the concert had started, organisers scrambled for extra chairs to accommodate the sheer number of guests.

Maranoa Music junior ensemble kicked off the night; most of the members had spent all day at the school workshop and finished off their marathon day of music with a rendition of the Macarena - a band favourite.

The main ensemble from Maranoa Music followed, the larger band playing a number of enjoyable pieces, joined by the members of the QSO.

The grand finale, of course, was a set from the 14 QSO members who had made their way to Roma.

Roma State College music teacher Sam Barnes said the opportunity for the kids to meet other musicians was incredibly meaningful.

"Most of them only get to play in a small ensemble, so to be able to put them all together and get to play in that large ensemble, and then also have professionals to show them where their music can take them was just fabulous.

"There were a lot of kids who sat next to someone they didn't even know, so not only did they get to meet someone new, but they got to play next to someone who plays the same instrument,” she said.

Many parents filled the rows of audience seating at the evening show, including APLNG General Manager Dave Aitken, whose daughters play in the Roma State College band.

"I'm quite proud that we can do this, after seeing both of my girls playing instruments with the orchestra today.

"Personally music is something I love, and I'm also a very proud dad tonight.”

"We started this program up in Gladstone, where the company has a large operation, and have extended it out to places like Roma,” he said.

"It's been great to see around 100 kids go through the orchestra workshops today and to see them play that final piece at this concert was great.

Sponsored by Origin Energy's APLNG arm, QSO has become one of the most-travelled orchestras in the country after running these regional tours for the past three years.

Cassandra Elder from Origin said the company's involvement with the orchestra is something they are proud of.

"It's quite a long-standing partnership that APLNG has has with the Queensland Symphony Orchestra, and a very proud partnership.

"We like to be able to bring this out to our regional communities where our footprint is the largest with the activities we undertake as a business,” she said.

Ms Elder also touched on a new program which helps school musicians access the instrument they want to learn.

"As well as bringing out the orchestra, we facilitate donations of refurbished instruments to schools if there is something a child wants to play,” she said.

"So far we've only given away one violin in this region, and we'd like to see some more uptake from parents and students.

"To receive an instrument they have to put in an application saying why they want to play the instrument.

"It would be great if there were more people interested, and we as a company really want to facilitate more instrument donations.” she said.

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