Ally Dixon recently returned from her wonderful trip to Hawaii where she performed in the Pacific Basin Music Festival with the West of the Divide Wind Band.
The bands performed extremely well for the adjudicators and consequently were given a Silver Award. The band was selected from all students in the Riverina, New England and Western Regions.
They met for the first time as a group in January in the school holidays at Dubbo where they practised intensively for a week. They then met again for two rehearsals in Sydney before flying to Hawaii.
The group had a workshop with world renowned American conductor, Dr Tony Massaferro who was very impressed with their technique and musicality. A combined rehearsal was also held with the Las Lomas High School Symphonic Wind Ensemble from California were the West of the Divide Band shared some Australian songs with the Americans.
The conductor to the American ensemble even invited any of our musicians to join their band in the USA for six months to further their musical studies.
The other bands competing in the competition had been rehearsing intensively – in America, band is a school subject and the ensembles practice daily and all receive individual private lessons. So the efforts of our ensemble with such limited time together due to the tyranny of distance was all the more remarkable and amazed the markers and other participants.
Many friendships were also established at the Dinner and Dance and subsequent Luau which were attended by all the musicians competing in the Festival.
Once the festival finished, the group had time go on a tour of the island of Oahu and to enjoy shopping in Waikiki. Luckily the Hawaiians were celebrating the birthday of their past Prince Kuhio while the band was in Waikiki and so the musicians were also entertained by a fireworks display on the beach and a street parade.
Overall this was a tremendous experience for Ally, Mrs Conway and the other members of the Gwydir Concert Band, Nicolette Grabham, Hamish Robinson and Ryan Smith .This trip would not have been possible without the support of the school, the Gwydir Shire Council and all the many people who organised and supported fund raising events throughout the Gwydir Shire over the past six months.
Mrs Conway would like to sincerely thank everyone for their wonderful support and encourage all our students to work hard to achieve their ambitions because this excursion has proved it doesn’t matter where you live, if you are determined and strive to achieve your goals, anything is possible.