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Band Camp boosts music education for Cape York students

More than thirty Indigenous students from remote Cape York primary schools will participate in an intensive week-long music camp in Cooktown next week.

The annual Cape York Aboriginal Australian Academy (CYAAA) Band Camp is a unique opportunity for students from Hope Vale and Coen, to work with professional musicians, composers and directors to grow their musical talents.

Culminating in a public and livestreamed performance in Hope Vale on Friday 6 September, the camp’s program includes training for a science-themed musical and professional tutoring in an array of instruments including brass, percussion and woodwind.

The performance will include the CYAAA School Band followed by the world premiere of E = mc2 – The Musical, a theatre show developed especially for these students as part of the science curriculum at their school.

Band Camp’s director, Good to Great Schools Australia Director of Arts Chris Kohn, said Band Camp is part of a larger performing arts program the Cairns-based organisation has developed for students in Cape York.

‘The benefits of music education are huge – as important as literacy and numeracy – and all students should have the opportunity to access quality music education, no matter where they live,’ said Mr Kohn.

‘We believe that the Malpa Performing Arts program is the most comprehensive and high-quality music program happening in remote Indigenous schools anywhere in Australia,’ Mr Kohn said.

As well as an annual band camp, the Malpa program includes year-round in-school music teacher mentoring, an instrumental music program and community-specific live theatrical performances focused on the local culture and history.

‘For example, at Hope Vale’s Academy, The Epic Story of the Guugu Yimithirr Peoples uses poetry, dance, theatre and song, in English and Guugu Yimithirr, to explore the rich history of the Guugu Yimithirr peoples,’ said Mr Kohn.

Facilitators at the Band Camp will include Yothu Yindi drummer Ben Hakalitz and other leading musicians from Cairns and beyond.

Mr Hakalitz said 2021 is his seventh year as a facilitator at the Band Camp.

‘The thing that really excites me most is to see Indigenous kids pick up an instrument, not only play it, but read the musical notations, that’s the thing that really gets me going,’ said Mr Hakalitz.

Watch the students perform from 6pm on Friday 10 September in Hope Vale or live on the Good to Great Schools Australia’s website.

For more information about the innovative Oz-e-science curriuclum or Malpa Performing Arts program get in touch with Good to Great Schools Australia today!

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