Friday 29 August 2014

Report on Saplings Master Class – held Sunday 10th August 2014

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Claire busking at the Markets to advertise Saplings
  Wow!!! – we had a fabulous day! So far all the feedback we have had from the parents and the children themselves has been very positive.
We had 12 children playing an assortment of instruments. We could not have had better tutors - Dave Johnson and Jason Roweth are perfect educators of the young and so passionate about bush music that it had to rub off. 
Jason & Dave
 Naomi Doherty kept the young ones (Blue Gums) under control with the help of Chris Poleson and kept the fun activities coming so that they did not have time to get bored. 
Thomas, Emily, Megan with Naomi
We were very lucky to have Samantha O’Brien assisting Jason, as they had two flute players and a sax player and thanks to Dave Johnson for transposing the music into Eb for sax and also Bb for our clarinet player at the last minute. Unfortunately, the rhythm (guitar and uke) players who wanted to come could not at the last minute but that did not affect the creative Jason.
Here is Dave’s highlight of the day -
There were many wonderful moments through the day but for me the informal sitting on the step with Declan and playing Bill Gilbert's Geese in the Bog was just magic. I played the tune about six times and each time through he had a bit more of it. A short break while I showed how I cross-rowed it and he had it. He just wowed me. And later I heard him just going over it quietly to himself, so I knew we had to share it with the class. It showed me that there is a real need for the master class aspect as well as the beginner and intermediate stream.

Declan & Dave
Tony Romeo spent some time with the Blue Gums playing lagerphone and percussion and then spent time with the whole group who were very interested in these instruments.
Lagerphones & spoons
 He also led them all in a couple of informal dances which were enjoyed by everyone.
   Claire Doherty spent 15mins with the Blue Gums helping them to get their fingers around a fiddle – this was an aim for the future - to have Saplings teach new Saplings and it happened at our first Master Class!

Ralph Pride surprised the group when he turned up as a “swaggie” from the bush looking for John Meredith as he had some more tunes to give him….. the kids just sat there gob-smacked while Dave and Jason collected the tunes from Ralph (who was very funny). 

The highlight of the day was the last hour when each group, the Ironbarks, the Banksias and the Blue Gums, did a little presentation of what they had learnt and then everyone played together. A perfect day…!!!

I am glad we had plenty of food – they could eat!!
Cake made & decorated by Claire 
 Each child took home a goody bag with information on festivals, 2 Mulga Wires, one of Ralph’s song books, the blue Bush Music CD, a pair of spoons, stickers and a chocolate. We also included a feedback form and hope to get these returned in the near future.
We would like to do this again next year and are also thinking of a regular Sunday afternoon (perhaps every three months) session for the Saplings and other young people to attend with just a couple of adults to lead the session. The plan would be a Sunday in Tritton Hall - perhaps 1 – 4pm - to play through the music they received at the Master Class and then at the next Master Class they get a new music book for the year. 
tutors - Kerry, Chris (banjo), Jason (guitar), Sam (flute), Tony, Naomi, Dave, Helen
2 & 3 Generations of bush musicians

 John, Emily, Chris
 Claire, Kerry, Naomi
  Jason & Megan
Naomi, Michelle, Thomas
   George & Thomas
Christina & Tomas
Report - Helen Romeo & Kerry Doherty, coordinators, Saplings subcommittee

photos - Sandra Nixon


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