Create & Inspire

Youth Music Festival

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Countdown to Youth Music Festival!

There is a palpable sense of excitement building in schools along the Sapphire Coast as they enter the final stages of preparation for the inaugural Four Winds Youth Music Festival.

As we are writing this enews, 100 young people from Bermagui and Tathra are rehearsing on the Sound Shell Stage and helping the Four Winds team test the logistics of moving over 1000 children around the site ready for various huge performances!

Everyone is welcome to come and share in this Friday’s Schools Showcase Performance and this Sunday’s Festival Concert.

We have some important VIPS coming along this Friday to hear our young people perform: NSW Minister for the Arts, the Honourable Don Harwin MLC will be attending as will NSW Minister for Infrastructure and local member for Bega, Andrew Constance. Bega Valley Shire Councilor, Mayor Kristy McBain is also attending to show her support for the importance of music making among young people.

So what’s happening?

Schools Showcase Performance Concert
Friday 16 November, 12noon – 2pm
Four Winds Sound Shell
Entry by voluntary donation of $10 on the door, 16yrs and under free.

Friday is a celebration of young people’s music making.

Come and hear over 800 young people sing with Western Sydney Youth Orchestra and The Australian Voices. We’ve a festival commission written by Lisa Young called ‘From Bermi and Back’, and are featuring ‘Mother Mountain’ written by Deborah Cheetham and local Yuin children at Four Winds in 2017; it has been orchestrated especially for this performance.

Then….massed percussion! The sound of hundreds of children in rhythm…
School showcases continue throughout the concert with more singing and percussion before the Western Symphony Youth Orchestra bring the event to a rousing conclusion.

Youth Music Festival Concert

Sunday 18 November, 11am – 2pm
Four Winds Sound Shell and Windsong Pavilion
Tickets $30 (in advance or on the door), 16yrs and under free.

Sunday’s Youth Music Festival Concert is a showcase of exceptional talent. Young people from across the region are coming together to perform as soloists, in small groups formed for this Festival and as part of our guest orchestra and choir.

Our Artistic Director James Crabb has been personally coaching all the local young musicians to prepare them for their performances, which include everything from singer-songwriters to classical chamber music. James is even going to perform with some of the young musicians, so this is an amazing opportunity for everyone to enjoy new collaborations – and for us to see that in action!

So, come along on Sunday to hear exceptionally talented local young people performing in the Windsong Pavilion, before having a bite to eat from one of our vendors, after which you’ll make your way down to the Sound Shell to hear Western Sydney Youth Orchestra perform. You will also experience the world premiere of our Festival Commission ‘On the Track’ by Lisa Young performed in it’s entirely by The Australian Voices and Bega Valley Youth Choir.

There’s no doubt that you will know someone taking part in the Youth Festival – please come along and be amazed by their talent.

Friday Features:
Bermagui, Narooma, Tanja, Tathra, Tilba primary schools – pretty much the entire schools are taking part!

Along with…The Australian Voices and Western Sydney Youth Orchestra.

Sunday Features:
The following local musicians who will be performing in the Windsong Pavilion and in the Sound Shell. The music is a mix of styles, everything from original songs to Mozart, from A-ha to Haydn!
The Arco String Quintet: Jarrah Catlin (1st violin), Isabella Lightly (2nd violin), Miller Northam (2nd violin), Luca Ziino (viola), Nyah Cockle (cello).
Hunter Bailey-Watts (piano)
Bega Valley Youth Choir
Imogen Bichard (double bass)
Ana Browne (vocals)
Candelo Primary School
Mora Fiedler (piano/vocals)
Juliet Fitzmaurice (vocals and guitar)
Zosha Fitzmaurice (vocals)
Emma Hunt (violin)
Jasper Lay (guitar)
Ruby Newell (taiko)
Amelie Ziino (voice and violin)

The Youth Music Festival has been long in preparation! Our amazing artist-in-schools Geoffrey Badger and Greg Sheehan will conduct on the day to bring the results of their work in local schools to a fabulous climax. Deborah Cheetham and the Short Black Opera team have been rehearsing and teaching Mother Mountain so that everyone can join in with this song inspired by our place. James Crabb has been coaching young performers and will perform alongside them. Lisa Young and Gordon Hamilton have been composing and arranging music just for this event – and the Four Winds team have been bringing it all together!

Everyone will be there on the day to perform with and support our young people in this celebration of music making: Please come and Join us!

Image credits: Marg Hansen, Chris Sheedy, Kristina Kingston, Craig Wall, The Australian Voices, Geoffrey Badger, Lara Crew

Youth Music Festival

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Geoffrey Badger and Greg Sheehan teach children at Bermagui Public School singing in preparation for the Youth Music Festival’s Friday showcase

Four Winds Youth Music Festival | 16 – 18 November | Sound Shell

Friday 16 November is a celebration and showcase of the music-making which has been happening in five local schools – Bermagui, Narooma, Tilba, Tanja and Tathra – all as a result of your donations.
Tickets $10 Children 16yrs and under and Access Pass holders free | 12noon – 2pm

Sunday 18 November we are presenting the Youth Music Festival Concert.
Tickets $30 Children 16yrs and under and Access Pass holders free | 11am – 2.30pm

Create and Inspire

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Short Black Opera and the Dhungala Choral Connection Songbook

Thursday 8 November | 4.30 – 6.30pm | Windsong Pavilion

Professional Development Workshop for Music Teachers, Choir Leaders and Singing Enthusiasts…

A singing workshop for teachers, choir leaders and singing enthusiasts with Short Black Opera’s Deborah Cheetham, Toni Lalich and Jessica Hitchcock who will take you through the songs and languages of the Dhungala Choral Connection Songbook. Written by Short Black Opera, the collection of songs has been performed by their Dhungala Children’s Choir across the nation and offers insight and engagement into culture, Indigenous connections and languages. You will be guided through the interpretation, pronunciation and music of each song enabling their use in your own classroom and/or choir.

Cost: $60 Includes the Dhungala Choral Connection Songbook, Vol. 1 along with a CD (Live concert and Pronunciation guide)

Youth Music Festival

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Become a Four Winds Volunteer

Would you like to help bring music education to the youth of our region?

Increase your enjoyment of the inaugural Four Winds Youth Music Festival by joining in. All of our Four Winds events rely on the wonderful assistance of our Four Winds volunteers.

We have many volunteer roles we need to fill for the Youth Music Festival including; car parking assistants, artist and student care, ushers, site preparation and box office.

If you would like to help out as a volunteer on all or any of the days of the Four Winds Youth Music Festival – Friday 16 to Sunday 18 November 2018 – please goto

Photo by Ben Marden

Photo by Ben Marden

Photos by Ben Marden

Photo by Ben Marden

Photos by Ben Marden

Youth Music Festival

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Dear All,

In November there is going to be a mass gathering of musically-inspired young people from across our region and beyond at the new Four Winds Youth Music Festival.

You can experience the fabulous spectacle of our region’s talented youngsters performing and sharing music together. We are going to assemble a ‘company’ of over 1000 pupils from our local primary schools plus guests. It’s really wonderful to think that those schools and the majority of the children will be meeting and collaborating with each other for the very first time.

They will be joined by Western Sydney Youth Orchestra, The Australian Voices from Brisbane and members of Short Black Opera, as well as local internationally acclaimed musicians Geoffrey Badger and Greg Sheehan who are currently working as Four Winds Artists-in-Schools to prepare for this amazing event.

I’m really excited that we have commissioned three songs for the occasion from Lisa Young (of Coco’s Lunch) and that we will once again enjoy ‘Mother Mountain’ which local Indigenous children wrote in partnership with Short Black Opera in 2017 – but this time it will be performed with orchestral accompaniment.

This Festival is happening because Four Winds is part of a community committed to providing life changing musical experiences for young people on the Far South Coast. Music is a truly powerful force and impacts so positively on us all, particularly on our young people. Last week I was at South Coast Music Camp in Bega and experienced a wealth of talent. It is truly exciting that there is now another chance for those enthusiastic young musicians to come together to perform in large ensembles on the South Coast.

There are daytime public performances at the Four Winds Youth Music Festival on Friday 16 November from 12.00 – 1.30pm and Sunday 18 November from 11.00am – 2.00pm.

Friday is a celebration and showcase of the music-making which has been happening in five local schools – Bermagui, Narooma, Tilba, Tanja and Tathra. There will be massed percussion pieces and the world premiere of a new commission performed by a massed choir. Western Symphony Youth Orchestra will be accompanying some of the pieces including a performance of ‘Mother Mountain’ – it’s going to be an absolutely amazing event!

On Sunday, during the special Festival Concert we will hear local talent who are dedicated to their craft performing a diverse mix of music in their own right as soloists and in various small ensembles created for this festival in the Windsong Pavilion. This will be followed by large-scale performances with Western Sydney Youth Orchestra and The Australian Voices in the Sound Shell. It’s brilliant to see how excited the kids are already and the creative impact it has on their lives as well as the invaluable experience of collaborating and sharing in the sheer joy of music-making.

The Inaugural Four Winds Youth Music Festival is your chance to come and hear as well as support the next generation of dedicated and talented musicians in fabulous surroundings. I can’t think of a better way to spend the weekend – come and join us! You can find out more and book your tickets here…

Very best wishes

James Crabb
Artistic Director

Youth Music Festival

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Four Winds 2018 Youth Music Festival | Friday 16 – Sunday 18 November | Sound Shell

A celebration of young people’s music-making! An exhilarating, new annual three-day Youth Music festival focusing on young people coming together to share in the joy of music and music-making. Led by Four Winds Artistic Director, James Crabb, this festival will be the culmination of the year-round, energetic, inspirational, creative programs Four Winds offers young people in the region.

Bringing together children from local pre- and primary schools, local/national youth ensembles, young professional musicians and inspirational music leaders to perform together in large ensembles, play for one-another, receive coaching/tutoring and experience amazing live music all within the inspirational venues of Four Winds.

Schools Showcase Performance | Friday 16 November | 12 – 1.30pm | Sound Shell

Featuring: Massed local Schools, Short Black Opera, Western Sydney Youth Orchestra, The Australian Voices and guest artists
$10 donation at the gate or online. 16yrs and under and Access Pass holders free

Youth Music Festival Concert | Sunday 18 November | 11am – 2pm | Sound Shell/Windsong Pavilion

Featuring: Talented young local performers, Western Sydney Youth Orchestra, The Australian Voices, and Australian National Academy of Music (ANAM) artists
Tickets $30. Children 16yrs and under and Access Pass holders free

Image credits: Ben Marden

Youth Music Festival

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Four Winds Artists in Schools Program which has now begun in five schools in our region

Dear All,

It is with a great sense of excitement I can announce that tickets are now on sale for the inaugural Four Winds Youth Music Festival that will run from Friday 16 November to Sunday 18 November 2018.

The focus is wholly on young people in our region sharing in the joy of music. This new annual festival is a celebration of young people’s music-making and a culmination of the energetic, inspirational and creative programs that Four Winds offers to young people in our region throughout the year.

It’s incredible to know that there are up to 1000 young people taking part! They will be performing alongside highly experienced professional musicians in large ensembles together with Western Sydney Youth Orchestra, The Australian Voices, Short Black Opera and other special guest artists.

Thanks to the recent generous donations raised to support the Four Winds ‘Create and Inspire Program’, work has already begun on a weekly basis in five local Primary Schools – Bermagui, Narooma, Tilba Central, Tanja and Tathra – across terms 3 and 4 focusing on rhythm/percussion and singing. Those two fundamental and core elements of music provide the essential skills, awareness and a solid platform to access further creative development. (Click on the link below to see a short clip of the work going on in the schools)

The children from these five primary schools and other talented young local performers will then come together for the Schools Showcase Performance on Friday 16 November in the Four Winds Sound Shell. Works from each school as well as large-scale en-masse percussion and vocal collaborations will be performed. A new major work by leading vocal composer Lisa Young commissioned for this event will be one of the many highlights.

The Festival Concert, Sunday 18 November, will see performances from our visiting ensembles as well as talented young musicians from our region who are showing a strong dedication to and love of their craft. This performance opportunity is to help encourage, inspire and reward their commitment to music and performance and offers them a chance to share the stage and collaborate with their mentors and tutors.

The children are all really excited to have this amazing opportunity and play a leading role. I really look forward to what will be an absolutely inspirational and fun three days of music-making for young people of all musical abilities in this region.

Let’s truly celebrate that music is for everyone!

Very best wishes

James Crabb

Image credits: Ben Marden, Chris Sheedy

Thank you from James Crabb

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Dear All,

As you know I am passionate about music education being imaginative, fun and full of energy. Being able to give our young people fantastic and positive experiences of high quality is essential in the introduction and development of the fundamental elements of basic music skills that will help them to ignite a life-long interest and appreciation for music. It is wonderful that so many of you agree with me and have, through your donations to our Create and Inspire program, enabled us to get on without delay in bringing fabulous and memorable musical experiences to the children here on the Far South Coast of NSW.

Because of your commitment we now have excellent musicians and educators delivering weekly percussion and singing activities in five local primary schools. It’s also full-steam ahead with our inaugural Youth Music Festival in November, which promises to showcase the best of local talent and present many hundreds of young people performing together at the Four Winds site; we hope you will come to experience what will be an incredible spectacle.

We are grateful to everyone who recently donated to Create and Inspire, to our partner organisations who help deliver our Create and Inspire program, and to all our donors who enable Four Winds to have such a positive impact on so many people. Thank you.
Very best wishes

James Crabb
Artistic Director

Together we have reached our fundraising target – thank you

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A HUGE thank you to all who have donated to support the Four Winds Music Education Program. We are delighted to share the news that we have now received donations totalling $40,000 which will be match-funded meaning the total value of this campaign is $80,000 towards young people’s music making and changing their lives!

Four Winds 2018 Easter Festival Musical Performance. Photo by Ben Marden

Plans for our Artists in Schools and Youth Festival, as well as professional development for teachers both in and outside the classroom are well underway and will be starting in Term 3. Thank you for helping make this possible and we look forward to sharing news of their success with you.

Whilst the dollar for dollar campaign has now reached its target, we gratefully receive any donation to support Four Winds Education work and your tax deductable donation can be made here

Requesting your help to ensure the musical future of our young people…

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We are inviting you to donate funds to Four Winds that will be matched dollar for dollar to support the Four Winds Music Education Program.

Four Winds has an amazing music education program which, on a year-round basis, is providing remarkable opportunities for our young people to experience and take part in live music. We are bringing amazing music experiences and ongoing learning opportunities to five primary schools (Narooma, Tilba, Bermagui, Tanja, Tathra) and four local preschools with an integrated program of world-class performances by visiting artists. The children will create their own works, take part in singing, rhythm, basic composition, and performance alongside their peers, as well as interacting with the amazing musicians who visit Four Winds. This is a pretty unique model and a wonderful partnership between Four Winds and the local schools. In terms of attending performances alone, the program means that every school-child has the opportunity to attend and take part in 16 events at Four Winds during their time in pre/primary school. That’s in addition to all the artists visits, residencies and teacher training Four Winds is delivering in schools throughout the year.

Four Winds 2018 Easter Festival Musical Performance. Photo by Ben Marden

The whole program is integrated and will now culminate in a new annual Youth Festival (16 -18 Nov) which will involve all our young people taking part in large scale performances with professional artists, students and musicians from Sydney Youth Orchestra and Australian Voices at the Four Winds site. There will also be opportunities for individuals to showcase their own talent.

A donor who is a great supporter of Four Winds has pledged to match any donation to Four Winds, up to a total of $40,000, because they want to see opportunities for our young people to take part in music thrive on the Far South Coast. They are inviting anyone to donate funds to support Four Winds and they will match-fund $-for-$ any donation (up to a total of $40,000) made by the end of this financial year. Four Winds has already received some donations at the 2018 Easter Festival so is currently trying to raise $20,000 toward this target. Together we have the opportunity to unlock $80,000 to support our young people’s music making.

Make your tax-deductible donation by the end of the financial year to ensure that it is matched dollar for dollar by visiting the Four Winds Website here

The Bermagui Project’s second Creative Field Study is an inspiration

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Performing and visual artists, including leaders Tony King and Kris Ralph of Beautifully Mad, came together for three days to explore the Bermagui and Wallaga Lake estuaries, their catchments and stories. Based on this fieldwork the artist will produce new work that will be exhibited in Canberra and Bega. We’d like to say thank you to the knowledge sharers that made this Create Field Study so inspiring…

Montreal Goldfields, our guides Judi, Bob and Malcolm were engaging and devoted to the preservation of the hand-dug mines and the stories of that era.

John Blay shared his vast knowledge of the terrain from the coast to Cooma, his connection to the place and people, through great story telling and this was enhanced by the spontaneous and insightful contribution of Cheryl Davison.

Clean Energy for Eternity‘s Bill Southwood talked climate change mitigation and inspired us with the stories of communities taking climate action. He was joined by the provocative John James with an argument for climate adaptation and some distressing images of Bermagui under various sea level rise scenarios.

Trevor King’s vision for the preservation of the Bermagui River Wetlands was palpable and certainly re-invigorated the inspiration of the artists.

This exploration took the artists hiking up Gulaga with local Yuin knowledge sharer Warren Foster. An experience the artists described as “powerful” and “deeply spiritual”.

We were in great hands kayaking across Wallaga Lake with The River Rock Cafe‘s Matt and Shane, plus estuary scientist Emma Maratea. Their insights highlighted the difficulty of balancing the health of the lake systems with the demands of an increasing human population.

Finally Cheryl Davison shared her basket weaving and knowledge of Murunna Point taking us closer to understanding the sorrow and anger of a culture that is trying to recover from oppression only to face the threats of climate change.

The conversations, heated debates, laughter and tears made this Creative Field Study a rich source of inspiration for new works of art; thank you to everyone who contributed their time and knowledge.

The Bermagui Project’s first Creative Field Study is a BioBlitz!

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14 artists, including leaders Carolyn Young and Sharon Field from Canberra, spent three days at Four Winds…
…absorbing inspiration from each other, the Four Winds site, talks from the project’s Reference Group and the hive of activity that was the Four Winds BioBlitz.

The BioBlitz, made possible by Atlas of Life and Bournda Environmental Education Centre, brought scientists and naturalists from around the country to lead our community on flora and fauna surveys. Formidable survey results came back teeming with shells, moths, birds and the possible discovery of a new species of peacock spider (read about it here in the Bega District News), which has now been confirmed!

Take a look at photos from the BioBlitz here…

Artists left the Creative Field Study with a new network of likeminded artists, inspiration for a whole new body of work and ideas for exhibitions. If you’d like to be part of our 2017 Creative Field Studies, please submit an expression of interest here…

Vivaldi, Four Seasons | June 2016

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On June 9, 2016 Four Winds supported by our creative partner the Sydney Opera House held our second Live Streaming event for the school children of our region.

Thanks to the generous gifts of our Grow and Flourish donors Four Winds now has the technology to “stream” across the internet performances that are held at the Opera House in real time. This capacity is not open to many of our smaller schools and many of the larger ones enjoy the visit to the beautiful Windsong Pavilion where they and their teachers can interact creatively with one another in nature.

135 children from Kindergarten, Year 1 and Year 2 attending Moruya, Wolumla, Bermagui and Tilba Primary Schools visited the Four Winds site at Barragga Bay where they enjoyed a highly interactive performance of Vivaldi’s Four Seasons. The Primary Proms String Quartet and an energetic puppeteer and actor introduced the music to the young ears.

The children learnt about Vivaldi’s transformation of the seasons’ sensations and sounds to music – from the silvery pizzicato notes of winter to the final dramatic movement of the summer thunderstorm.


After the performance the children thoroughly enjoyed an outdoor lunch and play after being trapped inside much of the week before with our torrential rains. The weather and seasons were at the forefront of their minds after such extremes.

Members of the Yuin community including Uncle Ossie Cruse, Warren Foster Snr Warren Foster Jnr and Sonya Naylor then continued the children’s learning by sharing their Traditional Ecological Knowledge and creative talents of dance, art and storytelling – explain the signs and triggers that Yuin people notice that signify to them the seasons in the Yuin calendar which are based around food availability and sharing.

four seasons web banner 1

Equipped with all this newfound knowledge the children converted the information into art by thinking creatively and expressing themselves with instruments; movement and dance; drawing and art. Our own local artists Merinda Antill, Caitlin Brown, Gabriela Green, Michael Hanlon, Marg Hansen and Justina Legoe working together with those mentioned above and the regions talented teachers and Aboriginal Liaison officers supported these activities.

The Four Winds’ Create and Inspire Program is so fortunate to have the skills of such artists and educators to draw on and share with our younger generations, supporting our regions development as a cultural and imaginative hub.

Click here to view Moruya Primary School’s response to their experience…