The Music in Us: Lake Boga Days

A few weeks ago Mrs Carey’s Concert opened in Australian Cinemas.

Another music film, Seriously Singing – a Cinderella Story, was premiered last week, launched by the Minister for School Education. Malcolm McKinnon made the film.

Malcolm works mainly in rural communities. “Over the past 15 years, his work has encompassed oral history, urban planning, public and community art projects, critical writing and exhibitions. His current practice is mainly focused around documentary filmmaking and social history, motivated by an appreciation of living memory and local vernacular.”

Malcolm describes the film as an interpretation of “the story of a small town choir achieving national acclaim from improbable beginnings.” I see the film as having immense synergies with As It Is In Heaven.

There are ABC Radio podcasts of interviews with Malcolm McKinnon on ABC Central Victoria and this item on Bush Telegraph. The program note for the Bush Telegraph podcast records that:

The small community of Lake Boga is serious about singing. The little hamlet, 16 km south of Swan Hill in Victoria’s mallee country, is in the limelight with the screening of a new documentary starring the town’s youngsters.

In 1951 the Lake Boga Primary School choir, led by singing teacher Jessie Arnold, took part in a choral competition to celebrate the Commonwealth Jubilee. The kids from the bush did so well that they were crowned Victoria’s best small primary school choir.

Sixty years later, Jessie Arnold, now known as Jessie Carmichael, returned to the same school to teach a new crop of kids how to sing.

There is an interesting Age article about Jessie Carmichael and the reunion of the 1951 choir. The Bush Telegraph podcast updates the story and underscores the role music does and could play in our lives.

I am struck by the didactic power of stories like Seriously Singing and their potential to share passionate teaching. I am draw to such performance stories as I think the resonate strongly with sport contexts.

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