Campaigning to save Fanfare and MOST

Fanfare is a statewide orchestra and band competition held every two years. State school instrumental music students showcase their skills and musical aptitude, and work hard to try to win the grand final.

I played in two grand final winning orchestras, in 1992 and 1994. The program was great. Were it not for Fanfare I would never have had the experience of playing in a full symphony orchestra, with repertoire such as Mozart‘s Marriage of Figaro, Stravinsky‘s Petrushka and Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake. Because I had that experience, I was able to play in various community orchestras and ensembles, as well as my university orchestra. Others who have participated in orchestras and ensembles for Fanfare have had similar experiences beyond that first school experience.

As well as the obvious music benefits the participants learned discipline, enjoyed incentives to work hard to improve, learned the type of mutual reliance and teamwork necessary to make a large ensemble work together, learned respect for teachers and leaders of the musical community, and enjoyed the camaraderie that came from working with peers towards a common goal.

At my school we were lucky to have an excellent conductor, who was this year belatedly recognised in the Queen’s birthday honours for his contribution over many, many years. He was supported by dedicated music teaching staff who pushed students very hard. Because of those music teachers’ commitment, many students went on to successful careers in music, and many more simply carried the enjoyment of music with them into their adult lives.

MOST is a program for musically outstanding students – providing them with intensive support and learning. Another great program that has turned out many who became professional musicians.

Recently, the LNP state government cut funding for both of these programs.

Like thousands of other people in this state I was very unhappy with that decision. Because of the pressure brought to bear by, literally, thousands of Queenslanders, the government has come up with a band-aid solution – funding from the private sector for the next session of Fanfare in two years time (though not for MOST).

Like many others who believe in a  high-quality public education system, I strongly believe these programs ought to be publicly funded as part of the school curriculum.

If you stumble across this blog and are interested in this issue, you can find information and links here: http://www.facebook.com/SaveFanfare, including links to an official Queensland parliament petition to restore funding for Fanfare and MOST, and a much bigger Facebook group dedicated to campaigning to restore both programs.

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