Junkyard orchestra launches soundshell

April 09, 2018

A 'junkestra' will be performing a musical premiere at the grand opening of the Gargarro Soundshell in Girgarre.

THE grand opening of Girgarre’s Gargarro Soundshell is finally here.

And it’ll sure sound sweet.

Musicians from Echuca, Kyabram, Girgarre, Bendigo and beyond are gathering to mark the occasion on Saturday by performing a musical premiere.

The piece, ‘Spirit Rising’, was created by international composer Graeme Leak, who has travelled all the way from the UK to teach it to some of our region’s musicophiles.

And forget violins, bassoons and harpsichords.

Most of the musicians will be using instruments created from recycled materials – also known as a ‘junkestra’.

Many of the budding musicians had little to no previous musical experience when they joined the group, while others have honed their skills through the popular monthly ‘Jigarre Jamming’ singalong in the Girgarre Hall.

The public workshop program has attracted roughly 70 participants, aged all the way from 12 to 83.

The up-cycled instruments are a mix of drums, percussion and strings.

Mr Leak’s designs have also inspired local instrument makers Wallace Williams and Peter Gibson.

Peter has been building up-cycled orchestra instruments for two years, while 83-year-old retired farmer Wallace has crafted a violin from sheet metal which will be featured at the soundshell opening.

Other instruments appearing in the orchestra include cattle-wash drums played with mallets made from sports balls and broom handles, a set of ‘fire bells’ (cut-down fire extinguishers tuned to play with the strings) and an array of smaller percussion creations.

Plus there’ll be a traditional double bass, accordion, whistles, recorders and flutes to carry the melodies.

The 40-minute performance will also feature cameo appearances from regional groups including the CFA, Girgarre Line Dancers and the Rushworth and District Concert Band.

The Gargarro Soundshell grand opening will be held on Saturday, April 14.

It is a free event, with food vans on site. Bring your own drinks and a camping chair or blanket.

Gates open at 6pm with pre-show entertainment kicking off at 6.45pm.

The concert starts at 7.30pm, with audience members invited to join in a ‘Jigarre Jam’ singalong afterwards.

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