Theatre / “Australia Day”, Canberra Repertory, until 2 December. Reviewed by JOHN LOMBARD.
IT’S just over two years since “CityNews” first visited percussion guru Gary France at his newly established Groove Warehouse in Hume.
Now France and his composer wife Sandy are expanding their business, with a focus on adult classes.
Although it is the Groove Warehouse’s proud boast that it has pupils from kindergarten age to 60, Gary has noticed a strange phenomenon.
“This year, 59 and 60-year-olds have been coming out of the woodwork, not so much to learn drums as to learn rhythm,” he says. But he’s also noticed that many of them have time on their hands during the daylight hours.
During the current enrolment period, he and Sandy are making sure that there are “absolute beginners’ classes” available, great for community groups he thinks and, for the really dedicated, there’s a chance to learn to read music, too.
But the big news is that Sandy and Gary are introducing piano and keyboard classes to be run by Sandy.
“We are setting up a special keyboard studio and it’s a big investment to have properly weighted keyboards,” he says. It will be matched by an online learning portal, “like a university,” Gary says. As a former head of the ANU School of Music, he should know all about that.
Gary’s sheer enthusiasm for everything in his suite of studios and shop which in 2015 we dubbed “a wonderland of drums” has not abated. To demonstrate that percussion manifests itself everywhere, he plays some windchimes, seizes a rattle and whirls a piece of conduit pipe around to make a weird wind sound.
“We still believe in having fun,” Gary says. “Our approach is no-nonsense, but we leave nobody behind… and when you come in, you feel like you’re part of the family.”
The Groove Warehouse, 5/1 Sawmill Circuit, Hume, all information and enrolments to groovewarehouse.com.au