Music made to Bloom

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SPRING’S flowers will be blooming and so will the young musicians, springing up everywhere for the Ainslie Arts Centre’s Bloom Festival.

For music practice is in full flourish in Canberra, and much of that activity is focused on the former Ainslie Primary School, gearing up to be a major musical precinct, housing the Australian National Eisteddfod Society, Canberra Youth Music, Music for Everyone, the Young Music Society, Pro-Musica and a host of local ensembles hiring space.

This is the third Bloom Festival, and if Ainslie resident, Canberra International Music Festival director Chris Latham, has anything to do with it, big things are to come.

September marks the 150th birthday of John Smith Murdoch, who designed Old Parliament House, Hotel Canberra (now the Hyatt), Kingston Power Station (now the Glassworks), the Hotel Kurrajong, the Fitters Workshop (now who knows?) and the two arts centres.

It’s fitting that “Bloom” begins at 7pm on Friday, September 7 with “Remembering JSM” – cocktails, an architecture lecture by Rosemarie Willett and a concert featuring Latham on violin, Elaine Loebenstein and Adam Cook on piano and Concurso Internacional de Guitarra winner Callum Henshaw on guitar, all progressing through coloured-coded rooms. At 10pm, there’s jazz with the Alex Raupach Dectet.

The “Remembering JSM” concert will be repeated on September 8 at 7.30pm, followed at 10pm by jazz featuring Canberra quintet The Exceptions.

Open Day is on Sunday from 11am-5pm with favourite Gorman House stalls relocating for the occasion, youth concerts all day and a Music for Everyone tutor’s showcase concert at 5.30pm.

NINETEEN-year-old Anneliese McGee-Collett will be performing the first movement of the Elgar Cello Concerto in the Sunday MFE tutors’ concert, conducting a “come-and-try” cello workshop and trying out an original cello made by instrument-maker Hugh Withycombe on Open Day.

She is one of the many lively young musicians sharing her skills with the kids at Ainslie, earning pocket money to help put her through music/law studies.

With her cello students aged seven and an ensemble in the 16-17 age range, she’s enjoying the task of getting them to surmount the challenge and size of the instrument, encouraging her young charges to “try to make the nicest sounds you can”.

McGee-Collett started playing when her school’s kindergarten string teacher told her: “You’re the tallest, you can play the cello”. She now studies with former “CityNews” Artist of the Year, David Pereira, for whose tutelage she came to Canberra.

“CityNews” is a proud sponsor of Bloom Festival, September 7-9 at Ainslie Arts Centre, corner of Elouera and Donaldson Streets, Braddon. Bookings to 6230 5880, info at  www.cimf.org.au

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Helen Musa
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