Girgarre is a small town (pop 190) that serves the local (mainly) dairy farms near Shepparton in Victoria. It has suffered multiple setbacks in the last decade. Drought, falling milk prices and the closure of the local cheese factory resulted in half the population leaving, and with them the loss of amenities such as the supermarket, the butcher, the hairdresser and the corner shop. Not surprisingly, the community began to lose hope.
However, the townsfolk are positive and creative. To combat the malaise, music jams were started in the hall. This has flourished - now (ten years on) about 70 people turn up for the monthly meeting, and an annual music festival (the “Moosic Muster”) has been added to the calendar.
Recently the town applied for a major grant via the Small Town Transformations initiative. I am one of three artists who will work with the townspeople to transform the town with music and sound. We will create an interactive sound sculpture on the school boundary fence. The children, teachers, parents and I will work together to make and play the instrument and it will be the centrepiece of a community concert.
In addition I will be running a variety of music skills and instrument making workshops for residents and visitors. All of my activities will be located in the ex-supermarket which will become a music making and playing ‘shed’. Anyone can drop in and work on their creation, attend workshops or music skills classes, or help design and construct the school fence sound sculpture.
The project is wide ranging - more details can be found here.
I am really looking forward to being a part of Girgarre’s revival through music and sound. I will chronicle the project here so keep an eye!
18 December 2016
PS: we are collecting junk - if you want to donate anything please email email@example.com. Here is a list of the sorts of things we want