It’s a long way from Bedgerabong Public School to the Sydney Opera House stage, but the young performers from the local small school took it in their stride.
Seven students from Bedgerabong joined fellow a group gathered from across the state to perform on the grand stage in the Small Schools Merimba Ensemble as part of the NSW Small Schools Choral Festival.
And while Bedgerabong school principal Paul Faulkner said they “took it in their stride”, only showing a few nerves as they actually went on stage, it was a pretty thrilling experience.
“When the audience applauds, it’s like a wall,” Mr Faulkner said.
“We experienced back stage.
“The kids came off very excited.”
For those who aren’t familiar with them, merimbas are basically a big, wooden xylophone. Each can be played by up to three students.
They’ve been a key part of the education program at Bedgerabong Public School for many years - and Forbes benefits on occasions like the River Arts Festival where they dazzled performers as part of the grand finale again this year.
But for the school it’s not only about the music.
“It’s mentoring as well,” Mr Faulkner said.
“The older students pass on their skills to the little ones … it’s a really big part of it, and they do take that responsibility on.
“These students were able to go to the Opera House because of the students before them."
The skills get passed from generation to generation at the school, which ensures the students are of the standard to be part of productions like the Opera House performance.
And the standard is high.
“They have to learn the performance song, which was Popcorn, but they have to learn about 16 songs, and multiple parts to multiple songs,” Mr Faulkner said.
Students scattered across the state prepare independently and via video conferencing before heading to Sydney the day before the performance.
There are groups in the state’s far north, mid-north coast and Armidale region.
They took their merimbas to Bondi Junction to rehearse and busk before taking to the big stage.
Kids also had plenty of opportunities to do plenty of Sydney sight-seeing.