In 2001, the QYO Big Band had just finished its second tour to regional North Queensland. As part of the partnership between Comalco and Bundaberg Sugar, the band was formed to entertain audiences in Weipa, Mapoon, Arakun, Babinda, Mareeba and Atherton. The band formed incredible bonds and musical friendships that are still cherished to this day. Although the band was not considered an official part of QYO and could not yet afford a conductor to run the band, the students were adamant that the band would continue to rehearse and serve QYO where and when it could. The band organised (without social media) a time to rehearse and without fail, the students all agreed on a time but the venue was still to be decided. Being a Big Band, rehearsal at home was not an option with limited space, and, as we were all students, we could not draw upon the our alma mater. Thankfully, The Old Museum was available and QYO was generous enough to schedule a rehearsal each week in Studio 2. The band begged and borrowed music to rehearse and thoroughly enjoyed each other’s musical company. Two years later, in 2003, QYO was given permission to play as part of the all groups ‘Finale’ concert at QPAC cementing their place as part of the QYO ensembles. If it were not for the dedication of those students and the availability and generosity of QYO to provide the Big Band with The Old Museum as a rehearsal venue, we would not have had a platform for some of Australia’s finest young musicians to grow and develop in the Big Band idiom. Since formally existing as part of the QYO organisation, the Big Band has performed with James Morrison, Tom Burlinson, Andy Firth and Naomi Price. Amongst the students that have benefited from the Big Band program are Adelina Martinez (James Morrison Scholarship winner and current singer with James Morrison as a direct result of a performance with James Morrison), Dave Khafagi (Principle Trumpet ASO), Ben Beavis (Band of the Grenadier Guards), Lt David Coit (Officer in Charge of the Australian Navy Band Melbourne) and countless other performers and educators around Australia and the world. Thank you, The Old Museum.
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