Next-gen musical talent unearthed

Next-gen musical talent unearthed

Australia’s next generation of musical talent has been unearthed in Mount Gambier.

After three days of intensive music making, the winners of Generations in Jazz, and some of Australia’s finest young Jazz musicians, have been discovered.

Starting on Friday and continuing across the weekend, more than 4000 aspiring young musicians from across Australia competed for a number of awards and scholarships.

In the secondary schools competitions, the winners were City of Mount Gambier Division One Stage Band Award: St Peter’s College (SA); District Council Grant Division One Large Vocal Ensemble Award: Wilderness School (SA); District Council Grant Division One Small Vocal Ensemble Award: Wesley College – St Kilda Road Campus (Vic).

The James Morrison Jazz Scholarship sponsored by Benara Pastoral was awarded to South Australian guitarist Kallan Francis, while the Generations in Jazz Vocal Sponsorship sponsored by ANZ went to Ava McDermott from Victoria.

Generations in Jazz Music Director Jordan Murray said this year’s young musicians were yet again some of the finest the event has ever seen.

“Every year I wonder how we’re going to top the previous year, and yet every year we manage to unearth even more incredible talent,” he said.

“The talent these kids have is literally beyond belief. And I’m not just talking about the winners, who have deservedly been recognised as the best in Australia, but the general level of talent and musicianship on display here this year has been truly mind-blowing.”

Mr Murray said there was also an important message for all those competing over the weekend, and those who might consider competing in future years.

“I do want to add, as one of our feature performers Migiwa Miyajima said during her performance, while the winners deserve all the praise they receive, not winning at an event like Generation in Jazz is most definitely not the end of the road,” he said.

“Migiwa reminded us all that she never won any awards when she was starting out but has since gone on to be a six time Grammy nominee. So it’s all part of the music journey.”

Generations in Jazz board member Kylie Boston thanked the local community for their support and in particular, the small army of volunteers who helped to make this such a special event for everyone involved.

“Our volunteers have been absolutely amazing again this year. Some of them we all see, providing meals or helping people to their seats in the venues, but behind the scenes there’s many, many more all working together to make this event the biggest and best of its kind in Australia,” she said.

It’s easy to forget what a spanner in the works the COVID pandemic was for a few years, so to be back to such a massive event after just our second year back, is an incredible effort by everyone involved.

“On behalf of the GIJ board, I want to say how grateful we all are, not only to our selfless volunteers, but to the wider community who embrace this event.

“It’s a wonderful example of our Limestone Coast hospitality and we’re genuinely lucky to have an event of this size here in our region.”

In addition to the numerous performances by school students, the feature concerts on Friday and Saturday evenings were another highlight of the festival, proving extremely popular with both jazz lovers, local and interstate music lovers alike.

The Friday night welcome concert featured larger-than-life brass collective the Hot Potato Band who genuinely set a new standard for high energy performances at the festival, with crowd favourite and Australian music icon Kate Ceberano headlining Saturday night’s concert.

In a unique, one of a kind performance, she was joined for a number of songs by up and coming, ARIA award winning artist, Budjerah who performed a combination of classic jazz standards as well as a few more contemporary songs with a jazz twist thanks to the Generations in Jazz Big Band.

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