We were overwhelmed with talent for this year's MCUI Songwriting Competition, so we chose five talented students to work with recently announced mentor, Harry Angus on the program song. They will be meeting at our new offices in the Erskineville Town Hall in April to write the song, which will be launched in June.
Emily Claxton – Eden Marine High School - Eden, NSW
Emily has been playing music since she was six. Having lived in many different places whilst growing up including Cobargo, Cobar, Pambula and Schio in Northern Italy, Emily funded her passion by busking and has played and sung in many places, from outside shopping centres to the Sydney Opera House. Emily has been a member of the Gondwana National Childrens Choir, Moorambilla Choirs and a number of school choirs and bands. Emily also enjoys fitness and is currently studying to become a personal trainer. She has been writing songs since she was nine and has been guided by many influences including her circumstances, surroundings, experiences, moods and friendships.
Angus Gill - St Columba Anglican School - Port Macquarie, NSW
Angus is an award winning singer/songwriter and a multi-instrumentalist, including acoustic and electric guitars, harmonica, drums, banjo, mandolin, ukulele, stomp box and bass. He has already performed with multi Golden Guitar winning Country artists Adam Harvey, Catherine Britt and Pete Denahy, and appeared in Golden Guitar winner Felicity Urquhart’s 2010 film clip titled “The Girl in the Mall.” He won the 2011 Australian Children’s Music Foundation (ACMF) National Songwriting Competition and in 2013 Angus was honoured to take home a Tamworth Songwriter’s Association (TSA) Junior Songwriter of the Year award. He also has his own show on 2WAY FM 103.9 Radio Station.
Kaelyn Girao - The Friends' School - Hobart, TAS
Music has always been Kaelyn’s passion, from the moment she picked up a guitar when she was 8 and started borrowing books on how to play from the State library. Her mum taught her the basic chords and she worked hard to learn how to play by herself. She now also plays the drums, piano, and clarinet, and has started taking voice lessons this year. Last year, Kaelyn won the top prize in the ACMF Songwriting competition for her song, "Just A Crush." Kaelyn believes that music has helped her to be responsible, and to manage her time well with homework, after school activities, friends and family.
Winona Kennedy - Immanuel College – Adelaide, SA
Winnie has been singing for as long as she can remember and has performed in school and state choirs, as well as participating in the SA Festival of Music over a number of years. She has been learning piano for 4 years, but has dabbled in other instruments along the way including clarinet, guitar, autoharp and, most recently, french horn. Her musical interests and influences are diverse and range from indie folk, to country, to pop. Her favourite artists include Lorde, Dolly Parton, and First Aid Kit. Winnie is passionate and enthusiastic about music and performing, and has recently started writing her own songs. Songwriting enables her to be creative and gives her an outlet to express ideas. Winona is a music scholarship student at Immanuel College.
Nathan Wendt - John Paul College - Coffs Harbour, NSW
Nathan’s parents helped him develop a strong passion for music. In Year 6, Nathan took up the trombone. He has also learnt piano, vocals and theory, as well as fiddling around with guitar and drums. Nathan’s enjoyment for music led him to begin composing in Year 8. Some of his major influences include Coldplay, Muse, Radiohead, Evermore and The Cat Empire. Nathan is part of the school ensemble and has also participated in community bands and orchestras. As well as music, he enjoys sports such as cricket, soccer and golf. After school Nathan hopes to continue studies at university while staying involved in the music scene.
We are thrilled to announce our 2014 songwriting mentor, Harry James Angus, member of The Cat Empire and talented solo artist. For Harry, music has always been a constant – from his early years as a member of the National Boys’ Choir and forced piano practice as a child, to the day he picked up a trumpet as a young schoolboy (because all of the saxophones were taken) and entered the intoxicating world of jazz. After immersing himself in performing in various school jazz troupes, the era of playing in a café attached to a furniture store for $70-and-free-focaccias in his late teens was swiftly exchanged for rapid success in 2001. It was during that year that Harry joined forces with five other jazz mates to create the multi-platinum international touring sensation - The Cat Empire. More than a decade on, Harry now juggles being a father with a multitude of musical projects. In an article he wrote for The Age newspaper last year, Harry gave some great advice to music students:
"I can recommend music as a path in life. You can do it in your spare time, the way Einstein did, the way millions of people do. I know bricklayer blues guitarists and rapping lawyers, jazz guitarist doctors and opera-singing scientists. They’re all great artists. Or, you can do it full time, like I do. To be a musician, you have to have talent, and you have to have vision, and contrary to popular opinion, you need to work hard at it too."
Harry will work with 5 talented students and Program Ambassador, John Foreman, to write this year's song. We can't wait to see what they come up with!
104 talented students submitted their work for the 2014 songwriting competition. The entries will now be judged by a panel of experts including program ambassador, John Foreman, music educator, Margie Moore, MCA Chairperson, Michael Smellie and Program Director, Maeve Marsden. Next week, a small group of talented students will find out they've been selected to co-write the song that stops the nation!
We are pleased to announce that we achieved record school participation numbers in 2013, with more than 2,150 schools and over half a million students participating. Thank you to all the wonderful teachers, students, parents, crew and celebrity guests who made Music: Count Us In happen. We will shortly be opening our songwriting competition for 2014, as well as school registration. In the mean time, please complete our Teacher Survey, which was emailed to all participating schools.