We're thrilled that Darren Percival is singing the lead vocals on the 2013 Music: Count Us In song, Keep On, which we will be releasing in just a few weeks!
Runner up on The Voice last year, Darren has been involved in the Australia music scene for years, performing as Mr Percival and collaborating with artists as diverse as Katie Noonan (this year's songwriting mentor!), James Morrison, Mahalia Barnes and more.
In 2004, Darren studied in New York City with Bobby McFerrin, focusing on vocal looping, after which he returned to Australia to pursue a solo career. Since 2003, Darren has released 3 solo albums as Mr Percival, his looping artist alter ego.
Darren speaks highly of his time at Chatswood High School, saying that his years studying music at school were "the foundation of my career. I didn't stop. Everyday learning how to perform and sing and play… it was a very inspiring time."
We're happy to welcome Darren to the Music: Count Us In family.
We are thrilled to announce that this year's songwriting mentor for Music: Count Us In is none other than the supremely talented Katie Noonan. Our lucky student songwriters will be working with her in Brisbane this week to create the 2013 Project Song!
Katie Noonan is one of Australia’s most versatile and beloved vocalists. A mother, singer, producer, songwriter, pianist and business woman, this 4 x ARIA Award winning and 6 x platinum selling songstress first received widespread praise as the angel-voiced songstress of indiepop band George and has since taken audiences on sublime excursions through Jazz, Pop and Classical music.
Her various releases include her folk trio’s self titled album ‘Elixir’, the No. 1 selling classical album ‘Two of a Kind’ with her mother Maggie, her gold-selling top ten solo album ‘Skin’ and the acclaimed ‘Songs of the Southern Skies.’
She has worked with the country’s top orchestras and jazz musicians, as well as a host of other artists, including Tim Finn, Don Walker, Sia Furler, Josh Pyke, Tom Shapcott, Gurrumul, Maori diva Whirimako Black, Sydney Symphony oboist Diana Doherty, young members of Brisbane's Voices of Birralee, Clare Bowditch and The Living End’s Chris Cheney. Always extending herself creatively,
Katie continued to explore new ground in 2012 by devising and composing a song cycle, which was the basis for collaboration with contemporary Circus group Circa. Together they melded this cycle into a remarkable physical theatre piece called Love-Song-Circus, which premiered to rave reviews at the Adelaide Cabaret Festival.
Always looking forward to new creative opportunities, Katie Noonan’s tireless unpredictability is matched only by her limitless versatility.
Four talented students from around Australia have been chosen to participate in the Music: Count Us In songwriting workshop next week. Here they are!
Abbey Slattery is in year 9 at Penleigh and Essendon Grammar School in Victoria. She attends Vocal Art Studios for singing lessons and Glee Club. As well as doing horse riding, yoga, netball and guitar lessons, Abbey has played piano since she was 8. She is a passionate song writer and is always carrying notes in her pockets with song ideas written on them. She says that music is the most important part of her life and is the way she expresses her emotions. Last year, her Glee Club performed at Disneyland and attended workshops with Disney and LA songwriters.
Aidan Rolfe is in year 12 at Kardinia International College in Geelong, where he is studying music. He is currently a vocalist and songwriter in the band Square One. He aspires to be a musician, and to write songs for different artists. Recently, Aidan has performed on the Main Stage at Minus18’s Same Sex Formal, to over 400 people. He has supported acts with Square One such as The Woohoo Revue and The Sweethearts, and performed at festivals such as Anglesea Music Festival, Aireys Open Mic and at the Queenscliff Music Festival, in the Freeza Battle of the Bands. Aidan enjoys writing diverse music, from funk, to indie, to ‘psychedelic – folk’.
Holly Winter has been learning piano for 7 years, taught herself ukulele recently and has being singing as long as she can remember. She had written a few songs here and there, but had never shown anyone her work until she entered Music: Count Us In. Holly is in the worship band at her school, as well as the band at her church. Aside from music, Holly also loves photography and film-making, English, Drama, Art, and even Science lessons at school. When she leaves school, she hopes to work in a creative field where she is free to express creative ideas and work with other creative people. Holly is in year 10 at Emmaus Christian College.
Blind virtually since birth, Ritchell Lim's heightened awareness of sound has helped her to create vibrant, exuberant and joyous music. Her passion for singing began at an early age where the already musically inclined Ritchell began singing in her local church. She performed her first concert at the age of eight playing piano and singing gospel songs which inspired her to start writing her own material. Now 17, Ritchell is working on completing high school and also enjoys being part of a community band in Perth, singing, playing piano and writing original material. She attends Canning Vale College.
Registrations for Music: Count Us In are already open, with hundreds of schools signed up to learn, rehearse and sing the song that stops the nation! Registering costs nothing and gives teachers access to free professional development resources and workshops.
Music: Count Us In is for all schools: primary schools and high schools, State and independent, metropolitan, regional and remote, nationwide.
By now, most of you will have heard that Tina Broad is no longer the Director of Music: Count Us In. I’m thrilled to be stepping into her very impressive shoes and excited to be a part of this amazing program.
So, who am I? I’m a project manager, writer, events manager and singer based in Sydney. I’ve worked in some pretty diverse organisations, campaigning for the rights of people with disability, accessible arts education and GLBT rights. Music played a huge part in my own education and I continue to learn new and exciting ways to enjoy music, both as a performer and an audience member. Managing this program is a dream job!
But enough about me. The Music Council of Australia also has a new CEO, Chris Bowen, based in Brisbane. A world music specialist, Chris has been Director Dance and Music at Arts Queensland, and General Manager of two arts centres - The Judith Wright Centre of Contemporary Arts and Brisbane Powerhouse.
We will soon be opening up the program for school registrations and song submissions, so stay tuned by signing up for the Music: Play for Life enews or following us on facebook and twitter. It's going to be a great year!
Director, Music: Play for Life
It was the Song that stopped a nation as more than half a million students gathered at the same time on the same day in schools all over Australia to stand (or sit or dance!) together as Different People and unite in music making. Here's a quick tour around some of the events.
Find out what Peter Garrett has to say about MCUI & the importance of early school music education.
Well done to the 600,000+ students and teachers who took part in the culminating performances around the country on Thursday 1st November 2012. It was the biggest program yet. It made a loud noise to celebrate music education in our schools and helped make the call for more of it! Thanks to everyone who took part.
Bellingen Youth Orchestra puts its twist on Different People
Sydney musician, Josh Pyke, spent a day mentoring three lucky students for Music: Count Us In 2012. “I’ve been a big fan of Josh Pyke’s music,” said Sun Kim, who is in year 12 at James Ruse Agricultural High School in Sydney “so to be able to work with him on songwriting is a dream come true. The fact that 600,000 people are going to end up performing this song hasn’t really sunk in for me yet.”
Joining Sun and Josh were Jorja Bromley, year 10, Shepparton High, regional VIC and Ryan Chelva, year 12, Heathdale Christian College, VIC. The song, Different People (Stand Together) was produced by John Foreman and recorded at Studios 301 in Sydney by instrumentalists and vocalists representing schools all over NSW.
Lead vocalists this year are Kai Jacobs (year 11, Ulladulla High) and Joe Mungovan (year 12, Kiama High).
Participation and access to all sheet music, audio files and other resources is, as always, FREE to registered schools.