Crisis for Bellingen Youth Orchestra


Bellingen Youth Orchestra
Bellingen Youth Orchestra


I write this urgent plea for financial assistance on behalf of the Bellingen Youth Orchestra, the musicians & their teachers.  The musicians and teachers have an extraordinary opportunity to acquire from the Department of Health two demountable (portable) buildings for re-location from Bellingen Hospital to both the Bellingen Primary School and the Bellingen High School.

We understand that this asset (portables) currently owned by the Dept. of Health will be transferred to the schools as the new owners.  This transfer of ownership is not to the Dept. of Education & hence cannot be re-claimed & transferred to another school.

These portable buildings must be removed from the hospital site to allow the new Rehabilitation & Palliative Care wing to be built.  If the Dept. of Health were to undertake this removal we were advised that it was going to cost $50-60,000 – money that the budget for the new wing could not afford without cutting back on some of the health services built into the wing.  So in the words of Dr Trevor Cheney this initiative to transfer the portable buildings to the schools is a “Win, Win” for all parties.  The community receives a better equipped health service facility in the new wing and the schools music fraternity receives two much needed buildings.

You may ask why the schools need more buildings for the music students. Following are two teacher’s perspective on the answer to this question.

ANN PHELAN (Music Teacher & Conductor/Leader of the Bellingen Youth Orchestra)

‘Music Teachers at Bellingen High and Primary Schools are often seen teaching under trees, along walkways and in store rooms. This is due to the drastic shortage of spaces and the high demand for tuition.

Bellingen has long been renowned for its outstanding music program which has brought kudos to the town, the schools, families and students involved.

The solution to this problem will be alleviated by the two portable hospital buildings that will provide the much needed teaching spaces in our schools.’

LIZ SCOTT (Violin Teacher)

‘On Friday I teach string students all day at the public school. My place to teach is in the new hall, but it is ridiculous to consume such a facility for two students and their parent at a time.

Yesterday I moved five times, which involves me, my instrument, stands, music and students. This was because the hall was in use.

There are 10 specialist music teachers that visit the school each week to teach specific instruments e.g. cello, violin, woodwind, drumming, guitar, brass and keyboard.

For a tiny town like Bellingen this is most unusual. Our School prides itself on its excellence in music education and we receive many of our enrolments with families seeking this.

How these teachers continue to teach in such frustrating conditions where there are few tiny rooms available and we are always being moved out of one and into the next, I don’t Know.

There is also the sound factor and the Principal often has saxophones honking right by his office! These students learn in the court yard under a shade umbrella.

Our need for a music practice room is extreme and I will do all in my power to help raise the funds needed and organize labour, as I can.’

With the immediate support by the Bellingen Shire Community you can make this happen. The most expensive & challenging component of this initiative is the physical dismantling and transport of the two portable buildings to the designated locations.  $20,000 will make this happen. This money must be confirmed by Sunday 15th April 2012.

The musical future of many depends on your assistance. Please contact Liz Scott (6655 0505) or Ann Phelan (6655 9286) to arrange your generous gift.

Barbara Moore (Chair BHAG Inc.)