The stage at the Grow the Music community concert hosted a variety of music styles on Friday night, exhibiting the talents of upcoming artists from the Aboriginal community.
The community hall of the Wallaga Lake Koori Village was at capacity for the concert, with the performance projected live to a screen on the outside of the building for those who couldn’t get in.
Special guest Robbie Bundle enchanted the crowd with his soulful country songs, crafted over 35 years in the music and songwriting industry.
Other guests included CJ Leon, dubbed the Black Elvis, who didn’t hold back as he belted out the King’s songs. Rapper Gabadoo has been touring festivals in the region, but returned to perform at Wallaga Lake for the Grow the Music concert.
Tekeisha Thomas drew applause from the crowd, and perhaps a few tears, as she hit all the right notes in her cover of Hallelujah.
Grow the Music program participants had people clapping along to their rhythmic cups routine, working the everyday kitchen objects into their catchy percussion performance.
Other performances incorporated soul, rock and choir performance that lit up the stage.
A short film detailed a recent trip Grow the Music mentor Warren Foster took to outback Aboriginal communities to spread the program further.
“This program changes your mind and the way you see things,” Mr Foster said in the video.
“I was given this and now it is my turn to give it back.”
Mr Foster has been studying at the University of Wollongong, and brought an improved knowledge of sound engineering to the Grow the Music program this year.
After the video, Mr Foster addressed the crowd and dedicated this year’s concert to Bernard Parsons, who passed away recently.
Grow the Music founder and program manager Lizzy Rutten congratulated all the the performers and rewarded the participants with instruments including keyboards, guitars and even the drum kit from off the stage.
Grow the Music, supported by South East Arts, has hosted intensive music and recording workshops at Wallaga Lake for three years. This year the program incorporated the Eden community for the first time.
The Grow the Music artists will also perform at at Giiyong Grow the Music Concert at Jigamy, Eden in the lead up to the Giiyong Festival taking place in September 2018.