by Julia Baker
BUDDING musicians from Chinchilla Christian College will pack up their instruments and travel to Toowoomba this weekend to hone their talent with conductors and tutors from the Queensland Conservatorium Griffith University.
Five students from Chinchilla Christian College have been selected to take part in the inaugural State Honours Ensemble Program (SHEP) Darling Downs, which brings together 110 secondary school students from 13 schools across the region.
Music teacher Maria Cousins nominated the school and five students were accepted to take part in the prestigious program.
Chinchilla Christian College students Caley Wales, Ryan Dolbel, Erin Redgwell, Libby Prentice and Sophie Evans are set to take part in the intensive three day program followed by a grand finale concert at The Glennie School this weekend.
"It's very exciting and it's outstanding because not everyone is accepted. Any school can nominate but the program has a high standard to reach to get in,” Ms Cousins said.
She said taking part in the program is a unique opportunity for students from regional areas who play an instrument in a small school ensemble.
"Our band is rather small and we have instrumental parts missing everywhere... they will gain the experience of working in bigger ensembles and orchestras and they will have some wind ensembles as well, with expert tutors from the conservatorium as well as some guest conductors from around Australia and overseas.”
Chinchilla Christian College principal Nathan McDonald said the school is honoured to have five students who met the program's entry criteria.
"It's a bit boost in their confidence to be selected for a program like this. It's a great experience and it fuels the passion they have for music already,” Mr McDonald said.
"And some of them are interested in careers in music, so it may be a bit of a stepping stone for that.
"It's the first time we've been involved with the SHEP program... and being just one of 13 schools on the Darling Downs who is involved; to have five students at a school like ours is quite an honour and it says a lot about our music program and the teachers who are involved with it.”