Braidwood kids unite to feel the beat

It's been six months since the Braidwood Youth Performing Arts Association (BYPAA) could organise any performing arts activities for Braidwood's kids - between the bushfires and the pandemic - but in the school holidays we were back in action and what a wonderful thing it was!

In the break, BYPAA organised two school holiday workshop activities to engage and challenge our talented youth.

They were delivered across four days, at the Braidwood Life Centre, to primary aged kids in the mornings and high-school aged kids in the afternoons.

We are especially pleased to have received some funding from Create NSW's Country Arts Support Program (CASP), a funding program administered by Regional Arts NSW.

With this funding BYPAA were able to engage two very talented and experienced local musicians and tutors, Kelly Sturgiss and Michael Simic, to hold a fantastic three-day Making Music Workshop.

This funding, along with the generous donation of the venue by the Braidwood Life Centre, means we can support our local tutors as they deserve and keep participation very affordable for local families at less than $10 a day.

The Making Music Workshop exposed 20 participants to a whole range of musical instruments, giving them an opportunity to try out new things, experiment and practice.

The course also touched on song writing and dealt with the common fear of singing in a performance setting.

Perhaps the greatest outcome of the workshop was to lead the participants in learning how to listen to each other and play together as a band.

Perhaps the greatest outcome of the workshop was to lead the participants in learning how to listen to each other and play together as a band.

The three days culminated with a COVID-safe, open-air concert for parents and friends on the Life Centre forecourt.

The children had a chance to play a song or two that their "band" had composed and developed over the workshop.

The tutors were very pleased to witness the development of skills over the week that enabled the budding musicians to play music together, keeping time and responding to each other, rather than merely play instruments side by side.

Amazingly, many of the kids performed on instruments they'd never even touched before day one of the workshop.

The final day of workshops was a Dungeons and Dragons role-play gaming session with the wonderful Kirrily Burnett from Canberra.

Kirrily first led some D and D sessions for BYPAA during our "Festival of Fun" event held in January this year to harness a generous outflow of bush-fire relief support from artists, teachers and performers in Canberra.

Kirrily has an outstanding ability to guide children of different ages through an adventure fantasy, where the players get to make choices and act within the evolving events of the story as determined by the random dice roles.

The kids had a great time, and each got to take home their very own pouch of special gaming dice kindly donated by Roll With Advantage, a Melbourne based supplier.

Topping off a great week, BYPAA has been thrilled in recent days to receive two unexpected and greatly appreciated community donations to support the work we do for our marvelous youth.

Braidwood and Villages Tourism Association donated $100 from the sale of local products at the Tourist Information Centre.

In addition, BlazeAid volunteers who are currently camped at the Showground while they support landholders recovering from the bushfire damage, have been keeping a swear jar.

All those rude words have added up to $176.05!

BlazeAid have decided to donate the proceeds to support local youth and BYPAA is humbled to receive this donation on behalf of the local kids.

BYPAA's mission is to create positive opportunities for young people.

BYPAA's mission is to create positive opportunities for young people.

We achieve this by pulling together all these elements - donations, sponsorship, experienced tutors and dedicated volunteers - to engineer activities for the youth of Braidwood and wider district that develop their potential and support their well-being.

In this way they develop as artists and performers, but also as happy and productive individuals.

So, a huge thanks to everyone involved with us in this, but above all, thanks to the wonderful kids for being their awesome best... again!

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This story Braidwood kids unite to feel the beat first appeared on Goulburn Post.