Education Chamber Orchestra turns 21 during WASO Education Week


Alex Millier (clarinettist), Cameron Brook (tuba) and Joan Wright (double bass). Picture: Andrew Ritchie d455231
Alex Millier (clarinettist), Cameron Brook (tuba) and Joan Wright (double bass). Picture: Andrew Ritchie d455231

WASO will mark an important milestone during the company’s Education Week 2016 next week as its Education Chamber Orchestra (EChO) celebrates turning 21.

Tuba player Cameron Brook joined WASO in 1983 and has been part of EChO from the beginning.

He said the past 21 years had been quite a journey of introducing music to youngsters in Perth and regional WA.

“A few people thought we could do more in terms of what these days they call ‘education and outreach’,” Brook said.

“In a perfect world there would be lots of money to tour the entire orchestra around regional areas of WA, but that perfect world didn’t even exist financially 21 years ago.

“We go out to schools or put concerts on and give children the chance to at least see one of each instrument in the orchestra.

“They also get the chance to play some; they get a genuine, hands-on and up-close experience with orchestral instruments.”

Brook said there had been many highlights with EChO and the most cherished moments often happened out of Perth.

“You experience what I’m about to say to some extent at any of the concerts,” he said.

“But when you get up into the Kimberley, which we did in 1996 and the ABC did a documentary on it, you watch those kids see and experience these instruments live for the first time.

“It’s an immediate connection and a reminder of the wonder of music.”

EChO, which features 15 musicians on violins, flute, clarinet, oboe, bassoon, french horn, trumpet, trombone, tuba, percussion and harp, will celebrate by performing two Kids’ Cushion Concerts for children up to six years on Saturday, June 25, during Education Week 2016.

A new double-bass, hand-made by WASO bassist and luthier Andrew Tait, will also be given to the ensemble, with many EChO alumni in attendance.

Other Education Week performances include The Rusty Orchestra and Peter and the Wolf.

More at www.waso.com.au.