HIGH profile, local and internationally renowned performers – including Melbourne Symphony Orchestra’s associate principal flute Wendy Clarke – will perform at Mount Martha to raise money for disadvantaged Mornington Peninsula families.
The event is being run by the Mornington Peninsula Foundation, a place-based philanthropic organisation whose mission is to support peninsula communities to break the cycle of disadvantage.
MPF executive director Stephanie Exton said the foundation – which is independently financed by the George Hicks Foundation – started in 2017 after ABS statistics revealed people being severely disadvantaged despite the perception that it was a wealthy region.
The data showed that in some parts of the peninsula the incomes of one in four households were below the poverty line.
The foundation then put together programs that centred around education as the starting point for change, supporting literacy and oral language programs through partnerships with the community, and helping families to access music education.
Exton, who connects donors and government service providers with community organisations and businesses, said the foundation had started a three-year partnership with Rosebud Secondary College and was integrating this work with Eastbourne and Tootgarook primary schools.
With a focus on literacy and a phonics-based approach, the foundation works closely with the schools to address the underlying oral language issues in the early years, the learning and wellbeing in upper primary and literacy and engagement in early secondary.
Exton said language and literacy were important to the way a child progressed through schooling and life in general.
In addition, the foundation’s music education programs currently support 500 children in the Hastings area and 50 in the Rosebud area.
“From observations and attendance of the music programs, we know that young people are benefiting so much from these programs, music has such an emotional connection and is a great way to engage children,” Exton said.
MPF music education teacher Adrian Allen, who works in four primary schools and one secondary school in the Western Port region, said music was unique in the way it engages all parts of the brain.
“Unlike maths class, for example, where students sit down and focus on a task, a music class activates all the senses,” he said.
“Music requires listening, moving, thinking, creating all at once. The brain just lights up, every part of the brain is active.
“It’s amazing to see what happens with the students. Their confidence and passion for music grows, and the development of skills helps them feel good about themselves.”
Allen has many stories of children who have overcome anxiety or other challenges to participate in the music program.
Exton, who was a professional musician for many years, said these life changing programs would not exist without the support of fundraising, donations and foundations like MPF.
“I myself was a recipient of a cello scholarship when I was 11, and it changed my life in so many ways,” she said.
The event repertoire features a piece by Dvorak, The American Quartet, originally written for a string quartet. It has been arranged by Emmanuel Pahud, principal flute Berlin Philharmonic for a flute to join the strings and hasn’t been performed before in Australia.
The performance will be from 3pm-5pm on Sunday 27 November at Mount Martha Community House.
Bookings: trybooking.com and search Music in Mt Martha.
All contributions are tax deductible. Booking is essential.
First published in the Southern Peninsula News – 15 November 2022