ACT News


One man's junk is another's orchestra

You might see it as junk, treasure, a way to furnish your home or a useful place to dump household rubbish. But when it comes to the tip, Graeme Leak sees an orchestra.

The Melbourne composer was at Tiny's Green Shed at Mitchell on Friday scouting material before his famed Noise Orchestra workshops that will form part of Canberra's birthday bash on March 11.

Leak will be running three Junk and Found percussion workshops on the day - at 12.30pm, 1.30pm and 2.30pm - which are open to all ages and skill levels, and you only need to attend one to be ready to join the Noise Orchestra when it sets off on an afternoon parade around the lake.

''You'll learn a couple of simple rhythms and then you go in the parade at about 4 o'clock,'' he said.

It's a concept he devised during his time teaching performance to a disparate group of musicians at La Trobe University in Melbourne.

''I had a class that was very mixed - I had opera singers and folk guitarists and rock players and all sorts of different instruments all in the one room together,'' he said.


''I used to run this rhythm class and call it Noise Orchestra. You just play low, medium or high, and it doesn't matter which note you play on your instrument.''

Leak will be especially busy for the birthday bash, as he's also curating and producing the flotilla of boats and performers that will be drifting around the perimeter of the lake all day at 10-minute intervals. ''I've put a whole lot of different kinds of artists onto a range of boats. We've got four commercial vessels and three traditional boats and some kayaks and some dragon boats,'' he said.

Performers will include a crooner, an opera singer, a recorder ensemble, and Madam Lark and her bird calls, and later in the afternoon the music will be jazz, funk, soul and lounge.

Leak's friend and collaborator Chris Lesser will be on hand to conduct the Noise Orchestra when the parade kicks off in the afternoon.

''We're going to cater for about 120, with a maximum of 40 people per session,'' Leak said. ''There'll be a big basket of clapsticks and a big basket of shakers, and a big basket of small metal objects, and a whole lot of 20-litre tins and some wheelie bins and bigger objects like that.''

The manager of Tiny's Green Shed had offered to lend anything he needed for the project, and Mr Leak said he had found some good contenders for the orchestra in the form of a collection of silver shop dummies.

People will be able to register online to be part of Noise Orchestra closer to the day.