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The 7.30 Report - Orchestra Tunes In (2005)

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Violins not guns education content clip 1

Original classification rating: PG. This clip chosen to be G

Clip description

The Australian Chamber Orchestra under its leader, renowned violinist Richard Tognetti, has set up an outreach program for mentoring young teenagers. The musicians bring their music practice and music appreciation to a high school at Cabramatta in the western suburbs of Sydney where there is a huge multi-cultural population mix. The reporter interviews Tognetti as well as students and staff from the high school. There is also a comment from the NSW Premier, Bob Carr.

Curator’s notes

This exerpt from one of the stories in the 31 March 2005 edition of The 7.30 Report cleverly combines a number of issues. It looks at the issues of one of Sydney’s troubled suburbs with a fresh eye, involves the then State Premier Bob Carr, and gives us a glimpse of one of Australia’s leading performers, Richard Tognetti, in a heart-warming human-interest story, strong enough to hold our attention despite the fairly basic production values found on a daily current affairs show.

Teacher’s notes

provided by The Le@rning FederationEducation Services Australia

This clip shows two interviewees describing the multicultural community of Cabramatta in south-west Sydney and another working with young people. It opens with a street scene that includes the then New South Wales premier Bob Carr praising changed attitudes in the community. The scene shifts to Cabramatta High School where the then principal Beth Godwin emphasises the cultural richness of the school. Richard Tognetti is seen describing and playing the violin with the school’s orchestra. A student, Huynh Luu Truong, acknowledges Tognetti’s achievements.

Educational value points

  • In this clip reporter Rebecca Baillie describes Cabramatta as 'this racial melting pot in Sydney’s west’ and cites 2001 Census data to confirm the accuracy of this description. Some 12,783 Cabramatta residents, or 65.6 per cent of the suburb’s population of 19,391, were born in non-English-speaking countries. Most come from Asian countries such as China, Vietnam and Cambodia, but previous waves of migration included people from Italy and Yugoslavia.
  • Cabramatta’s multicultural diversity, celebrated in the clip, cannot hide the suburb’s economic and social disadvantage at around the time of this program. The 2006 Census showed 50.6 per cent of Cabramatta residents aged 15 and over were in the labour force, the majority working in trades or as labourers, while 15.6 per cent were unemployed. The median weekly income for those aged 15 years and over was $248, compared with $466 for Australia as a whole.
  • The challenges facing the Cabramatta students from non-English-speaking backgrounds, as seen here, and the importance of educational success for their future are well understood by the local high school. Its Intensive English Centre caters to newly arrived students in developing their language and literacy skills, while at the same time valuing the first languages of its students, with Chinese and Vietnamese being among the languages offered up to Year 12.
  • This story in The 7.30 Report was occasioned by the launch of the Australian Chamber Orchestra’s (ACO) school’s workshop program, where schools are offered a once-only opportunity for their string instrumental students to work with ACO musicians. Sectional rehearsals are held in small groups before rehearsals as a full string orchestra and an informal performance with the ACO. Cabramatta High School was the first school involved in this project.
  • The ACO is one of the great chamber orchestras of the world and its artistic director, Richard Tognetti, is one of Australia’s foremost violinists. Founded in 1975, the ACO has developed along multiple musical pathways – as a chamber group, a small orchestra and a group of electro-acoustic musicians – in the same way as Tognetti has developed as a solo performer, conductor, director and co-composer.
  • Bob Carr, NSW premier from 1995 until 2005, used the occasion of his launch of the ACO program to 'talk up’ Cabramatta, an area that had been a source of ongoing bad press for his government because of its association with drugs and crime. Carr’s mention of the community 'working with police’ is a reference to the outcomes of an $18 million initiative he had announced in 2001 to overcome the police’s lack of success in dealing with organised crime in the area.
  • The title of the clip, 'Violins not guns’, comes from Tognetti’s final comment in the story (not heard in this clip) in which he expresses the hope that the ACO program will lead to 'more people on the streets with violins and fewer with guns’, a clear reference to the influence of organised crime on Cabramatta’s reputation.

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Terms & Conditions

australianscreen is produced by the National Film and Sound Archive. By using the website you agree to comply with the terms and conditions described here and elsewhere on this site. The NFSA may amend the 'Conditions of Use’ from time to time without notice.

All materials on the site, including but not limited to text, video clips, audio clips, designs, logos, illustrations and still images, are protected by the Copyright Laws of Australia and international conventions. ALL rights are reserved.

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