It may look like a simple community church from the outside, but the walls of Willetton Uniting Church harbour a long and storied history of supporting some of Western Australia’s great classical musicians.
Within the warm, welcoming halls of the church sits a simple set-up, a few pianos, a PA system, some pews.
But this space has seen the growing careers of many national and international pianists and singers, many of who call the area home.
“This particular church has a very strong musical background,” concert organiser Lyn Muir said.
“The musical director here is a retired musical specialist who has worked with a number of different schools.
“She and a few of us have been doing this kind of thing on a low-key basis for about 30 years at this point, so it’s become very-well established.”
Ms Muir said part of the reason the church had continued to regularly hold recitals was the shared love of music in the church, something which comes from a variety of different sources.
“We had just moved to Victoria when I joined the church here, where I had been helping out my daughter’s young family and working as a piano teacher,” she said.
“To come into an environment like this was very important for me, because that drive you have – that drive to teach, and to pass on your knowledge and skills to future generations – that never goes away.”
Ms Muir said the church’s recitals have become a great resource for pianists, singers and other musicians, who jump at the chance to play in front of a receptive audience.
“One of the priorities for us in organising the series is to give those musicians who are looking to make the next step the experience of playing in front of an audience,” she said.
“There’s a multitude of great musicians out there, but many of them only get the experience of playing inside their own bedrooms for so long.
“We want to provide them the experience of playing in front of a crowd, not a big crowd, but one big enough to start giving them the confidence to play in front of people.”
While Ms Muir attests the concerts are “low-key”, there’s no denying they potentially have played a big part in WA’s healthy music industry being what it is today.
“We’ve had students from WAAPA (The West Australian Academy of the Performing Arts), we’ve had people join the West Australian Symphony Orchestra, we’ve had people go on to international success,” she said.
“Not to say that’s down to us; where simply giving them the time and space to practice and to hone their craft.”
Willetton Uniting Church holds their Classical Piano Recital on Sunday September 16, while the variety concert is held on Sunday 11 November.
Both concerts start at 10.45am, following Sunday service.
For more information contact Ms Muir on 0418 923 404 or email [email protected]