Students on a musical voyage

Students on a musical voyage

Voyager’s Scott Kay, Simone Dow, and Ash Doodkoorte groove along to Kelmscott High’s Metanoia.

It was Christmas in June at Kelmscott High when students got to unbox a huge haul of musical goodies with the nation’s favourite prog-metal superstars.

A very generous $12,000 sponsorship from the Community Bank Roleystone Karragullen was used to purchase an assortment of musical equipment, including electric guitars and drum kits, condenser and instrument mics and stands, and a recording interface – opening up paths for kids to explore a wider range of musical genres.

Head of Music Jake Bignell said the new instruments would make a huge difference.

“You can’t underestimate how much it will mean to have working, functional equipment,” he said.

“This school has traditionally provided a classical music education, but this allows us to cater to those students who are interested in more modern styles.”

The Community Bank’s Deb De Boer runs the Roleystone Musician’s Club, so this sponsorship was close to her heart.

“Plus, a large proportion of Roleystone kids attend Kelmscott High School, so we’re looking to build a stronger relationship with the school,” she said.

“And we thought this was a great opportunity for these kids,” branch manager Steve Chapman said.

Thanks to an additional $5000 City of Armadale community grant, auspiced by the Rotary Club of Armadale, the school was also able to fund a series of mentoring sessions for its music students by Eurovision rockers, Voyager.

The Voyager members have worked with two other schools, but Kelmscott High is the first public school to have reached out for their guidance.

“These are the moments you remember when you’re at school. So, to see Kelmscott do this for their students is awesome,” guitarist Scott Kay said.

“It should set a precedent – arts should be more represented in mainstream education,” guitarist Simone Dow said.

Lead singer Danny Estrin shows Metanoia’s Kirstyn Van Rijn how to play his keytar.

“I’ve taught high-end lawyers who say their one regret was not ever getting a chance to learn music before they got into the hustle and bustle of their career and just adult life in general,” Scott said.

“And most musicians in the industry that I know have found success outside of traditional education – so any real-life experience like this is majorly important.”

With the band taking a breather from touring while lead singer Danny Estrin battles cancer, the opportunity to share their industry knowledge to up-and-coming local musicians is something they’ve come to relish.

“This is not something we ever thought we’d do. But we’re really enjoying it – it’s been so rewarding,” Simone said.

Ash Doodkoorte with Mackenzie Thompson on drums

With nearly 20 years shredding solos for Voyager, Simone has chalked up a fair bit of wisdom about living life in the spotlight, gelling as a band, and playing the long game.

“Working together in a band is about communication – not just about the music,” she said.

“Yeah, being in a band is a lot like being in a long-term relationship,” Scott said.

“You’ve got to learn when to let the ego drop. And this is all stuff you learn as you go along,” Simone continues.

“Imparting that knowledge might help them to not make the same mistakes we did.”

For the students being mentored, building a relationship with people who have skin in the game has been invaluable.

Kai Davidson has been playing with her band Metanoia for a bit over a year. They’ll be headlining the school’s science convention this year and are working with Voyager to prepare for that performance.

“They’re so knowledgeable, passionate and they’ve got all this experience. Plus, they’re just really cool people too,” she said.

“We’re also passionate about music, but these guys are out there actually doing it – they’ve played at Eurovision.

“to have them sharing what they know with us, and to be able to make those connections in the industry, is just so valuable to us.”

Kai Davidson rehearses under the guidance of Voyager.