Campbell Newman’s razor gang cans band camp
Queensland’s State Government has announced it will cease funding for the Fanfare Festival, a biennial workshop and competition for primary and high school ensembles from across the state. With 11 ensembles already nominated for the three-day state finals in Brisbane on July 31, the Festival will go ahead as planned this year, but Fanfare 2012 may be the last in its 27-year history.
State education minister John-Paul Langbroek told The Brisbane Times the $88,000 Fanfare program was ending “as part of the Newman government’s plan to get Queensland’s budget back on track and keep the LNP’s promise to protect frontline services”.
Queensland opposition leader Annastacia Palaszczuk was quick to condemn the decision to scrap the festival, saying it was “just plain mean”. Mr Langbroek defended his decision on Fairfax Radio 4BC, saying the government did not want to discourage creativity, and that axing Fanfare would not stop children wanting to play instruments.
Also to be axed is MOST: a two-week intensive music workshop for 77 talented students across Queensland. Education Queensland assistant director-general Mark Campling said that Fanfare and MOST cost about $175,000 combined. This latest blow to the arts comes after the Newman Government withdrew funding for the Queensland Premier’s Literary Awards in April this year.
Launched in 1985, Fanfare allows students to experience the workings of a music ensemble and participate in a friendly competitive environment with other young musicians.
The grand final showcases five talented ensembles competing for the Erica Brindley memorial trophy. Yet perhaps the bigger prize is the opportunity to perform in Queensland Performing Arts Centre’s Concert Hall. The Festival reaches remote and disadvantaged schools from across the state, allowing students from a variety of backgrounds to take part.
On Queensland’s Department of Education, Training and Employment website it is claimed that “music industry professionals regard the Instrumental music program in Queensland as the finest and most extensive in the country. It is internationally recognised as a leader in the field of instrumental music education.” With the loss of Fanfare, it remains doubtful whether this reputation will remain intact.