Local students to join Olympics bandwagon

FOUR young musicians from the Far North Coast will soon fly to Beijing to join 2004 other young people from around the world playing in the Beijing Olympic Orchestra.

The band will play during the opening ceremony of the 29th Olympiad in Beijing on August 8.

Lachlan McLennan, 15, of Alstonville, Melissa Cork, 17, of Lennox Head, Logan Phelps, 17, of Casino, and Madison Yates, 14, also of Casino, have been practising the music and the moves they will perform at Beijing's Olympic stadium.

Melissa said she would play a tenor saxophone, which she began learning eight years ago.

“It's awesome to be chosen for the band,” she said. “We will play world music, including a piece by Karl Jenkins and a piece from the movie Happy Feet, which will be fun,” Melissa said.

“We also have been chosen to play in another band to welcome the president of the International Olympic Committee, Jacques Rogge.

“It's also a bit overwhelming because we now have to learn four more pieces.”

A total 155 NSW public school students were chosen to play in the band, and each has had to travel to Sydney once a month to rehearse.

They also had to raise $5000 towards travel, accommodation and meals.

To help Lachlan raise the cash there will be a benefit concert at the Ballina RSL Club on Sunday, from 2pm.

Madison's mum, Veronica Yates, said she was proud of her son, who was a member of two other bands, the Millennium Marching Band and Casino High School Band.

“The Casino community has been wonderful helping us raise money and supporting Logan and Madison,” she said.

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