Sound education: Alstonville Public School band members were lucky enough to be playing in the Great Hall at Parliament House when Julia Gillard became the first female Prime Minister.
Sound education: Alstonville Public School band members were lucky enough to be playing in the Great Hall at Parliament House when Julia Gillard became the first female Prime Minister.

Students trumpet in new PM

THE 45 young musicians in Alstonville Primary School’s band will never forget their visit to Parliament House in Canberra last week.

Booked in to play in the Great Hall on Thursday morning, the students were full of excitement.

But they didn’t realise there was plenty of other excitement going on, with the Labor leadership spill about to get under way.

Band conductor Kirstin Beck said they had been ‘on tour’ for a week and hadn’t seen much of the news.

“We didn’t realise about the issues with Kevin Rudd and Julia Gillard until we got there,” she said.

“We called up Parliament House to find out if we should still come in to play anyway, and we were told that we should.

“We had to wait around for a fair while, and there was lots going on.

“There were people everywhere. Press, politicians, security. It was mad.

“We talked to the kids about what was happening so they would understand.”

However, the fuss didn’t stop the band from putting on a great show. They played for about 50 minutes.

Year 6 student Celia Hannam said the day was ‘really exciting’.

“When we started playing in the Great Hall, we had Kevin Rudd as our Prime Minister,” she said.

“But by the time we stopped playing, we had Julia Gillard as our Prime Minister.”

The 11-year-old trumpet player said it was too early to decide whether she liked Ms Gillard better than Mr Rudd.

“I haven’t made up my mind yet,” Celia said.

“But I did feel a bit sorry for Kevin Rudd.

“Afterwards he had to sit in the back row and he seemed really sad.”

Ms Beck said she was surprised at the reaction from the band members, with many showing a keen interest inpolitics.

“They’re in Year 4, 5 and 6, but most of them had an opinion about who our Prime Minister should be,” she said.

“Some of the students were very pleased that Australia now has its first female Prime Minister.

“Others were upset with the way it happened and some felt bad for Kevin Rudd.”

But Ms Beck said it was great to be in Canberra, and performing at the Great Hall, at a time of such historical significance.

Caught up in the aftermath, several students were interviewed for national radio on their thoughts about the first woman Prime Minister.

It was an action-packed week for the Alstonville youngsters.

They also had the opportunity to be the first school to use the new interactive software at Old Parliament House.

Music teacher Larissa Polak said the students were photographed for the advertising material which will be used to promote the interactive museum over the next five years.

“The children were photographed using the new software,” she said.

“It’s part of the educational tours that are done at Old Parliament House.

“The kids felt like superstars, they were dressed smartly and looked great.

“They really enjoyed the opportunity, especially after the excitement of the previous day.”

To finish off a good week, the band took out silver at the Yamaha Music Festival in Sydney.

“We’re really proud of them,” Ms Beck said.

“We also performed at some schools in Sydney.

“It was a really busy week.”



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