Rain Tree Park, Darwin.
The Ltyentye Apurte Drummers have recently completed their first ever tour. Traveling by bus up to the Top End, they performed concerts along the way in Tennant Creek, Mataranka, Katherine with several appearances in Darwin, and culminating in a fully staged, packed-house performance at the Darwin Entertainment Centre as part of the 2012 Catholic Performing Arts Festival.
The 3000+km journey with 17 kids (aged 10-14 yrs), for 12 days & nights (an inconceivable endeavour for most teachers and adults we’ve met along the way) was a huge undertaking and positive learning experience for all.
St.Josephs College, Katherine.
The result? Widespread public and inter-school acclaim for their impressive skills, a nice kitty full of busking donations, lots of significant, first-time experiences, treats and a journey they will never forget.
Tick Park, Katherine.
They performed a total of 12 gigs: to the general public at Darwin’s groovy market places, for kids in schools, for remote area kids in parks, for a statewide ABC radio audience, at the gigantic Darwin Entertainment Centre and even before the Chief Minister!
The Ltyentye Apurte Drummers with new Cheif Minister Terry Mills and Alison Anderson.
Apart from delivering such a strong series of performances, and meeting the challenges of ‘the touring life’ these young, desert performers got to enjoy treats like fish and chips on the wharf, beach-combing, ferry-boat riding, seeing the inspiring movie The Sapphires and hours of bumper fun in Darwin’s water parks.
Leanyer Water Park, Darwin.
The tour has been successful in reaching and inspiring new audiences of all ages and is the reward for the on-going commitment of the Ltyentye Apurte School towards the Drummers’ growth as performing artists as well as the kids’ commitment to pursuing the unfolding Journey into Rhythm with instructors Shon & Svet a.k.a, Ba-Boom!
Bagot Community, Darwin.
Behind the scenes, one teacher (Michelle Dermody) one teacher-in-training (Richard Murphy) and Svet & Shon (Ba-Boom!) worked without a break from 6am to 11pm each day for 12 days straight: driving, preparing 3 meals a day plus snacks in between (the kids were incessantly hungry!), shopping for food, washing clothes and costumes, cleaning, setting & packing up camp, loading, unloading (luggage, swags, food boxes, eskis, cooking utensils and drums) creating activities, managing challenging behaviour, encouraging the kids to help, preparing the kids to perform and then watch them performing at their best and mentoring the two accompanying family members who assisted where they could.
Waking up in Mataranka.
On the long journey up and back, they slept in swags under the stars, setting up camp at a new stop each night. After all the mouths were fed, a white sheet was hung from the troopy, and a projector and P.A were set up to screen movies under the stars. This helped the kids to settle and drift in to peaceful slumber, resting their excitable little bones.
Cooling off at Bitter Springs, Mataranka.
In both Katherine and Darwin, the touring party got to enjoy the facilities and accommodation provided by other Catholic schools, while inspiring their fellow student hosts with memorable performances.
Giving a public drumming workshop, Katherine.
Naturally, there were a few unanticipated situations that created an added layer of stress for everybody. The first of these challenges was dealing with the extreme sugar and caffeine withdrawals the kids were experiencing during the first 4 days.
Refreshing Edith Falls.
Michelle, Svet and Shon made a brave decision to not buy or allow the kids to buy coke or fizzy sugar drinks, chips or lollies on the tour.
This decision was made based on a strategy to manage the kids’ extreme behaviour and based upon the desire to inspire these young people to enjoy the benefits of a healthy diet for two weeks. The Drummers’ resistance was extreme to say the least, with one young person literally screaming and demanding a fizzy drink on the very first night! …yet the teachers held fast.
Out to Sea!
After 4 days of healthy sandwiches and nutritional evening meals, muesli bars, the occasional jelly snake, high fruit content low sugar cordial with soda water and plenty of fruit, the kids settled down into the flow of their detoxing bodies and their behaviour improved remarkably.
Cooling off on Mandurah Beach, Darwin.
A couple of near mis-haps found their way into the mix as well just to keep everyone on their toes!
One of these occurred during their approach into Darwin. Whilst traveling along a busy highway overpass, the brackets of the bus roof rack, holding 21 swags, collapsed and the rack landed onto the roof and slid off to one side of the bus. Fortunately, the driver remained calm and successfully guided the bus courting this hazard to the side and off the highway to solve the problem. Adding to the stress, the Drummers had a lunchtime gig to get to (their first in Darwin) and it was extremely hot and sweaty. Leaving the broken rack for a later scoop, they stuffed all of the swags into the bus with everybody else, and pushed onwards to the gig at Bagot community. Fortunately, the team generally dealt with surprising situations with a sense of calm, fortitude and humour.
Catch of the day!
Another great bonus for the whole tour project was finding an independent film-maker to come along for the ride. Leonie Van Eyck and her little girl, Jamilla, followed closely, with tape rolling, capturing emotions, events, performances, responses, and the progressive story as it was unfolding.
Mindil Beach Markets, Darwin.
This has been a groundbreaking experience for all involved. Months of preparation went into the tour and the many carefully considered details have helped to make it the resounding success that it was. The whole Santa Teresa community is proud, the far-reaching fans are proud and the young performers themselves are proud of what has been achieved. The whole touring party have learnt so much along the way and the lessons learned will help to make the next tour easier especially for the teachers and accompanying parents!
Interacting with family and fans via Ba-Boom on facebook.
Several organizations, through funding and logistical input, helped to make this tour possible: the Australian Government Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs, CEA Alice Springs, CAYLUS, Atyenhenje-Atherre Aboriginal Corporation, the Chief Minister for Labour NT, St. Vincent de Paul, Rotary Club of Melbourne and CAAMA Media. Thank you once again!
First sight of the sea!
Shon & Svet (Ba-Boom!) are very grateful for the great tide of support for this tour. Special thanks to Michelle Dermody, Greg Crowe and the staff of LACEC, Richard Murphy, Leonie Van Eyck and Sam Absolom. Extra special thanks to the whole community of Santa Teresa for entrusting Ba-Boom! with the care of their young drummers and making their dream, to tour and reach new audiences, come true!
Big, warm, footy-style home-coming!