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Teacher Ryan Enns leads his students. Images: Lynne Mowbray

Downriver spectacular

Lynne Mowbray |

Guitar students from several schools around the Clarence Valley came together for the first time on Saturday evening at Bowlo Sports and Leisure Yamba, to present the Downriver Spectacular.

The massive end of year concert featured students from Yamba, Gulmarrad, Chatsworth Island, Harwood, Iluka, Maclean and South Grafton Public Schools, St. James Yamba and Maclean High School.

Teacher Ryan Ennes, who moved from Canada to Australia in 2010, said that he has been teaching guitar around the Clarence Valley ever since.
“I mostly teach through the Clarence Valley Conservatorium, but I also teach privately,” Ryan said.

“I also lead choirs at Yamba, Harwood and Chatsworth schools.
“I invited all 125 of my primary school guitarists and with the help of the Clarence Valley Conservatorium, I booked the auditorium at the Yamba Bowling Club,” Ryan said.

“Around half of them turned up, along with 20 or so singers, a ukulelist, a mandolinist and a few hundred parents.

“We filled the main auditorium at the club and kids from all over the lower Clarence stood side by side and made music together.

“For me the highlights included: seeing kids who are normally rivals in sport, playing guitar together, discovering they have songs in common, listening to one another to keep time and giggling when they forget the chords.

“The really nice thing about organising it myself was that I was able to do it my way; low pressure, fun, supportive and social. It really felt like a big community built on music.

“My personal goal was to have the show start right on 6:30pm and finish at 8pm and we just about did, but then the crowd started screaming for encores. We’ll try again next year I guess,” he said.

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