In 2011, twelve talented young musicians were chosen, based on their teachers’ recommendations and on their initial responses to the brief. They were flown to Sydney from around Australia to work in teams with some of Australia’s leading songwriters as mentors, under the expert eyes and ears of Ambassador, John Foreman.
The 2011 songwriting mentors were Clare Bowditch, Holly Throsby, Kav Temperley (Eskimo Joe) and Rai Thistlethwayte (Thirsty Merc). They brought great generosity and skill to their roles as collaborators.
Each student came to the workshop with lots of ideas to contribute, knowing that John Foreman would be picking the song which would go on to be professionally recorded as this year’s song.
After a hard day’s work against the clock, the teams came up with four great songs, each representing a different response to the brief:
Team 1 song: ‘Music Starts with You’, an energetic singalong
Songwriting Mentor: Kav Temperley
Students: Maddi Bignell (Albany Senior High School, WA), Lisa-Marie Long (North Sydney Girls High School, NSW), Hayden Wilcox (Christian Outreach College, QLD)
Team 2 Song: ‘We’ve Got the Music’, a rock-y anthem with a call to action
Mentor: Rai Thistlethwayte
Students: Dylan Confaloniere (St Columban’s College, QLD), Courtney Loxton (Woonona High School, NSW), Josh Prichard (St Aloysius Catholic College, TAS)
Team 3 Song: ‘Sing Out Loud’, a pop-y celebration of self-expression through song
Mentor: Clare Bowditch
Students: Tori Bailey (St Hildas School, QLD), Geneviene Cartlon (Cartitas College, SA), Connor Ross (Narooma High School, NSW)
Team 4 Song: ‘Music Fills the Air’, an indie/folk song
Mentor: Holly Throsby
Students: Stephanie Holt (Heathdale Christian College, VIC), Natalie McIver (St Ursula’s College, QLD), Luke Scattini (Katherine High School, NT)
After some intense deliberation the groups were called back into the room and John announced that the program song to be learnt by schools all around Australia would be… ‘We’ve Got the Music’.
What I got out of the experience is the thrill of working with not only the fantastic and talented mentors, especially Rai, but also working with the other amazing mates I made. I had no idea that you could make 11 best friends in 24 hours. I am so happy that I had this amazing and life changing experience. – Joshua Prichard, St Aloysius Catholic College, Huntingfield, TAS
I’ve gained so many new songwriting and collaborating skills and met so many new amazing people, including the mentors that were there to guide us. – Maddison Bignel, Albany Senior High School, Albany, WA
I think that the workshop was probably the best thing I have ever done in my whole life!! – Luke Scattini, Katherine High School, NT
Three weeks later We’ve Got The Music had been tweaked and made ready for its final journey to life in the studio, as a succession of talented Melbourne secondary students laid down their tracks for the recording of the song. Some of Australia’s best session musicians were on hand as mentors: Simon Patterson (guitar), Dave Beck (drums) and Craig Newman (bass).
Lead vocals on the track were performed by TJ Alcaniz, year 11, Mansfield Secondary College, VIC (featured on X Factor, Australia’s Got Talent and Triple J Unearth’d) and up-and-comer, Jackie Ivosevic, year 11, Ave Maria College, Melbourne, who’s a student of celebrity vocal coach, Susie Ahern (who also trains Bobby Andonov, our vocalist from 2010).
Backing vocals were provided by Jess Peters and Ben Colley, VCA Secondary School and Jimmy Stevenson, Braemar College, Melbourne.
The student session players on the recordings are from VCASS.
Drums: Alastair Kennedy; Guitars: Matt Hoyne; Bass: Bryce Buxton; Piano and organ: Lena Douglas; Horns: Rhiannon Johnston (sax), Max English (trombone) and Mateusz Gwizdalla (trumpet).