14 Newsboys Foundation 125 Years Sure, you almost certainly know the Victorian town of Thoona, in the shadow of the Warby Ranges, because it is the home of the Victorian Wheelie Bin Championships held each March. But if you stop listening to the rolling wheels of the bins, you might hear an even better sound: Emma Amery’s violin in full flight. This tiny town, half an hour west of Wangaratta, is an unlikely home for one of the best emerging musicians in the state. Emma lives on the family farm where she has been practicing violin for the last 13 years, since she was six years old. Her ideal day is to practice for upwards of three hours, but that isn’t always possible as she mixes working three days a week as a barista in a fast food café, and also teaches violin and piano at Shepparton twice a week. On many other days, she’s heading down the highway to Melbourne, where she has risen to the prestigious position of Concert Master for the Melbourne Youth Orchestra. Her post-Year-12 gap year doesn’t have much down time. Asked how you become such a highly-rated musician on a farm, Emma laughed. “I’ve always enjoyed practice, since I was six, which I guess is a bit weird for a kid,” she said. “We live on a farm half an hour from Wangaratta where I started having lessons but after eight years my teacher said I had outgrown her and so we travelled to Albury for lessons, which was an hour and 15 minutes away. We had three years of that before I continued my learning in Melbourne, which is two and a half hours from the farm, and a 500-kilometre round trip.” Her ever-driving parents, Carolyne and Malcolm, must be thrilled she finally has her P-plates and can now drive herself to Melbourne for lessons and Melbourne Youth Orchestras rehearsals, but they have had the joy of seeing their dedication to Emma’s development pay off. She came to the attention of the Newsboys Foundation when she entered the Bach Competition being run by the Melbourne Recital Centre. Emma’s video entry, of her playing at home, was so outstanding that she became the recipient of the 2017 Newsboys Foundation Regional Music Award. Her world expanded. “The Newsboys award gave me a week in Melbourne, with lessons and attending concerts,” she said. “It was so awesome, the whole thing. I got to go to some master classes with James Ehnes, one of the world’s top violinists, who was in town. It was good to get his different perspective and interesting to see how he interpreted the music. He had this confidence that went with his playing.” Emma is now setting her sights on studying violin at university in 2019, probably in Melbourne. She sees her future as being within an orchestra, rather than attempting to be a famous international solo performer like the Canadian Grammy Award-winning Ehnes. “I really like the sound of an orchestra,” she said. “All the different groups of instruments, the different sounds that they have, and I like the team aspect, with everybody working together to create one sound. You get this energy from everybody else.” And now she’s Concert Master, which means she is front and centre in the performance. Living in regional Victoria doesn’t seem to have held her back. “I think living where I live, you are able to be ‘good’, but not very much beyond ‘good’,” she said. “There’s a stage where you have to go to Melbourne for opportunities.” The Newsboys award gave her that chance and she’s still exploring the benefits. Keep listening for the sound of success. Newsboys Foundation has supported Melbourne Recital Centre since 2015 with grants for the Newsboys Foundation Regional Music Award and Bach Skills Workshops for young musicians. Visit: melbournerecital.com.au Newsboys Foundation has supported Melbourne Youth Orchestras since 2006 with grants for financial assistance, summer schools, Saturday music, MYO’s ensemble and other programs. Visit: myo.org.au Emma’s Bach story Living in country Victoria, Emma Amery has defied the tyranny of distance to play classical music at the highest level, win the Newsboys Foundation Regional Music Award and be promoted to Concert Master