b'NEWSBOYS FOUNDATION REGIONAL MUSIC AWARDAsh Murdica, 2021 Newsboys Foundation Regional Music Award Recipient.(Photo: Meredith OShea)Ash strums up a musical futureIts been a really, really big year, Ash Murdica reflects. Every night, I would write down the main takeaways from what they had to say, she reflected. Their guidance The winner of the 2021 Newsboys Foundation Regionalon what I could improve on. They were kind, and had a Music Award went from trainee rehearsal pianist atdifferent outlook to my usual teacher. They were stricter, the Warragul Theatre (following the rehearsal pianistbut it was a good strict, that made me improve.around) to joining the band in the orchestra pit during an actual performance of the smash musical Hamilton atAsh fell in love with musical theatre during her trainee Melbournes historic Her Majestys Theatre, all thanks tostint at Warragul, working on Wicked and then Les Mis, Newsboys. before stepping up as pianist and Musical Director for the Warragul Youth Theatres performance of Pinocchio. Of her Hamilton experience, Ash said: That was the coolest thing ever! Her Newsboys week with the Melbourne Recital Centre showed her the size of the jump required to genuinely The annual prize for Newsboys Foundation Regionalmake it as a professional musical theatre performer, Music Award, judged and hosted by the Melbournebut she feels better equipped to attempt the journey. Recital Centre, allows a rural-based winner to spend aShe is now at the Melbourne Conservatorium of Music, week meeting top musical talent in Melbourne. So Ash,commuting from Drouin to study musical performance in 19, travelled up from her home in Drouin, 90 km east ofguitar, although she suspects piano is a better option for the city, in July. Caleb Garfinkel (Come From Away, Once),her long term. pianist Stewart Kelly, guitarist Stephen Magnusson, industry mentor Susan Eldridge and emerging MusicalIts an epic commute but she doesnt mind. She has a taste Director Ned Writer-Smith all spent time with Ash,for it now, both Melbourne life and a musical future.offering wisdom on her talent and ambition.Nick PlaceNEWSBOYS FOUNDATION ANNUAL REPORT 20225'