Newsboys Foundation

Newsboys Foundation Regional Music Award

The Newsboys Foundation is proud to support the Newsboys Foundation Regional Music Award, in partnership with the Melbourne Recital Centre. The award was established in 2015.

The Newsboys Foundation Regional Music Award is a music specialist prize for applicants who live, and attend a Victorian Government school, in rural or regional Victoria.

This prize is designed to enable such students to benefit from musical tuition and other opportunities that otherwise may be not open to them. It includes: travel and one week’s accommodation for the student and a parent/guardian in Melbourne and a daily per diem; lessons with a top teacher on the relevant instrument; complimentary tickets to concerts at the Melbourne Recital Centre during that week; mentoring/shadowing opportunities with Melbourne Recital Centre’s artistic and production staff and best endeavours to go ‘behind- the-scenes’ to gain direct contact with industry professionals. The prize week will take place in 2021.

Newsboys Foundation Regional Music Award Winner 2022

Rebecca Stephens can’t remember why she chose the flute when her music-leaning parents asked her to choose an instrument at the age of 8 years old. Her big sister had chosen piano, her brother guitar. Later, her younger brother would opt to learn the saxophone. The family is a band within itself, but Rebecca on the flute is already proving a standout, as proven by her stunning Newsboys Regional Music Award application where she played Bach’s Flute Sonata in G minor, BWV 1020, mvt II. Adagio and III. Allegro.

The Bairnsdale teenager was thrilled to be the winner of the 2022 award, rewarded with a week-long invite to Melbourne Recital Centre, to meet and learn from professional musicians. “It was definitely a highlight of my year,” she said.

“I have a lot of ambition but living in Bairnsdale, it’s such a long way away (from the musical institutions). It’s been hard to know if my ambitions were achievable. Like, I didn’t know where I sat in ‘the rankings’ of people who are interested. To be able to come to Melbourne and get that encouragement, and challenges, from the individual professionals I spoke to, was so helpful. I now know that this is something I can do. I know it’s going to be hard, but I feel better equipped now.”

The wrinkle in the planning for Newsboys and MRC organisers was that Rebecca’s passions run beyond the flute. She lists acting and theatre-making as her major artistic ambitions, ahead of music. But then, she has just taken up cello, begun composing and even tried to write her own musical – as a Christmas present to her family, of course – during the covid lockdowns. She hopes to one day run her own performance company, doing, well, all of it.

The Melbourne Recital Centre team went above and beyond (as always!), to include behind-the-scenes tours and other encounters with the Melbourne Theatre Company, within her week-long prize, along with specialist mentoring in flute. “I was able to taste it all,” she said, and returned home for her gap year inspired to drive even harder towards her dreams. Next up is to perform an original composition with her string quartet, and then tomorrow, the world.

Nick Place

Rebecca Stephens, 2022 Newsboys Foundation Regional Music Award Recipient. Photo: Meredith O’Shea

Newsboys Foundation Regional Music Award Winner 2021

Ash Murdica, a student at Drouin Secondary College, is the winner of 2021 Newsboys Foundation Regional Music Award.

Ash was undertaking grade 7 AMEB piano, and working towards her grade 4 AMEB theory exam when she won the award. 

For her application, she performed Frédéric Chopin’s Nocturne in E Minor, Op.72 No. 1 on piano, and highlighted future goals of playing with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra and professional music theatre productions in Melbourne.

In 2020, Ash was recognised as her school’s highest-scoring music student with the 2020 Music Award, receiving top marks in VCE Music Performance where she focused on guitar. 

Throughout her high school years she has performed in Rockfest Australia, local bands and community theatre productions.

Ash Murdica, 2021 Newsboys Foundation Regional Music Award Recipient. Photograph: Lauren Murphy

Ash said: “This award is a privilege, affording me the opportunity to help guide my practice to be successful in the music industry. Thank you to the Newsboys Foundation and Melbourne Recital Centre for their continued commitment to supporting emerging musicians in Regional Victoria”.

Newsboys Foundation CEO Sandy Shaw said: “Congratulations to Ash Murdica for an outstanding application to the 2021 Newsboys Foundation Regional Music Award. The Foundation is proud to support this award to help ensure that young musicians in rural and regional Victoria are given development and industry insight opportunities, helping them to contribute to Victoria and Australia’s live music community.”

Newsboys Foundation Regional Music Award Winner 2020

Flautist Eliza Creek, 17, from the small town of Nhill near the border between Victoria and South Australia, has been named as the recipient of the Newsboys Foundation Regional Music Award 2020. 

A recent story published by The Age is available to read here and our media release is available to read here.

Eliza Creek Newsboys Foundation Regional Music Award winner 2020 in her hometown in Nhill.
Photograph by Meredith O’Shea; The Age NEWS; 4th December 2020