Music course hits high note

Published in the March-April 2017 issue

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Darren Percival with students Lachlan Dwyer and Sophie Backlund.

The music program at Southern Cross University is buzzing after The Voice sensation Darren Percival wowed audiences at the first songwriters’ workshop of the year, and new industry-standard recording facilities were unveiled.

Runner-up in The Voice Australia 2012 and one of Australia’s most accomplished entertainers, Darren Percival showcased his incredible solo vocal looping at the Songwriters’ Workshop presented by APRA AMCOS and the School of Arts and Social Sciences.


Now in its 11th year at Southern Cross University, the Songwriters’ Workshop series, coordinated by music lecturer Leigh Carriage, is designed to inspire and inform the University’s students by providing access to talented home-grown and international artists.

Students Sophie Backlund (vocalist) and Lachlan Dwyer (drummer and guitarist) jammed with Darren before the Workshop.

The next Songwriters’ Workshop is with Ant Aggs, an Australian programmer keyboardist with Xavier Rudd, pianist and composer, on May 2 at 12pm in the Studio One29 D Block Theatre. All welcome.

The University’s sound production students now have access to state-of-the-art recording facilities in Studio A in D Block, including a new mixing desk and acoustic treatment.

(back row from left): Ian Davies, principal of Kadina High Campus; Aleesa Cuthbert (violin) Kadina High Campus; Carlo Fisher (drums) Lismore High Campus; Kei Winmill (guitar), Richmond River High Campus; Luka Goulding (bass) Richmond River HIgh Campus; (front from left) Angus Wood (percussion) Lismore High Campus; SCU’s Steve Law, Studio A manager and chief engineer; Virginia Johnstone, Kadina High Campus music teacher; and Mitchell Wood (didgeridoo) Kadina High Campus.

The refurbished main control room offers an exceptional sound quality experience for both the recording and mixing phases of music production. The new mixing desk, SSL AWS 948, incorporates the latest digital advances while incorporating the best wisdom gleaned from the recording studio industry over the past 50 years.

The School of Arts and Social Sciences technicians Jon Pinkerton, Troy Schmidt, Mark Searle and Steve Law (Studio Manager and Chief Engineer) worked in collaboration with internationally renowned acoustic designer David Connor to redesign the facility.

Singers and musicians from The Rivers Secondary College were the first to record in the studio. Over two days, March 15 and 16, they recorded Pete Murray’s ‘Opportunity’ for a new Rivers College promotional video.

Dr Matt Hill, course coordinator of the music program, said working in a top-end music production setting was a fantastic opportunity for the high school students.

“The Rivers College students have stepped into Rolls Royce surroundings, with support from the University’s highly-experienced technical staff,” said Dr Hill.

“I’m pleased that Southern Cross University can offer this sort of experience to the community in our area. It is a privilege for the staff and students in the music program to have access to a high-quality recording studio. The primary focus of the studio is education and so it just makes sense to share this facility with students from local schools.”

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