From Page to Stage

Fancy Pants began its journey at SCBWI SA’s October Retreat Critique Sessions in 2014.
Much to my delight, it became a book in 2016 and was distributed to 42 000 preschool children across SA in 2017/18.
After that, all it took was a shared vision, internationally-acclaimed musicians, the Australian Youth Orchestra Ensemble and sixty of the most amazing students to turn this story into something else.
Something magical.
Something special.
Something beyond a book.
The Music for All Project is a unique music education program that will see students with disabilities and/or vision impairments from three schools collaborate across a weeklong composition project.  Inspired by the joyful South Australian story, Fancy Pants by Kelly Hibbert and Amanda Graham, this project seeks to demonstrate the deep potential for an inclusive, community-based model of music education that positions students of all abilities at the centre of the creative process, mentored and guided by world-class musicians. 
This is what can happen when exceptional people like Emily Gann from Connecting the Dots in Music and music teacher, Lucy Standish have a vision, apply for a council grant and win.
Not to mention the connections built between industry innovators.
Enter Belinda Spry from Little Book Press.
Fancy Pants. A performance?  With music. On a stage!
And as if that wasn’t enough.
Super brilliant library staff got busy making multiple large print, braille format and audio books to ensure access for all. Another first for me. My hands didn’t stay still for extra emphasis. Hilarious!
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My second favourite way to create. The whole family got involved and made lagerphones (aka Murrumbidgee River Rattlers),  gumnut drumsticks and claves using only nature’s materials (almost!) ready for school visits.


L to R – These two lovely ladies, Lucy Standish and Emily Gann, either side of me are the brains behind this innovative initiative. Here we are snipping and sewing together at the Cove Civic Centre during the Intergenerational Sewing Circle to help make a pair of fancy pants for every student appearing on stage.

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In preparation for the Fancy Pants performance, students worked with this amazing human, Paul Rissman, from the London Symphony Orchestra, to learn the songs and compositions. And the signing to accompany the words. All in under a week!

This performance did more than showcase student talent.
Much more than bring people together through music.
So much more than delight an audience.

It inspired.

It inspired one audience member to compose and perform a poem at a Friendly Street Poets’ meeting.

It inspired the nomination of teacher Lucy Standish from Kilparrin for the Community Engagement Award, SA Public Education Awards.

It inspired people to say things.

“This show was the best thing I have been to for years. Tears, laughter, hopefulness, joy and all because music brings our souls together in such a powerful way. The children’s faces, the staff delight and the musicians’ smiles said it all and the audience just beamed because they knew they were watching something truly human. Wow so special.” KirstyCommunity member.

And I only had one word.



K x

Here’s the video which showcases the amazing collaboration and is featured on the Department for Education website.

Word nerd or not, momentarily, you might find you’re without words too.

Other than WOW.

Seven weeks on and the journey of Fancy Pants is set to continue. There’s another group of students busily preparing for a performance in a fortnight’s time.
This time it’s Braeview Primary School’s turn in the spotlight. Being an old scholar (sounds funny doesn’t it?), this one’s going to
another round of wows.

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