The traditional ding-dong cue bells urging theatregoers to take their seats are a familiar sound to regulars at the Sydney Opera House.
But the cue bell fanfare is getting a revamp and the nation’s young people are being asked to rack their creative brains to come up with a replacement.
The Sydney Opera House, the Australian Youth Orchestra and creative arts program Artology have joined forces to launch the competition for young people aged 12 to 21.
The nationwide program is looking for attention-grabbing 30-second pieces of music, to be submitted by May 19, with eight winners to be announced on May 26. Their music will be played in rotation, in what organisers hope will become an annual program.
Artology managing director Anna Cerneaz said she was inspired to launch the program after experiencing a similar version at London’s Royal Opera House last year. While there, she heard a “brilliant” piece of music and realised it was the cue bells, and later read in a program that it had been composed by a young person.
“Honestly, I just had goosebumps all over my body and I just thought, this is brilliant, it has to come to Australia,” she said.
She said the fanfare competition was an extraordinary opportunity for young people and she wanted potential entrants to be inspired to think it was an achievable goal.
“Everyone anywhere has the creative potential to do anything.”
Composer Nicholas Vines is one of the judges and says a fanfare composition is perfect for youngsters.
“A good fanfare is something that really grabs people’s attention without really having to do anything more than that, which makes it great for kids this age. They don’t have to have a sophisticated musical language or psychological understanding of music. They’re just saying ‘hey, look at this’.
“It should be a fun project. It’s not meant to be scary, it’s meant for people just to have a go and do their best and see how it goes. Even if they’re not successful, just having done something like [enter], is great in and if itself.”
Artology acknowledges the traditional owners of the land on which we walk, play and enjoy, and to pay our respect to the Aboriginal peoples past, present and emerging. They are the first storytellers and singers of song.