A new maestro is striking a chord with students at the Riverina Conservatorium of Music, with Tamara Spencer taking up the baton for the Riverina Concert Band.
Ms Spencer developed her love of music growing up in the remote town of Ungarie, which had little-to-no music facilities to speak of.
However, the young Tamara was so enthralled with music that her mother would drive her over 200 kilometres into Wagga for music lessons before driving her all the way back again.
"It was nearly a five hour round trip for a music lesson, so we only did it once a month. I'm very envious of all these school students who have these weekly band programs in their school," Ms Spencer said.
"There was a lot of self-learning involved. I had to do HSC music over distance education. If you want to kill your love of music, do it by distance education with cassette tapes and workbooks."
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After graduating she went to the conservatorium in Sydney, where she honed her craft and picked up a music teaching degree.
She travelled overseas for a while before returning to Ungarie to start the town's only community band, then moving to Wagga in 2019.
Now she has picked up the role of maestro at the conservatorium, Ms Spencer hopes to get her young musicians back on stage after their extended lockdown hiatus.
The band were able to hold some livestream performances in 2020, but Ms Spencer said her musicians had been craving the stage and real-life performances.
"There's a saying that community bands perform because they practice, whereas professional ensembles practice because they perform," she said.
"It's really nice to have a target to work towards."
Coming up on their agenda are the Wagga and Leeton eisteddfods as well as community performances at gigs all around the Riverina.
Ms Spencer said she looked forward to training the next generation of musical disciples, just like she used to be as a keen young brass player from Ungarie back in 2002.
"I've come full circle. I started learning here and now I've come around to teaching here," Ms Spencer said.
"It's a funny little twist of fate."
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