Musical mission of mercy

Bridgecoast Finance Group's trip to Wilcannia to deliver musical instruments

One music teacher in the remote town of Wilcannia has impacted not only the lives of her students but also a local broker here on the Central Coast.

Inspired by the story of Wilcannia Central School Teacher, Sarah Donnelley, who used music and some smart thinking to connect her students, local finance brokers, Bridgecoast Finance Group, took the 950km journey to the outback town to deliver the instruments.

Bridgecoast Finance equipment broker, Laurie O’Brien, undertook the journey with his colleague, John Dear from Broadway Leasing, on the weekend of March 20.

O’Brien said despite the Wilcannia Principal being extremely grateful for their donation, the extent of help needed in the community was quickly noticed.

“It was a long drive, but the trip was not a waste,” O’Brien said.

“The children at the school are in serious need of help, and they have not got much.

“After hearing Sarah Donnelley’s story, my colleague John Dear and I got together and decided to approach the local community on the Central Coast, as well as local music shops, to provide new, used and unused musical instruments to the school to further support Ms Donnelley’s efforts.

“We were overwhelmed by the generous donations of instruments.”

Guitars, a digital piano, trumpets, saxophones, clarinets, ukuleles, and microphones were just some of the instruments they collected and packed into the back of their car.

“All I want to do is to thank the community for their generosity,” O’Brien said.

“We would like to thank Turramurra Music, the Central Coast community’s Gosford Music Centre, Macron Music, Brett Dillon from BD Financial, Ariel Endean and Phaedra Pym from A Way With Words as well as many private donators.”

O’Brien said he was alerted to Donnelley’s story after she became the 2020 Telstra ARIA Award Winner for her contribution to the school’s music education for the past two years.

One of her most notable projects was physically connecting the families and children in the town via nine kilometres of road safety tape during the COVID lockdown.

She recorded their reactions on video and rewrote Carmody and Kelly’s From Little Things, Big Things Grow to reflect local challenges.

The song was then played on Wilcannia River Radio, encouraging everyone in the town to sing along to Koorioke– the Indigenous version of karaoke.

O’Brien said Donnelly was a wonderful person.

“She is an extremely good human being and a very determined person,” he said.

Jacinta Counihan