Music scene’s hidden gem will open to all ages for the first time
Music Connection, an open mic event and jam session, will bring musicians of all ages and abilities together at Murray Bridge youth centre the Station this weekend.
This post about an upcoming event is free to read. Your support can help Murray Bridge News tell more important local stories – subscribe today.
Paul Ankerson still remembers the night he was first exposed to Murray Bridge’s live music scene.
It was at the Italian Club in 2006, at an open musicians’ jam.
Trevor Smith played a didgeridoo, Matt Fielke was on the bongos, there were schoolkids and retirees.
That chance discovery led Mr Ankerson into a 15-year career working with young people at the Station, a new music venue the city’s council was starting to develop at the time.
Over the years, he led efforts to transform the old refreshment room at Murray Bridge’s railway station into a state-of-the-art entertainment venue, with a top-notch sound system and acoustic treatments.
It became a welcoming space where teenagers and young adults could explore their creative sides – on one condition.
As soon as they turned 26, they would be out the door.
As a youth centre, the Station is usually funded to cater to people aged 12 to 25.
But this Sunday, the venue’s doors will be flung open for Music Connection, an event which aims to bring together local musicians of all ages, tastes and ability levels.
“The council have invested quite heavily ... in this place being a great music facility, but specifically for young people,” Mr Ankerson, the program's organiser, said.
“The event this weekend will be unlike anything that has been done here before.”
His heart had broken, he said, every time the youth centre had cast out another 26-year-old into a community that didn’t offer many performance opportunities to all but the most polished and professional musicians.
“The goal here is to say ‘you’re welcome here at this event’,” he said.
“It is about including people who have been excluded ... and including people in Murray Bridge, musicians, who feel like ‘that’s not for me, that’s a youth centre’.
“It’s a community facility.
“We can all come together as a community and create something special.”
Music Connection will be held at the Station, Murray Bridge from 11am to 3pm this Sunday.
All PA and lighting equipment will be provided; participants can bring any instrument and expect a supportive and inclusive environment.
More information: Contact Paul Ankerson on 0431 180 994 or at email@example.com, or search for Music Connection on Facebook.
Clarification: This story has been updated to reflect the fact that the council continues to fund the Station as a youth venue. Disclosure: The author advised Mr Ankerson as he planned the Music Connection program, having been involved in running Everyone Deserves Music.
Your support can help Murray Bridge News tell more important local stories – subscribe today.