South West Music began in the early 1980’s with funding from the Australia Council, Arts Council of NSW and the Ministry for the Arts.
Surveys of local school students were carried out to determine the demand for instrumental tuition. Students from the Victorian College of Arts were contracted to travel to Deniliquin and Finley, in a hire car, on a fortnightly basis and they were billeted with local families. They were young, inspiring, enthusiastic musicians and in no time at all they attracted a large number of students eager to learn strings, woodwind and brass instruments.
As the Instrumental Tuition Program grew and funding became available we were able to employ a Director to promote music education in our Region. Students in outlying areas including Hay, Barham, Jerilderie, Balranald, Coleambally along with Finley and Deniliquin were provided with lessons in a range of instruments. This led to a number of exciting and active ensembles-the Deniliquin Community Orchestra conducted by Ian Bathgate, Junior Strings, Senior Strings better known as “Highly Strung”, Junior Band and a Regional Orchestra which performed at the Christmas Concert each year.
SWM has been able to attract many talented musicians in the role of Director including Alfred Hornung who went on to play with the Australian Chamber Orchestra, Eugenie Teychenne who is a highly regarded violin teacher in Melbourne and Jenny Kimber who continues to teach piano in the Newcastle region.