Teen plays at the Opera House
NAMBUCCA Heads teen and violin virtuoso Jonah Spriggs has been chosen along with 19 other talented violinists from across regional New South Wales to play at the Sydney Opera House alongside the Australian World Orchestra and elite players from the Australian Youth Orchestra.
Representing the Coffs Harbour Conservatorium, Jonah, 13, and his fellow participants will take part in a two-day project consisting of rehearsals, tutorials and concerts at the Sydney Opera House with the Australian youth and world orchestras.
Jonah has thoroughly enjoyed his experience in Sydney and has particularly loved watching the Australian World Orchestra.
"Just seeing them play together and the finesse that they play with is just amazing and very inspirational," he said.
All of the project participants are students from the NSW Regional Conservatoriums, a network of 17 regional music schools funded by the NSW Department of Education to ensure a high standard of education to regional school students.
Playing violin wasn't love at first note for Jonah, who was first taught by his mother, Kathy Spriggs. Jonah said it was her persistence which triggered his passion.
"At first, I didn't enjoy it but Mum pushed me through it and now I really enjoy it and I try to practise every morning and now it's brought me to Sydney," he said.
Jonah's violin teacher Barbara Crosbie said Jonah had "a thirst for learning" by also playing piano and recently starting guitar that demonstrates a maturity beyond his years.
"Where most kids would just do as they've been told, he has a maturity to find things out for himself," Barbara said.
Trish O'Brien, artistic director of the Coffs Harbour Conservatorium, said Jonah was selected to represent the conservatorium where he had performed for about five years.
Jonah's exceptional level of talent is highlighted through his recent involvement with The Academy, a gifted and talented music course for talented violinists from across the region.
"He's the youngest in The Academy but he's taken it in his stride. He's quite a strong personality but he's really humble. He works really hard which is excellent," Ms O'Brien said.
She said the program would be an "absolutely incredible experience for Jonah" and living regionally provided many benefits for aspiring musicians to excel.
"In many ways, we are at an advantage to be in a regional area where we have the opportunity to offer our kids programs like this."