Duo wins song competition

Two Year 8 students from Hornsby Girls High School have had their musical talents recognised, winning the Education Week songwriting competition with their inspiring composition, Creating Our Future.

Anna Stewart-Yates and Olivia Utharntharm collaborated to compose the official song of Education Week 2012, which will be performed at the simultaneous launch of Education Week on 30 July at Martin Place, Sydney, and regional locations across NSW.

According to the competition judges, Creating Our Future displayed the values of "respect, hope, participation, ownership and a sense of striving for excellence".

Audio MP3: Listen to Creating Our Future

Sonja Benson, from DEC's Arts Unit, said the competition was seeking something catchy, uplifting, positive and from the heart.

"Anna and Olivia's song had all these elements while being really versatile," she said. "It is a contemporary song built on one voice with many layers, it appeals to both primary and secondary students and it can also be performed by either a soloist or a choir."

She said the song was recorded and mixed professionally with 11 additional backing singers from schools in each of the regions adding harmonies, depth and complexity and "that bit of extra magic".

Both students hail from musical backgrounds: Anna plays clarinet and sings, while Olivia plays a range of instruments including bass, acoustic guitar and drums.

Having written her first song in Year 1, Olivia was thrilled with the win.

"I've always had the support of my parents and music teachers and I've always enjoyed composing music ... so I was really excited when our music teacher told us about the competition," she said.

Both girls enjoyed the creative process of writing the song together and said it enhanced the overall experience.

Anna said: "I was worried I wouldn't be able to come up with a song (and as) I tend to like to do creative things on my own, I thought it would be hard to collaborate with someone.  As it turned out we actually kind of fitted together surprisingly easily."

Olivia agreed they worked well together.

"Working with Anna was good. I really liked her melody and enjoyed the challenge of maintaining its originality but adding the instrumental arrangement and harmonies."

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