Teachers tune in to the Federation Handbells

Teachers from across Victoria have come together for an all-day workshop for the festival’s Federation Handbells project.

Museums Victoria is working with five schools from regional Victoria: Wangaratta West Primary School, Weroona College Bendigo, Woodleigh School, Plenty Valley Christian College and Trafalgar High School.


Teachers from the schools recently gathered at Museums Victoria in Carlton for the all-day workshop, where they learnt a rondo by composer Graeme Leak, called the Exquisite Now.


They have returned to their schools to teach students in years 5 to 8 the rondo – a piece of music that repeats, interspersed with contrasting music.


In the Exquisite Now project, these contrasting pieces will be composed by the schools, creating a chain of music.


This chain will link school from across Victoria, and will be built on by future collaborators, becoming a link between our festivals.


The teachers’ workshop was led by Musical Director Dan Richardson, and Susan Bamford Caleo, the Senior Program Officer for the Federation Handbells at Museums Victoria.


‘It was great to see teachers from all over Victoria come together for the workshop,’ says Anne Smith, the director of the Arts Learning Festival, and Arts Learning Executive at Independent Schools Victoria.


‘There was a wonderful energy in the room.’


The schools involved in the project will convene in Melbourne during the festival on Friday 3 May, for a rehearsal and public performance. We’ll have details soon of how you can attend the performance.


Apart from learning how to play the handbells, students will learn about their history. The handbells were originally commissioned by Creative Victoria for the 2001 Centenary of Federation.


Cast in silicon bronze, the bells cover two chromatic piano octaves.  You play the bells by striking them with a mallet.