Children like Grace Mae can perform to a live audience in Wollongong

RISING STAR: Grace Mae launched her debut single 'Not Today' at Illawarra Music Foundry last week. Picture: Stephanie Rodden

RISING STAR: Grace Mae launched her debut single 'Not Today' at Illawarra Music Foundry last week. Picture: Stephanie Rodden

One year on and Mark Lenzo is still happy he left a successful job in IT to focus his attention to up-and-coming Illawarra musicians.

The long-time guitarist’s newest venture, the Music Foundry at Illawarra Leagues Club, is a regular live performance space for young people aged 25 down to as young at five.

Since July, solo or group artists have been performing every other Saturday. The pace is set to ramp up in October with more than $60,000 worth of prizes to be shared in a youth talent quest.

Lenzo said in the past year he has seen new and existing venues offer their spaces for original talent to play though there was still a gap for young people trying to get a break.

“They walk away going ‘wow, what a great venue’ rather than playing in a shoe-box or having a bad [sound] mix or having a bad time,” Lenzo said.

Children often don’t have the confidence on stage to let people know if their sound isn’t right, he said, so the Foundry team will help walk them through it.

“It’s empowering them to make their own decisions so when they move to another venue … they know exactly what to do,” he said.

Every artist gets paid – regardless of how many people make it through the doors – while the Foundry is also available as a rehearsal space.

“I also found even for bums on seats – in an industry where trying to get people out of their lounge-room – by inviting youth to come and play they also bring their family and their friends,” Lenzo said of how the project also benefits the venue.

A Foundry committee has been established to help make Lenzo’s vision a reality – all willing to mentor young people in areas such as vocal coaching, sound equipment and stage presence.

“It’s turned into my full time job, I’ve left a pretty good IT career to move into music,” he said.

“It’s something I’ve always wanted to do, so I’ve kind of gone ‘stuff this, life’s more about doing things you want to do, not a good pay check at the end of the month’ – though that would be nice.”

Singer-songwriter Grace Mae Gladwin-Paffett,12, launched her debut single Not Today on iTunes last week.

She will perform at the Foundry on August 26 as a public “launch” of the single. She also uses the space to regularly practice with  her band The Red Bandannas

“For me it’s reassuring that Grace has a safe place where there are people that can support her who aren’t out to exploit her at such as young age,” mother Nikke Gladwin said.

“She can learn … as to how to develop herself further. For me, it’s great to know that facility is available on our doorstep.”

Picture: Ryan Stuart

Picture: Ryan Stuart

BATTLE OF BANDS

2018 Illawarra Youth Duo / Solo / Band Music Quest

Entry & Registration is $10 Per Artist:

Term and Conditions and signup can be found at:

There are 3 sections (9 Catagories) :

  • (i) Primary School Ages: 5-12 (Duo / Solo / Band)
  • (ii) High School Ages: 12-18 (Duo / Solo / Band ) 
  • (iii) Under 25s :18-25 (Duo / Solo / Band )

Prize pool is more than $65,000

PRIZES

  • Junior / High School / Open: All Categories = 9 (3 x Solo ,3 x Duo, 3 x Band)
  • First Prize: $200 Cash + $150 Pipers Music Voucher + Recording of (1) one song at IMF Studios. ($800) + Music Video ($2000) + Photography Package $800 ($3950 Total)
  • Second Prize: $100 Cash + $100 Pipers Music Voucher + Recording of (1) One song at IMF Studios ($800) + Photography Package $800 ($1800)
  • Third Prize: $50 Cash + $50 Pipers Music Voucher + Recording of (1) One song at IMF Studios ($800) $900

2 x Judges Award Band Mention:

  • Prizes: 3 x Rehearsal 3hrs IMF with Producer ($500) + recording of (1) one song at IMF Studios. ($800) = $1200 = $2400

2 x People’s Choice Award (APP): 

  • Prizes: Recording of (1) One song at IMF Studios ($800) + 3 x Music Lesson ($135) + $50 Pipers Music Voucher + Music Video $2000 = $5870

Total All Divisions Prizes: $68120.00

Heats will be held from October 20th to 16th December 2018.

Any questions please contact the IMF Team Via Facebook.