Katie Noonan's Eumundi School Of Rock Showcases Sunshine Coast's Next-Gen Rock Stars

L-R front: Layla, Beau, Isabella and Jonah with guitar teacher singer-songwriter Mark Moroney and Eumundi School of Rock director Katie Noonan  - pictured at the Imperial Hotel (Eumundi) on 21 July, 2020. L-R front: Layla, Beau, Isabella and Jonah with guitar teacher singer-songwriter Mark Moroney and Eumundi School of Rock director Katie Noonan - pictured at the Imperial Hotel (Eumundi) on 21 July, 2020. Image © Kita Lawrence Photography

The burgeoning talents of Sunshine Coast's next gen of rock stars will be showcased when Eumundi School of Rock delivers its annual concert of young students as part of Horizon Festival.

Created by five-time ARIA Award winning, local songstress Katie Noonan, and now in its fifth year, Eumundi School of Rock features 34 young rockers aged 8-17 performing with Katie as well as Jack Carty alongside the Mega Teacher band.

With COVID-19 restrictions in place, this year's event has shifted to a drive-in format at Eumundi Showgrounds (29 August).

Tell us a bit about The Eumundi School Of Rock showcase; which also includes a 10-week scholarship for the students?
[Katie] Eumundi School Of Rock is a free music school that I started five years ago. The idea is to use the power of music to bring kids from all walks of life across the Sunshine Coast together.

I wanted to make the school free, so that all kids, regardless of whether your parents can afford it or not or whether you go to a private or public school, or are home schooled, have access to quality music education with legit working/ gigging musicians.

I started the school with Shannon and OJ from the Band Of Frequencies, and a bunch of other awesome local musos, including my husband ARIA and National Jazz Award winning saxophonist/ composer Zac Hurren.

We provide 10 weeks of free lessons - x5 one-on-one lessons with your teacher and x5 band rehearsals, and then our epic big gig! Kids audition to get in and we only play Aussie music.

Obviously, each student brings their own talents, but any aspiring rockers you think are destined for bigger stages from the 2020 class?
One hundred per cent, the talent is getting better and better each year – these kids are truly awesome and dedicated to getting better.

Many of them will have careers in music I am sure, but even if they don't, they have found the magic of music – it is your friend for life.

The students are joined by the Mega Teacher band that includes yourself and Jack Carty; it must be a wonderful experience for the kids to get such hands-on experience?
Mentoring young people is one of my favourite things to do, and this year three of our awesome kids will be playing Jack Carty's new song 'Welcome To The World'. He will be joined by Oscar (14) on bass, Lochie (13) on guitar and Dexter (14) on drums.

We are also doing an original song by one of our young musos Isabella (13); her song will be played by the teacher band for her and we have many other songs where teachers will be joining on backing vocals, saxophone etc. with the kids.

Some funny moments from band practice that's brightened the day of everyone?
More than ever, this year has been a super emotional and traumatic year for our young people, so it was more important than ever for me to work to keep our school going and bring smiles and good times to our young people.

The outdoor concert is being staged at Eumundi Showgrounds, with patrons watching in their cars; given we are in extraordinary times, that is still a pretty unique format to enjoy live music and possibly discover the stars of tomorrow, right?
Yup, 34 young rockers aged 8-17 strutting their stuff from the comfort of your own car!

I was determined to keep the gig going, so we opted for the drive-in option back in April so as to ensure we could continue. Many people thought COVID would be kinda over by now, but I felt pretty sure it was here to stay for quite some time, so the drive-in was the only definite, safe option for our kids. It will be EPIC!

What's the next step for this batch of emerging musicians; are there career-pathway opportunities available?
This year we have started our teenage superband – this is a six-piece band for extra talented kids aged 13-17. They sound AMAZING and we definitely want to continue that initiative, and possibly expand it if we can.

Two of our young men in that were in the very first year of Eumundi School of Rock in 2016, so it is awesome to see how much they have improved AND HOW TALL THEY ARE!

We also have a Showband each year; these are the most improved kids as picked by the teachers, and they get five weeks band mentoring and play the big gig the following year also.

I am also always on the look out for gig opportunities for our kids. They played the Woodford Folk Festival's Pineapple Lounge on NYE last year – they had an absolute BALL!

Eumundi School Of Rock takes place at Eumundi Showgrounds (Sunshine Coast) as part of Horizon Festival on 29 August.



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