TAG embarks on a caring mission
TAG embarks on a caring mission
Technical Audio Group’s philanthropic arm, TAG Cares, recently undertook its most ambitious project so far, heading to the remote Indigenous community of Amata in Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara to donate three vehicles worth of musical instruments, audio and lighting equipment.
‘We received the call from Amata resident and Pitjantjatjara man, Tapaya Edwards,’ recalled Maxwell Twartz, TAG director. ‘He works with the school, manages a local music band and is a traditional performance artist in his own right.’
Edwards had requested the equipment for local seven-piece desert reggae band Mala and for music classes at the Amata Anangu School. Mala have played and won local band competitions. Several of the band members are employed by the school to help with teaching music and other arts. Edwards wanted to equip the band with pro quality gear and provide the school children with equipment to learn on and use.
‘Despite its remoteness we were very keen to support this project as it ticked the boxes for us,’ said Twartz. ‘The number one thing is to be invited to help, and by someone with standing and vision in the community. With his involvement, we were super confident to undertake the project and we can’t speak highly enough of Tapaya’s contribution.’
At the start of the journey, the three vehicles converged in Coober Pedy. TAG director Tony Russo drove the Allen & Heath ‘#Ampervan’ from Sydney via Port Augusta TAG’s WA sales manager, Marc Sharman, drove his Nissan Patrol ‘Recovery 7,’ across the Nullarbor Plain, while Twartz took the short-cut from Sydney via the Oodnadatta Track in his Toyota Landcruiser. Audio consultant David Gilfillan and project coordinator Billy Armstrong arrived by plane.
The following day the vehicles formed a convoy to drive to Amata. ‘The Fiat [#Ampervan] is certainly not your typical outback vehicle,’ said Russo. ‘We needed to take it for its load carrying, but some had doubts it was really up to the long hauls, the loose sand and corrugations of hundreds of kilometres of dirt roads. Well it certainly proved the knockers wrong and got us and the gear safe to Amata very stylishly – which didn’t go unnoticed by Amata residents.’
The TAG team arrived with musical instruments, many donated by TAG staff and industry colleagues, including six guitars, two basses, three keyboards, guitar amps and a drum kit, as well as an Allen & Heath mixer, a QSC PA, a full complement of Audio-Technica microphones and headphones, lights, road cases and more.
‘Our choices of equipment were designed to challenge the kids and give those with curiosity a forward pathway,’ said Sharman. ‘The best example is the mixer. Although a simple analogue mixer would have done the job, we took an Allen & Heath Qu-16 digital mixer because it provides a gateway to pro mixing and a centrepiece for wherever their musical and production talents take them, be it recording or live. Plus, with its presets you can return to ground zero whenever you get lost.’
‘Tapaya had organised a day at the school where we were able to teach two groups of kids the basics of sound and audio technology,’ said Gilfillan, who led the sessions with help from Russo. ‘It was a full day. The younger kids soaked up the basics and just wanted to perform and show their singing and music skills, while the older group were getting a grip on audio technology.’
‘The sessions proved to be a success and although we were able to teach the kids, I think most of the learning was done by us,’ said Armstrong. ‘We were all challenged in different ways but deeply rewarded by our experiences and better understanding of indigenous culture and community.’
‘Thanks to TAG staff who donated time and spare musical instruments, to Show Technology for lights, The Resource Corp for stands, Design Quintessence for packers, Trumps Music, Soundtown, Mega Music and Australis for musical instruments and amps, and team members who donated their time and undertook the trip, Billy, David, Marc and Tony,’ concluded Twartz.