AYO Blog

AYO National Music Camp 2014: Blog 10
By Stephanie Eslake

View of the stage at Llewellyn Hall, Australian National University in Canberra

I think I know this man’s voice better than my own parents’. Soothing, cultured, and outrageously bass-heavy, ABC Classic FM presenter Bob Maynard has provided a soundtrack for musical Australian households for the last four decades. 

Despite his unchallenged radio fame, the surprisingly humble All Night Classics presenter very kindly took two weeks out of his busy schedule to help out our little group of WAMsters in Château Periwinkle.

Yesterday, Bob gave us the chance to pick his brain of valuable industry experience – and often in the form of a very funny story. 

‘When you’re doing a long day and you’re up to the last CD in a late night shift, that’s when the trouble calls,’ warned Bob.

‘There was one day where I wanted to go somewhere after my shift, and I packed up everything, and switched off this and switched off that. I was just on the last CD of the shift – and suddenly the CD misbehaved, and I had to unpack everything and reboot everything!’ He added wryly: ‘I’ve learnt that lesson.’

‘We also had a busker in who had brought his goat along for an interview – and then let it walk down the corridor, on the first floor!’ 

A goat is yet to appear in the Australian National University music school, although we’ve seen a few Smurfs at times. With 250 young musical maniacs living on two weeks of fun-induced sleep deprivation, it does get a little crazy. 

Bob confessed he’s a first-timer here at the Australian Youth Orchestra National Music Camp, and I reckon he’s sure to become a repeat offender.

‘It’s been a sharp learning curve for me – I’ve never done it before. I’ve been told before that it’s very valuable, and I can see that it is. It’s a great experience for everybody and people come away with memories.’

‘The vibes, the youthfulness of the place, it’s a real tonic for me.’

NMC has a history of developing and showcasing some of the nation’s finest young musicians – but there’s also a lot that goes on behind the scenes. Arts administrators, sound recordists, and young writers work their hardest to put together a final production worthy of being broadcast on ABC Classic FM to Australia’s 23.5 million people.

‘Seeing that dedication of the orchestras and the WAM group, and the sound recordists focused on what they were doing, and the AA people – everybody’s hyped up,’ Bob said.

‘There are all sorts of ways in which networks can be formed and they move through the profession as a result of music camp, and now I’m seeing it for myself. I’m thinking, “I’ve got to give these people as big a chance as possible.” Seeing the dedication is marvellous.’

Words About Music participants have been blogging daily during AYO National Music Camp 2014.