From Page to Stage

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SCBWI Success Stories: Kelly Hibbert

As creators, we find inspiration in many different ways. In words, in overheard conversations and people we meet. But have you ever stopped to consider how your creation inspires others to create?

Perhaps you have.

I hadn’t. I often wonder who might be reading my book at a given moment, I imagine the feeling I may experience when I come across a copy donated for sale at a school fair. But I’ve never stopped to reflect on what I do and how that may inspire others.

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Fancy Pants began its journey at SCBWI SA's October Retreat Critique Sessions in 2014. Much to my delight, it became a book in 2016 and was distributed for free to 42000 preschool children across SA in 2017/18 with another 42000 copies set to be provided for families in 2021/22.

After that, all it took was a shared vision, internationally-acclaimed musicians, the Australian Youth Orchestra Ensemble and sixty of the most amazing students to turn this story into something else.

Something magical.

Something special.

Something beyond a book.

This is what can happen when exceptional people like Emily Gann from Connecting the Dots in Music and music teacher, Lucy Standish have a vision, apply for and win a council grant.

Not to mention the connections built between industry innovators.

Enter Belinda Spry from publisher Little Book Press.

The Music for All Project is a unique music education program that will see students with disabilities and/or vision impairments from three schools collaborate across a weeklong composition project. Inspired by the joyful South Australian story, Fancy Pants by Kelly Hibbert and Amanda Graham, this project seeks to demonstrate the deep potential for an inclusive, community-based model of music education that positions students of all abilities at the centre of the creative process, mentored and guided by world-class musicians.

Fancy Pants. A performance? With music? On a stage!

And as if that wasn’t enough.

Super brilliant library staff got busy making multiple large print and braille format to ensure access for all. Students also have access to audio books - the first with narration by the author.

Super brilliant library staff got busy making multiple large print and braille format to ensure access for all. Students also have access to audio books - the first with narration by the author.

My second favourite way to create. The whole family got involved and made lagerphones (aka Murrumbidgee River Rattlers), gumnut drumsticks and claves using only nature's materials (almost!) ready for school visits.

My second favourite way to create. The whole family got involved and made lagerphones (aka Murrumbidgee River Rattlers), gumnut drumsticks and claves using only nature's materials (almost!) ready for school visits.

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Author visits to SASVI (South Australian School for the Vision Impaired) and Suneden Specialist School complete with fancy pants aplenty.

Author visits to SASVI (South Australian School for the Vision Impaired) and Suneden Specialist School complete with fancy pants aplenty.

These two lovely ladies, Lucy Standish and Emily Gann, either side of me are the brains behind this innovative initiative. Here we are snipping and sewing together at the Cove Civic Centre during the Intergenerational Sewing Circle to help make a pair of fancy pants for every student appearing on stage.

These two lovely ladies, Lucy Standish and Emily Gann, either side of me are the brains behind this innovative initiative. Here we are snipping and sewing together at the Cove Civic Centre during the Intergenerational Sewing Circle to help make a pair of fancy pants for every student appearing on stage.

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In preparation for the Fancy Pants performance, students worked with this amazing human,  Paul Rissman , from the London Symphony Orchestra, to not only learn but to assist with the music composition and songs. And they learnt the signing too. All in under a week!

In preparation for the Fancy Pants performance, students worked with this amazing human, Paul Rissman, from the London Symphony Orchestra, to not only learn but to assist with the music composition and songs. And they learnt the signing too. All in under a week!

This performance did more than delight an audience .
Much more than bring people together through music.
So much more than put smiles on faces and leave barely a dry eye.

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It inspired.

It inspired one audience member to compose and perform a poem at a Friendly Street Poets' meeting.

It inspired another to begin taking violin lessons again after an extended break.

It inspired the nomination of teacher Lucy Standish from Kilparrin for the Community Engagement Award, SA Public Education Awards.

It inspired people to make the most inspirational comments.

"This show was the best thing I have been to for years. Tears, laughter, hopefulness, joy and all because music brings our souls together in such a powerful way. The children’s faces, the staff delight and the musicians’ smiles said it all and the audience just beamed because they knew they were watching something truly human. Wow so special." KirstyCommunity member.

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And it inspired me beyond words.

Once we take the opportunity to sit and reflect, realisation kicks in that what we create is far beyond just a book.

Here's the video which showcases the amazing collaboration and is featured on the Department for Education website.