THE Gympie Music Muster has a new home and a new, but familiar CEO and Gympie has a new independent record label.
And both are linked to an exciting next episode for one of Australia's most successful talent search and development organisations - Gympie's Australian Institute of Country Music.
But one thing at a time.
Former Gympie MP David Gibson has now re-emerged as Muster executive director and will be working from the new Muster office, in the AICM's Channon St headquarters.
Mr Gibson says there are obvious synergies from the sharing of resources and ideas that will come from closer links between the Muster and the emerging young musicians of the AICM.
Working for the Muster was a reward in itself.
"It's an amazing festival, with great brand recognition.
"And I get to finish every day with music," he said.
He will be working on those synergies with incoming AICM operations manager Simon Birks, well known from his days in commercial radio.
AICM founder Geoff Walden says he will be only too glad to step away from administration and concentrate on what he got into all this for in the first place - the music.
Mr Birks said the sharing of office space with the Muster organisation would be part of a new era for the AICM.
"The alliance will see the two organisations work together to shine the spotlight on Gympie," he said.
In a few weeks, the AICM will begin its Country Rock'sKool program, reaching out to musicians aged 14 to 25.
Mr Birks, who has also been a professional music producer, said young musicians would have exciting opportunities to hone their skills, experience the joy of playing in a band and would be handy to a newly refurbished professional recording studio.
The hugely upgraded studio would be linked to the AICM's new independent record label, "The Music Factory."
"The wonderful challenge for us is to scout for new talent, make professional music and videos, and help local artists market their original music on the world stage," he said.
Along with music lessons and band practice, the AICM will offer short courses in songwriting, audio and video production and online, Mr Birks said.
Dr Rock returns to what he loves
IF GEOFF Walden had wanted to spend his life on administration, he might have been a pen pusher rather than a teacher and musician.
But Dr Rock, as he has been known since obtaining his PhD in popular music, retired from the state education system to become a teacher in the field he loves the best - music.
Mr Walden, who founded both the AICM and Gympie State High School's Country Music School of Excellence, is much more interested in music than paperwork.
His current title at the AICM is education director and that is what he wants to concentrate on.
He was so involved in the music (and Gympie's amazingly successful showing) at Tamworth that he had to get AICM supporter Dave Wight to return to town to collect Dr Walden's Australia Day Citizen of the Year award.
It was a double surprise for Dr Walden in that he was able to share the limelight with one of his students, Caitlyn Shadbolt, who was named Young Citizen of the Year.
"I was really happy to see the two names together," he said.
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