SOUL SINGER: Former X-Factor Australia winner and Eurovision runner-up Dami Im performs for students at Coomealla High School on Wednesday. Photos: PAUL MENSCH

By MITCH RODD

IT’S not every day that an X-Factor Australia winner and Eurovision runner-up performs at your school.

It’s also not every day your school can celebrate $45,000 worth of new musical equipment.

It’s fair to say Wednesday was not a regular day at Coomealla High School, but there were no complaints from students, teachers, or the Wentworth Shire Council.

The NSW school had been selected as the recipient of the Yamaha Great Start Grant. The grant supports both Yamaha’s own education advocacy program ‘Off to a Great Start’ and the Australian Music Association’s national ambition to engage more young people in music making.

Winning the program also brought the extremely talented Dami Im to the school to perform exclusively for students from all schools in the district.

In addition to the exclusive concert, the Dareton school has been gifted $45,000 worth of Yamaha instruments and music equipment including an electric drum kit, a digital grand piano and a digital audio workstation, to play, perform and record on. Students will also receive professional training worth $5000 allowing them to the get most out of their new instruments.

Prior to her performance for her excited audience, Dami said it was “awesome” that the Coomealla students were getting a great opportunity to develop their musical education.

“For me growing up, I feel so lucky that I had opportunities to learn piano, violin, flute, singing — it’s all given me so much joy. It just makes your life so much more fulfilled,” she said.

“I’m just glad the kids have a chance to do that and if they want to do it seriously and take it as a career, then that’s amazing as well.

“I never imagined that I would get as far as I did (during my school years), and be able to have this sort of career, but I just always loved playing music.”

Wentworth Shire Council Mayor Melisa Hederics said the grant would be a huge benefit to the school and the region.

“To see something like this happen for the region is fantastic. There are a lot of things in our Shire that need an update or a facelift,” Cr Hederics said.

“To see how the kids have responded to the equipment is fantastic. My kids have all gone through Coomealla High School and music has always been part of their program.”

As expected, Dami was a hit with her audience.

“I’ve never been out here and after seeing some of the kids… they’re so lovely and I can see they are really welcoming and excited to see me, which makes me feel very much loved,” she said pre-performance.

The 29-year-old released her fourth studio album ‘I Hear A Song’ in March, which contained a mix of cover songs and original tracks. The songstress said the album has a “lot of jazz flavour” and featured her on the piano for each track.

After touring for the album across April and May, Dami said she is back into songwriting for a fifth album.