Big dream is one step closer
A FUTURE country music star has secured a spot at a prestigious singing academy.
Emerald teenager Mitch Rolfe will soon be off to the CMAA Academy of Country Music to attend an intensive, eight-day course, which teaches attendees all about the professional music industry.
Mitch, who hopes to one day achieve his dream of being a professional country music singer, said it was "a pretty big deal” to be accepted into the academy.
"I was smiling about it a lot. From what else I've heard, you get gigs and stuff in Tamworth after you graduate,” he said.
Mitch's mum Tash said the course would give her son the chance to work with industry professionals.
"Songwriters (and) actual known country music artists will be there to mentor the kids and let them know about their career,” she said.
"The most important thing they learn about is what is expected of them (in the industry).
"The academy is such a prestigious thing because after they've been there, it opens up so many doors - gigs when we go back to Tamworth in January.
"His name is out there a little bit more, also.”
Tash will also be attending the course so she can pick up some tips and tricks about managing Mitch's career while he's still at school.
For Mitch, one of the highlights of his career so far has been meeting and recording a song with Australian country music legend, Gina Jeffreys.
"Mum found some way to get in contact with Gina Jeffreys and I had a four-hour, one-on-one course with her,” he said.
"We wrote a song and recorded it with professional gear and all that, which was a great experience.”
Tash said Mitch was still in regular contact with Gina and has Skype lessons every Monday with one of her proteges, Max Jackson.
"Mitch just performed at the Capella Country Music Festival... and the support he got there from people like Diane Lindsay - who is huge in country music and is very well known in Tamworth - was fantastic.
"All of this is just little steps because that's what he (Mitch) wants to do as his career.
"We're fully aware that not everyone gets to make it, but if I can support him in any way to make sure that he does get there, (I will).”
Excited for what the future holds
MITCH Rolfe won't be the only singer from the Central Highlands heading off to the CMAA Academy of Country Music.
Blackwater teenager Greer Webley, who has regularly performed alongside Mitch at gigs in the past, has also been accepted into the academy.
Greer said she was looking forward to attending the prestigious course.
"I nearly screamed,” she said.
"I was really, really excited.
"We'll be getting mentored by a couple of well-known artists.
"I'm looking forward to mostly just learning and getting more skills - just growing as a performer and a singer so I have more experience in the future.”
A regular of the local music scene, Greer's mum Kylie said the Blackwater community was "immensely” supportive of her daughter.
"Currently, Greer does quite a bit of gigging around Blackwater and the (Central) Highlands with Mitch,” Kylie said.
"There's a local country club - she does some Friday nights there and for events and things like that, they always ask her to sing.
"Their music teacher (Anna Farquhar) does find some gigs for them.
"We're just extremely grateful that Anna believed in Greer and gave her all the support she needed to get to this point.”
Greer said she was looking forward to attending the academy with someone she knew.
"Mitch and I are pretty good friends - we've been to Tamworth twice together and have done a lot of performing together.
"But (it's) also (exciting) that we're from around the same area, the Central Highlands.
"I'm definitely excited to be going down with Mitch.”
Like Mitch, Greer also hopes to one day have a career as a professional singer.