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Melbourne music students' five-year project to raise funds for Afghan Youth Orchestra

Pianist Julia Hastings plays in a small sunlit room.
The tenth concert in the series will be held in the Victorian city of Geelong.

ABC News: Naomi Woodley

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A five-year effort by a group of Melbourne Conservatorium of Music students to raise funds for the Afghan Youth Orchestra will reach the peak of its crescendo this weekend.

The tenth From the Con to Kabul concert, to be held in the Victorian city of Geelong, will showcase both student and semi-professional performers.

The proceeds of all 10 concerts will then be sent to Afghanistan, having inspired young musicians in regional Victoria along the way.

The concert's director and founder, Ellan Lincoln-Hyde, hopes to raise up to $4,500 in total.

"We would like that to have a visible impact on the students and administration when we give it to them, and let them know this is actually a long-term thing," Ms Lincoln-Hyde said.

A reflection of pianist Yani Lam's face as she performs.
The concerts are designed to be affordable and showcase a wide range of musical styles.

ABC News: Naomi Woodley

"[We want to say to them] we have been thinking about you the whole time [and] we love what you're doing and this is our work to show how much we value your work."

She said the students decided to hold off on donating the proceeds of their concerts until this year, as the orchestra has attracted significant international support.

"We'd really like to have the emotional impact of sending several thousand dollars, rather than $200 every six months," Ms Lincoln-Hyde said.

Concerts showcase a range of musical styles

The concert series has also been designed to give up-and-coming artists a much needed space to perform, and to showcase skills to younger students in regional Victoria.

"I know how influential the arts were to me growing up," Ms Lincoln-Hyde said.

Amelia Le Plastrier plays the harp in a sunlit room.
This Saturday's From the Con to Kabul concert in Geelong will feature 11 performers.

ABC News: Naomi Woodley

"Regional Victoria has a wonderful reputation for producing great artists and I thought, 'wouldn't it be wonderful if we could then bring it back'?

"The role models are really important, and it's really important to have people from the area and people who are just like you performing music."

The concerts are designed to be both affordable and accessible, with a wide range of musical styles on show.

"We ask for a donation at the door of whatever you can afford, however much you feel this is worth. So that's kept our audience very broad," Ms Lincoln-Hyde said.

This Saturday's concert in Geelong will feature 11 performers, including pianists, harpists, a barbershop quartet, an operatic baritone and jazz singers.

A group of Melbourne musicians ahead of the tenth Con to Kabul concert.
Director and founder Ellan Lincoln-Hyde hopes to raise $4,500 in total.

ABC News: Naomi Woodley