Location: Sydney, NSW
Challenge: Various Disabilities
Junction House is a non-residential community centre for adults with a mild intellectual disability. It is based in a terrace house at Waverley in Sydney’s Eastern Suburbs and provides classes, courses, social activities and support aimed at helping people live in and be part of the community.
The Junction House Band was formed in 1987 from participants attending Junction House.
The Junction House Band is a rock band with melodic pop songs with a sixties influence. The band has six musicians with an intellectual disability and a professional session player on guitar. There is a full rock line up with drums, bass, electric and acoustic guitars, keys, harmonica, violin and vocals. Lindy Morrison has been the band’s musical director for the past 20 years.
Three of the original members, songwriter and vocalist Brook Crowley, Albert Blackley pianist and Tony Elkins on bass have been with the band for 25 years. Drummer Nina Gotsis has now moved to acoustic guitar, Rebecca White plays violin and Greg Chui is on electric guitar.
The band writes and plays its own material and has recorded and released four albums, the first being Make a Stand (a cassette), produced in 1993. In 1998, the band released a CD, The Album, funded by a grant from the Australia Council. In 2005, Junction House band completed recording and released their third album If Only Help Would Come. The last album released in 2011 is called Old New Borrowed but Never Blue.
The band has performed all over Sydney alongside mainstream bands at venues such as the Powerhouse Museum, the Stanmore Carnival Street Festival, and the Young Musicians Festival at the Bondi Pavilion. Other events have included Arts Extraordinaire, the NSW Interchange State Conference, the Australian Achievement Awards for People with Disabilities (1997), the Ros Bower Award Presentation (1998) and the Down Syndrome Week Celebration Dance (1999). In 2000, they were the guest artists at the CCDNSW conference, and performed at the Torch ceremony for the Paralympics. They have performed regularly on television and live to radio. In 2004, they performed at Job Futures Conference at the Grand Hotel at Bondi Beach. In 2005, they performed at the NSW Community Cultural Association Conference. In 2007 a 52 minute documentary called Junction House Blues was completed and aired on SBS. In 2008, they performed at Blacktown’s Cultural Centre for International Day of Disability. In recent years they have performed at Luna Park, Central Railway Station and Chatswood Mall. Too many gigs to mention.
Throughout 1995 the band was funded to write their first musical called The Billboard of Life, a rock musical about street children who wanted to become stars. The Billboard of Life was successfully presented in the Bondi Pavilion Theatre and was repeated at the Sydney Fringe Festival and at the Australian Museum’s community theatre event.
In 2001, Junction House devised their second musical called The Battle for Something Special. The band collaborated with the Junction House choir, drama, and dance and craft groups to stage the musical in Bondi Junction. The band performed this musical at the Wataboshi Music Festival, a Festival for performers with disabilities, in Brisbane in November 2003 over a week of performances.
The respect and recognition the Junction House Band has received has contributed greatly to the growing awareness in the community of the skills, talents and perspectives of people with intellectual disabilities. One off funded projects have their place in community music however a band that has withstood the test of time and continued despite unspeakable odds is a rare musical outfit indeed.
Read more about The Junction House Band at Accessible Arts NSW
Junction House Band - Pillars of Glass