Local youth talent Bridgette Ford-Chilvers is no stranger to the stage, having been a performer since the age of two-and-a-half. Now 11, Bridgette loves to make audiences smile, she’s been an active fundraiser for several worthwhile causes – and she thinks big! Find out how you can help Bridgette realise her dreams …
Hi Bridgette. Tell us a bit about yourself … How old are you, and what are some of your hobbies?
My name is Bridgette Ford-Chilvers, and I am 11 years old. I love to play the trumpet, sing, Scouting and love to do craft.
How old were you when you first started performing?
I was around two and a half when I first started performing and found my love of the stage. I started in shows down in Sydney with my mum, working for RegProm, and I have been lucky enough to perform in shows like Carols in the Domain and for Dick Van Dyke’s 90th birthday in California.
Why did you choose the trumpet as the instrument you wanted to focus on – and how long have you been playing?
I chose to play the trumpet because I saw others playing it, and it looked quite difficult with only three keys – so I wanted to take that challenge. I have been playing the trumpet for four years now, which has been fun and hard, but it’s good to take a challenge.
What bands/performance companies are you associated with – and how do they help you develop your skills?
For trumpet I am a part of the Young Guns band, led by my trumpet teacher Frank Rugers.
I have also performed locally through opportunities given to me by lots of my teachers that I have had over the years, including Ian at 21st Century Music, Sarah and Mark at Theatre Oz, Mrs T at Saints Youth Drama, Tim and Steph at Got Ya Back Productions, and I am also currently involved in a show at Players Theatre. So, I am very lucky and very busy!
All these teachers and the theatre have helped me by giving me lessons and lots of opportunities to perform in all sorts of different places.
You’re busy raising money to visit Japan. Why do you want to travel there … and when would you need to visit?
I am raising money to go to Japan with the Port Macquarie Young Guns band for performances in Tokyo and Hamamatsu. We’ll be there in July for around 10 days.
What do you most enjoy about performing/being on stage?
I like seeing the audience enjoying the performance the most. I love it when they smile and sing or clap along. I learned from doing shows over the years that as a performer I should always put the audience first and give them a great show.
You’ve been involved with some community work/fundraising for others too. Fill us in on some of the activities you’ve been a part of ...
The last two years I have done the Act For Peace Ration Challenge, where I had to eat the same food as refugees for a week (it wasn’t very much food!) Over the two years I raised almost $1,000 for refugees.
I have also participated in the MS Readathon, which is really special to me because my Ma (Mum’s mum) has MS.
In town I am also a member of 1st Port Macquarie Sea Scouts, and we try to do lots for the community in Scouts, giving things to the community, visiting nursing homes etc. and I recently got to take part in the Australia Day ceremonies both on the Marine Rescue boat and in the flag ceremony with the Scouts.
This fundraising that I am doing now is the first time I’ve done fundraising for myself.
Another one of your goals is to attend Jamboree in South Australia. What’s this event all about?
Going to Jamboree is part of Scouting, where I can meet up with Scouts from all over Australia (and some from other countries) and learn new skills, make new friends and get lots and lots and lots of badges!
They make like a little Scout town there; they even have their own post office and shops. I get to stay with my patrol, and I have heard that people who come back from Jamboree have learned how to be leaders, independent and self-sufficient.
I have been warned that I will come back very tired!
How can the community help you reach your goals?
I am doing lots of different fundraising things – if you see me busking, please drop a coin or two in my case (and enjoy the show!) I also have a fundraising page where you can make online donations at: https://www.mycause.com.au/page/168470/help-bridgette-get-to-japan-and-jamboree
There are also other kids in the Port Macquarie Young Guns band who are going to Japan who may need help too, so if any businesses are keen to help, please contact my trumpet teacher, Frank: firstname.lastname@example.org
And the Scouts who are coming to Jamboree are also fundraising, so if any businesses wanted to help out the rest of the Scouts as well, please email:
Interview by Jo Robinson.