Prepared to be charmed – it is impossible not to like this small scale but loveable documentary about a passionate conductor who each year travels through some of the poorest towns in outback NSW to find a choir of children to sing in her Moorambilla Voices Choir concert.
Michelle Leonard is the conductor – feisty, funny, pragmatic and determined to bring music to children of remote, and often impoverished , towns in rural NSW. She is a girl from one of these towns herself, so knows the problems the kids face, but firmly believes in the power of having a go, and being brave enough to rise to the challenge. She has the unenviable task of choosing just 130 from the 2,000 odd school children who eagerly turn up for auditions. But, she handles it all with aplomb, and humour. The kids love her.
Leonard is the centre of the film, but the director, Lisa Nicol, also lets us get to know a handful of the chosen children, who, as only children can, captivate your hearts with their humanity. I defy anyone not to want to wrap young Mack up and take him home.
In this world of trouble and strife there is definitely room for an uncomplicated film that warms your heart and lets you see into the goodness of people. If you want to leave the cinema feeling lighthearted and optimistic then go and see Wide Open Sky.
3 and a half stars from me.