Young flautist dreams big
At 7 years old, Maria Brereton and her family packed their bags for a one-way trip to Australia.
Although she left her home country, she had more trials to face as she settled into her new life.
She brought not only clothes and keepsakes, but also her Romanian culture – what she ate, how she dressed and how she perceived the world.
At her primary school, lunchtime bullies made fun of her because she was different.
Instead of spurning her roots, she drew strength from her heritage and found solace in music.
‘I’m in my own world when I play flute and it helps me when I’m not feeling well,’ Maria says.
‘My flute has taken me to many places – I go to many multicultural events, and I like how everyone’s face lights up when I start playing.
‘One time, I played at a hospital and people with dementia and other health issues started standing up and some even started dancing – it really brings people together.’
Maria, who is now 13 years old and on a music scholarship at John Paul College, is a testament to the power of multiculturalism.
She is now happily settled in Slacks Creek and was welcomed with open arms at her new high school.
‘When people were putting me down, everyone – my mum and members of the church – told me to never give up and that people don’t know better,’ she says.
Maria and her mother, Helen, a violin teacher.
Sunday Orthodox Church St. Filip in Beenleigh has helped Maria stay connected to her heritage through Romanian books, events, and rituals.
Maria is happy to be bilingual and considers Australia her home now.
‘I want to showcase that anything is possible, even if you’re a migrant or refugee,’ she says.
‘You can’t control where you were born, but you can change where you go.’
Recently, Maria has been busy performing, volunteering at community events and practicing her flute.
Her next goal is to represent Australia at the Kids Star International competition in Thailand. If you’d like to support Maria on her journey, please visit her GoFundMe page.
‘Music is a wonderful gift and I’d like to become a teacher or a doctor one day,’ she says.
Get more information about Maria’s upcoming performances on the Brereton Music Tuition Facebook page.