STORIES of life during the Snowy Scheme have been turned into songs as part of an art project currently underway in Cooma.
Last week members of the community were invited to share their stories about what life was like for them before, during and after the scheme which will help form the basis of a musical and documentary theatre project called 'Snowy People' being spearheaded by national award winning arts oganisation Big hART.
The stories were documented by a facilitator from Big hART, Rose Ricketson, and nationally acclaimed music act Mikelangelo and the Black Sea Gentlemen. They created a series of original songs of the stories culminating in a gig and barbecue in Centennial Park on Sunday.
"It's about the community, about the story of Cooma and gathering an understanding of Cooma's cultural landscape," Ms Ricketson said.
"This week we have been talking to older members of the community and getting an understanding of what Cooma is about, what the scheme was, and what it meant to people."
From technical aspects of the scheme to the cultural transformation Cooma underwent with an influx of migrant workers, to tales of dancing at the Pasha nightclub and 'ladies of the night,' were recounted by community members last week.
They hosted a work shop at Monaro High School, met with well known Cooma identities Wally Mills and Diana Klima amongst others who worked on the scheme, as well as the Bocce Club to meet with the Italian community.
On Friday they hosted a workshop with the historical society where different anecdotes and personal family histories were shared.
Former teacher from Cooma North Public School Marie Cox spoke highly of the school and its achievements during the snowy days, recollecting winning a countless number of athletics carnivals during those days.
When asked if there were any difficulties teaching with the language barrier she joked that just learning their names was a challenge in itself.
She said her time in those days was spent mainly teaching, and being involved in the choir which had about 300 students.
They would sing French, German and Maori songs.
The society recalled the strong divide between Cooma North and central Cooma in the Snowy Days.
They recollected how the Savoy used to be a town hall and where the gym now is used to be a cinema.
And they remembered when old Adaminaby flooded and the feelings of animosity toward the government.
The project is being backed by Cooma-Monaro Shire Council , South East Arts and the Canberra Theatre Centre and will continue into 2015, eventually developing into a theatre production.