End of 2017 Strings Report

The year draws to a close and the NECOM Strings department has finished in grand style to a nearly full house in the NECOM auditorium with a performance given by the eighteen members of the recently reformed New England Sinfonia.

The New England Sinfonia (originally a community run ensemble for instrumental students) was recently inherited by NECOM. The format now is a coming together of NECOM teachers, advanced students, alumni and players from within the community to perform once or twice a year with a short and intensive rehearsal period just prior to the performance. This concert was under the direction of retired professional violinist and now conductor Stephen Wu and lead by our Head of Strings, Joanna Fairs-Wu. The featured soloist was a brilliant up and coming young cellist from Brisbane, David Freisberg.

For our younger talented students, the end of year performances has included the Chamber Ensemble concert (director April Kelson), the Foundation Program Ensembles’ Puddledocks and  Boorolong Strings (directors Laura Curotta and Robert Jackson) and Huffs and Puffs ( director Paul Marshall ). The wonderful support team behind the Foundation Music Ensembles are to be given a special mention Camilla Tafra ( cello), Alice Rickards ( violin), April Kelson (violin) and Nicole Mackson, Robyn Bradley, Kees Grenyer (accompanists). The finale of the FMP Ensembles concert was a sight to behold with a  fabulous massed rendition with all 63 performer plus teachers playing Jingle Bells along with an appearance from Santa Claus and audience participation with jingling bells!

NECOM’s adult string orchestra, Con Brio also entered the Christmas spirit by performing as part of the Armidale Christmas in the Mall event.  The repertoire included many new and old carols as well as the loved Pastorale from Corelli’s Christmas Concerto.

There have been the usual Term 4 studio concerts provided by all our teaching staff. At this stage of the learning process, many of our students are now preparing for next year’s AMEB exams, HSC  practical exams and the  Armidale Eisteddfod. Studio concerts offer the chance to have that much-needed performance practice prior to major performances. It is always a pleasure to see a number of parents and family wholeheartedly supporting these concerts.

May all our students have a safe and relaxed summer holiday. Practice is not to be forgotten! Of course, have some time off but remember to come back to the start of 2018 with good preparation having been done, notes learnt, scales established ready for the big year ahead whether it be HSC music performances, AMEB exams, eisteddfod or just simply for the pure love of making music!