Over the last month, there has been much activity in the String Department. The first weekend of August, NECOM staff members, with Joanna Fairs-Wu as concertmaster, were involved in the Armidale Symphony Orchestra’s “Purple Fusion” performance of John Lord’s Concerto for Orchestra and Band. Week 1 of Term Three was HUGE! There were the annual AMEB exam sessions, a four-day event with students of all levels displaying great confidence despite the internal nerves. On Wednesday of the same week, as part of the Armidale Community of Schools combined concert, NECOM teachers, Laura Curotta and Robert Jackson, produced outstanding performances from Armidale City Public School string ensemble, the Combined Schools orchestra and the Armidale High School String Orchestra. Then on the Friday our Head of Strings, Joanna Fairs-Wu directed the PLC Senior Strings in another outstanding performance as part of “Parched”, a fundraising drought relief concert organised by PLC.
Week Four provided little respite with the annual Armidale Youth Orchestra Gala concert on the weekend. As part of this concert The Armidale Youth String Orchestra presented a rousing performance of an arrangement of Mozart’s Symphony No 25, the theme from the movie “Amadeus”.
NECOM was very lucky to have an esteemed visiting musician, cellist and conductor Gwyn Roberts, call in for a couple of days while he was on route to play in the Canberra Symphony Orchestra. He was able to observe our Tuesday afternoon rehearsals, including spending some time working with the Boorolong Strings directed by April Kelson, observing AYSO and AYO and later that evening, the UNE String Ensemble directed by Robert Jackson. On Wednesday, Gwyn worked with PLC’s Cello Choir and gave lessons to some of our budding young cellists. Gwyn was in awe of our program at NECOM. We look forward to welcoming him back at the end of this year to conduct the Errol Russel Sinfonia of New England concert on Sunday, December 15th.
Week six of term and it was time for our older budding musicians to perform. Con Brio, our adult community string ensemble, directed by Joanna Fairs-Wu presented a lovely program to a small but appreciative audience entitled “Music Through the Ages”. To finish off the week, Rob and Laura took twelve high school students to the Sydney Conservatorium Open Day Events, an Opera Australia performance and a chance to meet up with some of our NECOM alumni who are currently studying at the Con. You can read more about their adventures in Sydney here.