NECOM congratulates former string student Jessica Wright who recently received a National Council of Women (NCW) Australia Day award for early career work and leadership in Music Education. Jessica was presented with her award by Her Excellency the Honourable Elizabeth Beazley AO QC at the NSW Parliament House on 24 January 2020.

Jess studied violin with NECOM’s first string teacher, the late Marian Barford, and was an outstanding musician in the Armidale Youth Orchestra and many Armidale school and community music groups.

She went on to tertiary music education studies at the University of Sydney Conservatorium of Music and during her final year worked as a sessional research assistant in Alice Springs, transcribing the rhythms of traditional Aboriginal travelling songs and working on Katetye country.

Jess is now the Middle School Music teacher at Our Lady of the Sacred Heart in Alice Springs. This has given her unique opportunities to develop her passion and commitment to music education, composition, songwriting and performance. In August 2019 she volunteered with the Music Outback Foundation songwriting with Katetye children, she performs in The Alice Springs Chamber Ensemble and is currently working with the Central Australian Women’s Choir as they prepare for Anne Boyd’s Opera Olive Pink this year.

Jessica was asked to provide the vote of thanks at the NCW luncheon on behalf of the 2020 award and performed her own composition “Home”, a vocal work describing place and belonging in the New England.

In particular Jessica acknowledged the wonderful education and support from the staff both at NECOM and the Sydney Conservatorium of Music and closed her thanks with the words of the late Richard Gill as her motivation to provide many opportunities for children across the globe to learn music:

'We learn music because it is good. We learn music because it is unique. We learn music because it stimulates creativity at a very high level. No other reasons for teaching music are needed.'