Marian Barford Award winners

The Marian Barford Award was initially launched by NECOM in 2022 to honour NECOM’s first string teacher, the late Marian Barford, who sadly passed away after ten years at NECOM in 2015. The Award honours Marian’s hard work, dedication, and commitment to NECOM’s programs and the wider community organisations whom Marian generously gave her time to. Many of Marian’s students have gone on to study music at university, have played in the Australian Youth Orchestra and become teachers themselves and she would have been so proud of these students and the legacy she created if she had been able to be with us today.  

The awards are important as they assist our senior students with the significant costs associated with furthering their musical development. This can include paying for accompanists and chamber musicians for their HSC recitals and compositions, funds toward a better instrument, or workshops camps and lessons to raise your performance skills.   

No other subject in the HSC requires this level of investment and so the Marian Barford Award goes some way to supporting our senior students, many of whom go on to study music at university. 

This year the Marian Barford Awards were presented at the Rising Stars concert on February 18 featuring a number of NECOM alumni and staff. There were five awards presented to deserving students, two in Year 11 and three in Year 12:

Year 11 Awards

India Smith  

 India studies violin with Joanna Fairs-Wu and is a member of numerous school ensembles, and those in the community including the New England Singers, Armidale Youth Orchestra, the NSW Regional Youth Orchestra to name but a few. She has been a member of the national children’s choir, Gondwana Voices for the past four years and will be touring with the choir to Europe in September this year. She plans to use her Award to contribute to the substantial costs of this tour.  

Amelie van der Werf 

Amelie learns cello from Rob Jackson and like India, is a valuable contributer to school and community ensembles including the Armidale Youth Orchestra and the Errol Russell Sinfonia. She plans to use her award to attend the Regional Youth Orchestra programs this year with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra and the Australian World Orchestra. 

Year 12 Awards

Olive Lockett  

Olive studies double bass with Rob Jackson and is immersed in many ensembles across the school and community and as a double bassist and bass guitarist straddles both classical and contemporary styles. She plans to use her award for extension lessons for her HSC with the Principal double bassist from the Sydney Symphony Orchestra. 

Lilla Menzies 

Lilla is studying both voice and contemporary piano with Sharny Russell and has been involved in numerous choirs, musicals and bands at school and in the community. Lilla is also developing her skills as a contemporary songwriter and has worked with leading industry figures in both the APRA AMCOS Songmakers program and the Australian Institute of Music songwriting workshop. Lilla plans on using her award towards the cost of producing her first professionally recorded album.  

Abigail Thompson 

Abi is studying cello with Rob Jackson and is a member of numerous school ensembles, and those in the community including the Armidale Youth and Symphony orchestras. She has a string of achievements behind her already including gaining her A.Mus performance diploma with Distinction, she has been a member of Gondwana Voices and last year Abi led the cello section of the NSW Regional Youth Orchestra, where she had the opportunity to work with members of the London Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Sir Simon Rattle. This year Abi will be auditioning for entrance into a tertiary music degree and will using her award towards trial lessons with various teachers around Australia to assist her decision where to study at university.