NECOM Christmas Concerts 2019

NECOM's annual Christmas Concerts are always full of Santa hats, antlers and Christmas bling, all a fitting accompaniment to the wonderful repertoire presented by our talented young instrumentalists, singers, their conductors, and accompanists.

Foundation Ensembles Christmas Concert
On Tuesday 19 December, NECOM's Foundation Ensembles Concert showcased our newest group the Percussion Ensemble, alongside the Puddledock and Booralong String Ensembles, Tilbuster Winds, Armidale Youth Wind Ensemble, and special guests Quart-Ed from the Sydney Conservatorium of Music.

The concert began with a bang with all six ensembles on stage performing an impressive Christmas Medley arranged by our own Paul Marshall. The Auditorium was packed with families and the community to hear a vast range of repertoire that gave every player, even the very youngest, a chance to play alongside their peers in some very entertaining and moving music.

Congratulations to all our performers and to ensemble conductors and accompanists:
Strings: Laura Curotta and April Kelson with accompanists Nicole Mackson and Robyn Bradley
Winds: Paul Marshall and Louisa Sindel-Marshall, with accompanists Kees Grenyer and James McKay
Percussion: Kees Grenyer, Vanessa Bartley-Heterick and Fumie Takahashi

We would like to wish all our instrumental students a big congratulations on a wonderful concert and we can't wait to see what 2020 has in store for them!

Christmas Choral Concert
NECOM's annual Christmas Choral Concert on Wednesday 27 November was another wonderful concert for our choristers and audience.

It began with the auditorium being invaded by gnomes masquerading as our youngest choristers, the Minisingers conducted by Nicole Mackson, with accompaniment from pianist Kees Grenyer and Sophia Mackson on viola.

Cantilena and Cantilena Chorale, our primary-school-aged choirs, were led by conductor Connie Dunham and accompanist Warwick Dunham. They sang two very moving works, That's Christmas to Me and Star Carol, sharing with the audience what Christmas means to each of the choir members.

A special place in our Christmas Concerts is always reserved for the Side-by-Side Choir, presented in partnership with Armidale Secondary College Support Unit. The choir is led by Rowena Teege with accompanist Warwick Dunham, music therapist Fumie Takahashi, and the Unit's own Annie Kanety on guitar.

NECOM's secondary-school-aged choristers, from the New England Chamber Choir and New England Singers, performed an impressive selection of repertoire, including the captivating a capella piece Earth Song by F. Tichelli, Handel's Hallelujah Chorus from The Messiah, and a very special performance of Cups as a farewell to the Year 12 students leaving the choir. It was a stunning way to wrap up a wonderful year of singing. These performances exemplified the wonderful work they have accomplished under their conductors this year - Leanne Roobol, Inga Brasche and Phil Oxley with accompanist Robyn Bradley.

But of course, the Christmas Choral Concert wouldn't be the same without all of the choirs returning to the stage for the traditional Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer as the Finale.

Thanks to the choral program staff, accompanists and all the NECOM staff, for another wonderful choral year. Our choir directors are already preparing for a busy 2020 that will include the Children's Chorus Opera Australia performance of Carmen, the Armidale Eisteddfod (of course), and New England Sings!