As I write this article, the internet seems to have gone down in most areas of the Southern Tablelands and highlands. No email, no Google, no Facebook – how will we survive? I think it is quite nice actually, to be rid of the constant rapid-fire stream of techno-babble that we have become so used to. Perhaps I am showing my age in longing for a time long past where things were slower, people spoke to each other and weren’t bombarded by bad news every second of the day.
As a trained counselor, I find that it has become harder and harder to achieve a “quiet mind” or to be “in the moment” these days, with so many distractions and overbearing input. Although I acknowledge the many amazing things that we have gained through technology, I am mindful of what we have lost too. “Mindful” – that is the key word – the act of mindfulness, of being present, without distraction. Such a rarity today.
Music can be a powerful tool in the development of mindfulness skills. How often have you sat watching a concert, or listening to your favourite music and found that the rest of the world has drifted away? I know I have, many times. It is a wonderful sensation to be in the moment, totally absorbed by the music and the performance to the exclusion of all else. Although I do understand why parents film and photograph performances given by their children, I also sometimes despair because they are seeing their child’s achievement through the filter of technology. In a sense they are not in the room with their child. They are one step removed, technologically remote from the performance. In that sense, even though the performance may have been recorded, the parents missed it. They missed the moment.
As we head into 2016 and another year of huge musical activity, I would like to encourage parents every now and then, to put down their mobile device and choose instead to be in the room - in the moment - and actually be part of their child’s performance. Trust me – you will have a wonderful time and your young musician will enjoy your undivided attention.
In our 30th anniversary year I am pleased to report that out concert series “Friends and Favourites” has been an unqualified success! Launching the year with beautiful international mezzo-soprano Jessica Walker was a real treat! Such an innovative and generous performer, I know that our students gained much from her coaching. The Song Company again delighted us in the second year of their trilogy of visits to Goulburn. Again a wonderful series of workshops followed by a beautiful concert. We have all certainly enjoyed using our new Recital Hall throughout the year! An unexpected treat took place in June with the return visit of the indefatigable Roger Woodward! Truly an icon of the Australian music scene, Roger conquered the audience in his robust performance style! The Sydney Symphony Orchestra Fellowship are always a welcome treat and, with a larger than normal cohort, Goulburn was treated to a smorgasbord of musical delight. Let’s not forget a wonderful concert presented by students from the Sydney Conservatorium under the direction of accompanist David Miller in June. This was an unexpected delight and we look forward to next year’s surprises!
Australia guitar/flute ensemble, Duo Caliente, was delightful and the astounding Kirsten Williams simply brought the house down in a stunning display of absolute virtuosity! To complete our year, who could be better than our old friends, The Idea of North? They are quite rightly, at the very top of the Australian music industry but remain so generous and engaging. However, given the quality of our visiting artists series, I am pleased to say that the best concert for the year as far as I am concerned, was the 30th Anniversary Gala Concert! This will be spoken about and remembered for a long time. It was a beautiful night full of surprises, reminiscences, charm, humour and dynamic musical performance from many of our students, staff and friends!
2015 will be a hard year to top, but we will do our very best!
I must pay warm tribute to the wonderful 2015 GRC Ambassadors who have done so much throughout the year, representing the GRC so wonderfully right across our region. Their performances have always been first class and I know the whole GRC team have found them a delight to work with. We are very proud of them and look forward to similar achievement with the incoming 2016 Ambassadors.
The 50th anniversary year of the Goulburn Eisteddfod was a rich time of achievement for GRC students. There were so many winners and place getters across the music and speech and drama sections that it is impossible to list them here. Congratulations to all who participated and to the Eisteddfod committee who presented an excellent competition.
Our AMEB examination results continue to be first class and reflect the dedication of the GRC tutors and the quality of the work presented by our students. Similarly, our HSC students have achieved very highly. I was particularly impressed by the quality on display at out HSC Showcase night in August! I wish them all well as they await their results.
Paul Paviour OAM, the founding Director of the GRC, has been running choral ensembles, chamber ensembles and orchestras for many years and has established a strong reputation for dynamic and active music-making and innovative composition across the region and beyond. In 2011 I asked Paul to come back onto the staff of the GRC to bolster our choral and orchestral program and was pleased that he agreed to do so. Since that time there have been many memorable achievements including productions of the Messiah, a variety of engaging concerts, involvement in community festivals and countless other musical adventures. It has been pleasing and somehow fitting in our 30th anniversary year, that Paul has been able to again make an important contribution to the institution he founded so many years ago and I know that many here have appreciated his undiminished energy and determination to get music out into the community – even into the Wombeyan Caves! Quite reasonably, Paul has decided that it is time for him to retire and so we bid him a fond farewell and warm wishes for many years of pleasure and good health ahead. There is, however, a secret “book” here on how long we think this retirement will last! (I guess it is not so secret now!)
Go well, Maestro and thank you!