Since 2013, Head of Austin College, Andrea Gledhill has supported a programme where students who live in the Colleges at UNE are offered the opportunity to work with tutors and a variety of Chamber Ensembles. UNE does not have an orchestra or a resident Choir and this programme allows students who have developed high-level skills with orchestral instruments or have sung with SATB Choirs the opportunity to continue to do this as part of their College life. Andrea is a visual artist and has the desire to nurture the cultural interests within her College. She contacted me and asked me to facilitate this programme and it has been a privilege to steer the interest and keep the performance skills from the students alive.
I create ensembles from the interest and talent which exists from within the student body. This year we had three ensembles rehearsing each week and performing:
SATB Vocal Ensemble
I worked with the voices and was thrilled to include a Latvian Song, “Vindo” into our programme. This was introduced to us by Anita Laurs, daughter of Janis Laurs from the New England Ensemble.(Many of you will remember him). Anita is a wonderful Soprano and also played with the String ensemble.
A BMus student, Felicity McKellar was the Tutor for the flute ensemble and Austin college awarded Felicity a scholarship to continue her flute studies with NECOM teacher, Nick Negerevich as she is undertaking her ATCL this year.
NECOM has also provided the Cello teacher, Robert Jackson who Directed the String Ensemble. This ensemble gave a musical and passionate performance of the complete “Holberg Suite by Norwegian composer, Edvard Grieg.
All three ensemble participated in the Armidale Eisteddfod and have presented two concerts this year. The first was in July and the last one for this year was held in September in Lazenby Hall. The Vice Chancellor, Professor Annabelle Duncan opened the programme with an encouraging speech and was impressed with the quality of performance from the ensembles.
Most of the UNE students involved in this programme are not studying Music degrees. They are students who have moved into the UNE Colleges and are taking the opportunity to continue to play or sing. It is a worthy programme and one which NECOM supports.
UNE Chamber Ensemble Programme.