Dubbo Photo News & Dubbo Weekender

The sound of music in 2015

Above | Macquarie Conservatorium students perform at Cobbora Village Hall: Amanda Hovenden, Oliver Burn, Emma Newby, Eunice Roberts Above | Macquarie Conservatorium students perform at Cobbora Village Hall: Amanda Hovenden, Oliver Burn, Emma Newby, Eunice Roberts

Another year of music-making and music-learning has whistled by, and a list of just some of our concerts and activities shows there’s never a dull month at Macquarie Conservatorium.


It’s quiet; there’s no music coming from the teaching rooms, but we’re busy enrolling hundreds of students and fitting them into our teacher’s timetable: that child does cricket on Wednesdays, and that one does ballet on Tuesday and Wednesday and Thursday and Friday.... so Monday’s okay? No, that’s school band practice.


Double threat pianist and published writer Anna Goldsworthy return to Dubbo, this time with violinist Helen Ayres and cellist Tim Nankervis to open our concert series. The Seraphim Trio turns 21 this year, and Dubbo was included in their celebration tour of Beethoven concerts. The Seraphims also kick off our masterclass program for 2015, with young musicians workshopping a piano trio with cellist Tim.


Stopera singers hit the Dubbo stage with the beautiful tunes of the great Broadway musicals, at the end of their regional NSW tour.

Another musician touring western NSW in March is the indefatigable Michelle Leonard of Moorambilla fame, who whizzes into Dubbo, conducts five workshops in one day, and listens to several hundred young singers, with some lucky local kids picked for this year’s Moorambilla song-fest in September... in Dubbo this time!


This year our state-of-the-art video-conferencing equipment is ready to go, and our first customers are the eight children who make up the total student population of Goolma Public School. Weekly sessions via the VC with our drum-meister Dale Freeman get this group of students from kindie to year 6 hitting the djembes.


Six young artists from the Masters program at Sydney Conservatorium travel through the Central West on a work experience concert tour, finding out what it’s like to play five concerts in five towns in one week. Their performance in Dubbo shows they’re already seasoned professionals, with Dubbo students enjoying master classes with them as well.

Conservatorium scholarship students get a taste of performing in a different venue to a receptive audience, at Dundullimal Homestead’s Mothers Day high tea and concert.

The New Sydney Wind Quintet plays two concerts: the first to a packed hall of school students enjoying the five players plus narrator version of Prokoviev’s musical story Peter and the Wolf; and the second to our enthusiastic Friday evening concert series crowd.


There’s only one word for this month: eisteddfod. Conservatorium students play solos, duets and mass together in ensemble entries for the annual City of Dubbo Eisteddfod. Thirty or more string players of all ages and skill levels are gently guided by conductor Sue Hovenden, and the Macquarie String Sinfonia is just one of many Conservatorium entries receiving a first prize.


Australia’s most popular living composer, Elena Kats-Chernin with pianist Tamara-Anna Cislowska are a live-wire double act in their duo piano concert of Elena’s music. If you’re the composer, then you don’t have to stick to the notes on the page, you can recompose it as you go along, which keeps it interesting for Tamara. These fascinating musicians also give seminars on their work to Dubbo secondary school music students.

Conservatorium students and staff perform in a concert at Cobbora Village Hall to mark the hall’s centenary, with more than 150 people turning up to celebrate the rejuvenation of this historic community building.

Young violinist India de Sousa Shaw is Macquarie Conservatorium’s representative in a once-in-a-lifetime orchestra project at the Sydney Opera House with the Australian World Orchestra. 20 students from the 17 NW Regional Conservatoriums are tutored by some of Australia’s best players and perform on the Opera House stage, conducted by the legendary Sir Simon Rattle.

July and August is AMEB exam time for our students, a rigorous Australian wide exam system with specialist examiners travelling to regional centres to assess performance and technical skills.


The ever popular Grigoryan Brothers play music from their latest CD to a packed house on a Sunday afternoon, squeezing in a masterclass for our young guitarists on the same day.

Hans Christian Anderson’s fairytale The Emperor and the Nightingale is brought to life by our Youth Music Theatre performers, with an extra show for more than 200 pre-schoolers and school students.


The Janet Seidel Trio are a double hit, in their concert of smooth jazz classics, and in a weekend of ukulele workshops.

The ukulele enthusiasts stay on to perform at the Conservatorium’s Open Day, along with special guests the Dubbo District Concert Band, an inspiration for our school band students. Concert items from more than a hundred student performers fill the Hall, and free come and try sessions for early childhood music and drumming are popular with kids of all ages.

Together with Outback Arts, we take 20 drums and drumming teacher Dale Freeman to Warren and Cobar for workshops, and the drum tour continues in October to Gilgandra, Narromine and Wellington with Orana Arts.


Fiery flute and guitar players Duo Caliente intrigue their audience with their Spanish and Latin flavoured repertoire, and students are impressed with the tips they get in their masterclass.

The Drumming Ensemble supplies the beat for the DREAM Festival’s Lantern Parade – and they did the same in September for Dubbo’s Multicultural Festival.


Adult students present their own relaxed twilight concert, with wine and nibbles available to performers before and after playing.... there’s some left for the audience as well.

Our talented students are rewarded with scholarships at the Annual Awards Concert, and the Youth Music Theatre kids ham it up in a James Bond-themed Christmas show, elf and santa costumes everywhere.


School music program teachers race across town conducting their school bands at graduations, fetes and speech days.

The Conservatorium Brass Ensemble entertains the crowd at Dubbo City Council’s New Residents Night, and scholarship students perform at the Mayors Morning Tea for seniors.

At a packed end of year concert, students of all ages play Christmas carols, the term ends and it’s pretty quiet in the teaching rooms. The enrolment forms start arriving and we’re busy enrolling hundreds of students.


What’s On

January 11: Conservatorium office reopens after summer break

January 19 and 21: Free Come and Try sessions MusicPlay and MusicMakers for children 2-6 years

January 20 and 21: Holiday Drumming Workshops for kids 8-12 years