This month, Young Virtuosi presents a range of fascinating programs featuring music from Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander communities, to some of our youngest performers and the ‘best of the best’ in vocal performance.
NAIDOC Week celebrates the history, culture and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and runs from 3-10 July. NAIDOC is celebrated not only in Indigenous communities but by Australians from all walks of life.
Fine Music supports and celebrates NAIDOC Week with a broadcast of performances from EORA College and from the Maribella and Sensuira Choirs, two of the members from the Hummingsong network of choirs.
Eora College is one of Sydney TAFE’s seven colleges. It focuses on the education and training of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people however students from other backgrounds are also welcome. Eora’s music programs run from a Certificate 2 all the way to a Diploma in Contemporary Music with pathways to university through western Sydney.
One of the featured performances, of the song Ngarra Burra Ferra, is based on the traditional Aboriginal hymn Bura Fera in the Yorta Yorta language of Victoria, the language spoken by the Indigenous people of the Goulburn Valley and Murray River Valley. The song was translated into Yorta Yorta by Theresa Clements and was performed in the NSW Doctor’s Orchestra Concert which began the Sydney Eisteddfod’s 2016 season of competitions. Mrs Geraldine Briggs (Aunty Gerry) was the keeper of this song.
Fine Music’s Even Younger series
Auditions held in March for the Even Younger series for performers up to the age of 18, once again produced a range of excellent and diverse repertoire from the enthusiastic participants. At the age of four, this year’s youngest participant was Jessica Hunt, who was accompanied by her mother who left the studio whilst she performed her piano piece. When the recording session was over and she rejoined her mother, she very proudly let her know, “I didn’t make any mistakes!”
One of the highlights of Sydney Eisteddfod’s yearly performing arts competition is the Sydney Eisteddfod Vocal Scholarships for intermediate and senior classical singers. Fine Music will broadcast highlights of the finals of the scholarship programs.
Formerly known as the Sydney Eisteddfod Joan Sutherland Memorial scholarships, these awards present singers aged between 17-20 years and 21-25 years a very real opportunity for career enhancement and progression while giving aspiring singers a chance to showcase their talents.
Now in their 37th year, the scholarships have seen many successful singers through its stages such as bass baritone Daniel Sumegi and mezzos Catherine Carby and Dominica Matthews.
In 2015, singer Josi Ann Ellem, from Manly Vale, won the intermediate category. She also won the Female Voices event, placed second in the Operatic Aria and third in the Lieder events for her age category. She currently studies with operatic vocal teacher Maree Ryan at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music.
Last year’s senior winner, soprano Isabella Moore from Auckland, also won the Female Voice event and the Paul Worthington Encouragement Award in the Opera and Arts Support Group Vocal Scholarship after a brilliant performance with the North Sydney Symphony Orchestra conducted by Maestro Steven Hillinger. In addition, she claimed second place in the Sydney Eisteddfod Opera Scholarship.
Following her win, Moore departed on her first trip to the United States, where she spent most of her time talking to teachers and visiting music schools in New York, Boston, San Francisco and Houston. Her 2016 plans include participating in the Solti Academy Summer Program in Tuscany, taking lessons with Cesar Ulloa in San Francisco and auditioning in the United States.
The intermediate and senior Sydney Eisteddfod Vocal Scholarship finals will be on July 14 at Playfair Hall at Shore School. Francis Greep and Nicole Youl will adjudicate the events. Tickets cost $17 or $14 concession. For more information visit: sydneyeisteddfod.com.au.