Nominee Category – Music
Musician, composer and actor
Neill Duncan, a professional musician, composer, actor, and producer for 35 years has demonstrated his leadership in festival organisation. In 2012 Neill lost his left arm to cancer but he has been able to resume his playing career, thanks to a Dutch instrument maker, Maarten Visser of Flutelab, who developed and built a one-handed saxophone. Neill’s leadership is also reflected in his role as an advocate for people with disability and access as he believes everyone has music in them. Neill is a humble person who inspires musicians. He is always striving for excellence and artistry in his music.
Composer, choir leader and teacher
Rowen Fox is a much loved and admired leader in the chorister community. Passionate about community music making, Rowen regularly runs choral workshops in the Blue Mountains. In recent years he has formed school and community choirs in Lithgow, Sydney and Adelaide. Rowen has directed the Phoenix Choir since 2012, featuring his choral and instrumental arrangements. Through this involvement Rowan provides opportunities for other local musicians and soloists to perform with the choir, sometimes arranging the music himself to facilitate this. As a composer, Rowen has written music for a wide variety of musical forms from classical chamber, vocal, cabaret, theatre and short film music.
Concert pianist, artistic director and music educator
A Winston Churchill Fellow, concert pianist, artistic director and music educator, Grace Kim’s leadership is demonstrated through her commitment to making quality live music accessible to everyone with a desire to hear it. Her Sensory Concerts® and Mountain Concerts series aim to achieve this. As a concerto soloist, Grace has performed with symphony orchestras in Australasia, Belgium, Russia, and Ukraine in some of the most prestigious venues. Many of her performances have been broadcast on radio and television. Grace says that she likes to communicate and share ideas, thoughts and feelings about life through the beauty of live music. She believes music connects us and reminds us of our humanity.
Catriona McKay has demonstrated her artistic leadership skills by transforming the music program at Katoomba North Public School over the eight years that she has been teaching there. Her professional training in classical voice and in the Orff-Schulwerk approach to children’s music teaching in particular, has led to the development of a dynamic music and performance program tailored for the students at the school. Catriona’s underlying philosophy is that all children are inherently musical and can connect with music.
Event coordinator, live music promoter and graphic artist
Charity Mirow has shown entrepreneurial leadership in bringing quality music events to the Blue Mountains for over 9 years through consistent and ongoing organisation and promotion of live music events. Through this she has created many opportunities for local musicians of different genres and age groups to develop their skills and performance experience with internationally and nationally renowned musicians. Charity has also assisted the musicians with their branding and promotion during the process. The ‘Voice of the Mountains’ Singing Competition, which Charity initiated, gave new artists a platform to gain experience and develop their craft.
Orpheus Strings Orchestra
Orpheus Strings Orchestra provides an opportunity for both amateur and professional string players (and other instrumentalists) to rehearse and perform with like-minded musicians. The orchestra has contributed to the vitality of the creative arts sector since its foundation. Over the last 26 years they have nurtured many student musicians, several of whom have gone on to make music their profession. The orchestra stages at least four concerts per year. Their annual student concert gives students from primary to tertiary school age, the opportunity to perform with an orchestra in front of an audience.
Winter Magic President – Writer, teacher and organiser
Although not a musician herself, Naomi Parry was nominated because of her outstanding leadership in establishing the new-look Winter Magic Festival 2019. She led a new team of volunteers to develop a sustainable festival for the community, providing a platform for a wide variety of musicians. The festival was refocussed as a day of community-based arts and performance and in 2019 attracted over 30,000 visitors. For Winter Magic, Naomi was spokeswoman, media manager, sponsorship coordinator, social media manager, mentor, fundraiser and grants writer. She provided the leadership, drive and passion behind the festival,
Musician and choir leader
Christine Wheeler has demonstrated outstanding musical leadership through her Bulgamada: Big Sing Blue Mountains project, which brought Indigenous musical performers together with a community choir drawn from the Blue Mountains, Central Coast, Illawarra and Bathurst. She plays music with Leigh Birkett and Rebecca Daniel as Wombats Crossing, sings renaissance music in an acapella quartet Canon Fodder, and directs a community choir The Heathens. Christine has composed a great number of songs and has set many poems to music. Her arrangements include classical music, folk music and music for choral work.