Formed in 2020, the Coffs Harbour String Quartet is made up of four passionate musicians who share the same love of education and performance.
CHSQ made their debut performance in 2020 during peak COVID-19 restrictions via a live-stream concert, and have quickly gained a reputation for giving exciting and inspiring performances featuring some of the great string quartet repertoire.
The quartet is made up with the following members who, after a careers the symphony orchestras and chamber ensembles across Australia and New Zealand, decided to move to the regions to encourage and inspire audiences, local communities and the next generation of music makers through education and performance.
Jennen Ngiau-Keng – Violin 1
Annabelle Swainston – Violin 2
Patrick Brearley – Viola, Founder
Caleb Murray – Cello
February 21 sees CHSQ make their debut performance at the Tuncurry Memorial Hall through the generous invitation of the local community. The program will feature works by Mendelssohn, Dvorak, Mozart and Nordic folk tunes arranged for strings by the Danish String Quartet.
Tickets available at the door and your generous support is greatly appreciated.
Tickets $20 at the door.
Children under 12 free
Students – school and Uni - $10
This is a Covid safe Event and Venue spaces may be limited
We are pleased and relieved to be able to gather again for rehearsals. In October 2020 we began again with the orchestra divided into two groups of string players and then the Woodwinds, Brass and Percussion in order to satisfy the covid 19 public health regulations. And to protect everyone’s health as much as possible.
Our plan now is to perform a series of concerts in March, 2021 so long as changes in the pandemic situation do not make it necessary to alter those plans again. The dates and venues will be posted in the coming weeks.
We are all remembering the bushfires of November 2019 and the ongoing effects upon our countryside, animals, people, their homes and businesses, their lives. The way we all are living our lives has had to change this year.
Music and all of the arts become more important to a country, its people and their civilisation in times such as these. New music and art works often become the record of how society’s emotions, fears, anger and the changes that grow within in a society under unexpected stresses. The music of the past - recent and distant – can bring us together as well.
We look forward to your company when we next make music in public.
Cornell Estibeiro receives his Scholarship
Cornell is an extremely talented musician. He studies violin, piano and voice and can also play the trumpet. Since moving from Goa, India in May 2019 to Taree, Cornell has made a significant contribution to Music within his community.
Cornell began learning the violin when he was 4. When he arrived in Taree last year, it was with great excitement that he joined the St Joseph’s String Ensemble. During the past year Cornell has regularly played at school liturgies and the Taree and Forster Youth Masses. In 2020 he was the worthy recipient of the Sinfonia Scholarship. Currently, Cornell is preparing for Grade 5 Trinity College of London.
Cornell is a competent pianist, studying Grade 4-5 repertoire. He has taken a ‘pause’ from piano exams this year to broaden his musical knowledge in the area of Jazz and to focus upon his violin exam.
Cornell is also gifted with a beautiful voice. He continues to have vocal lessons with his teacher in India via Skype. Cornell recently sung at the Taree Youth Mass which created a wave of emotion in the congregation.
The sky is the limit for Cornell!
Viva la Musica,
Sinfonia Donates funds raised from 20th Anniversary concert
Sinfonia Celebrates and Donates to Local Firies and Farmers
On 24th November, 2019, Sinfonia MNC held its Twentieth Anniversary Concert in the Manning Entertainment Centre. It was an afternoon of much joy, good music, and fun. Our Conductor, Iain Pole, led the orchestra superbly, nowhere more effectively than during the solo performances of three of our past scholarship winners, Jara Stinson, Abi French and Lindsay Kaul. We were so pleased that so many of our past proteges attended to play and to wish us well – Jonathan Billingham and Don Secomb OAM deserving particular mention for giving up their own gigs!
Our long time collaborators, Kantabile Chamber Choir and Company of Voices appeared with us for performances of Verdi’s Chorus of The Hebrew Slaves and The Anvil Chorus. We even had a real anvil – pounded very professionally by one of our newest recruits, Tanya Berry. Our Inaugural President, Leigh Vaughan OAM led the orchestra and the combined choirs to a standing ovation. No local production would be complete without the ABC’s incomparable Cameron Marshall and he was indeed our compere (he would find a joke in there somewhere).
But there was also a serious side to the festivities. Apart from celebrating our longevity, in this time of climactic terrors and dangers, hardship and calamities, we decided we must give back to our community, not only through the gift of music, but through actual donations of hard cash. So many have lost so much and there is no end in sight. We set aside $10 from each ticket sold - $5 for the Rural Fire Services and $5 to drought relief. We also set up donation buckets in the foyer of the MEC and “sold” our programmes for a donation. We were overwhelmed by people’s generosity. Even those who were stretched themselves managed to drop in a little “something”. And that “something” added up to quite a lot – just under $4,000 collected from the buckets and through ticket sales.
Where did we donate? Rainbow Flat Rural Fire Service lost its fire station and of course all its contents to the flames so it was our choice to receive our RFS donation. Elizabeth Berry, our President, contacted the Captain of the Brigade, Robert Derbyshire, to arrange the handover of a cheque for $2,250. The Rainbow Flat crew will be able to put this money to good use in restoring their rural fire station to its usual condition of fully equipped readiness.
We all know that the fires are not the only problem in our beautiful Manning Valley. The drought is badly affecting our farmers, perhaps not quite as calamitously as in some places further west, but we at Sinfonia all believe that we must first of all support those who have supported us in the past. Taree Lions, which has previously donated to Sinfonia, is currently coordinating financial (and other) donations to our local farmers, so it was obvious that we should give our cheque for $1,725 to them for onwards distribution. Our Treasurer, Peter Macfarlane did the honours for this with Taree Lions President, George Greaves.
We hope all of you who attended and donated will be pleased to learn of this happy outcome. Come to visit us on www.sinfoniamnc.com.au to find out more about us and to check for our 2020 concerts. We look forward to seeing you all again next year. We wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year – with rain!
Elizabeth Berry, President of Sinfonia, hands our cheque to Captain Robert Derbyshire of Rainbow Flat Rural Fire Service, beside the tranquil Manning River.
Annie Van Breukelen -
Welcome to Sinfonia MNC. This vibrant regional community orchestra aims to cultivate music appreciation, and music playing in our region.
Our orchestra of the mid north coast, draws its players from all ages (currently 13-93 years) from the wider communities of Gloucester, Great Lakes, Taree & Port Macquarie.
Sinfonia's regular repertoire extends across many genres including classical, jazz and popular. This variety, plus Sinfonia's performance standards make our concerts a most enjoyable and entertaining experience for our audiences. Local choirs, including high school choirs, soloists, and other community musical groups are often featured with the orchestra at its concerts, highlighting the talents in our own communities.
New Rehearsal Venue
Valley Industries - Skills For Life
5-9 Elizabeth St, Taree
12.30 - 4.00pm
Read about our musicians.
For information regarding Sinfonia's Scholarship
Sinfonia MNC have recently adopted a new constitution. For more details, please click on the button...
Many thanks to the Taree Lions Club for their generous donation to Sinfonia
Sinfonia celebrates the life of former French Horn player Graeme “Grim” Mowat
Graeme was born on 27th August 1938 in Newcastle, grew up and worked there for BHP after gaining his Bachelor of Science degree, until 1968 when he moved with his wife and young family to Melbourne. Graeme's first family were members of the Salvation Army, and around the age of eight he was drawn to the local Salvo's Band playing cornet, and then euphonium. This was the dawn of Graeme's appreciation for music. Then in his early high school years he heard Prokofiev's Peter and the Wolf for the first time, with its menacing “Wolf” theme played on the French Horn. This was the beginning of Graeme's lifelong love of the French Horn!
Following the Mowat's move to Melbourne, Graeme's interest in playing a brass instrument was rekindled, and the whole family joined the Box Hill City Band. From there the opportunity arose to join the community Whitehorse Orchestra, also in the Box Hill area. So, carrying his lovely new French Horn along, Graeme's dream was realised! What a thrill it was to one day play the Wolf part in Peter and the Wolf with the orchestra.
The French Horn is notoriously tricky to master, and Graeme worked constantly at improving his technique and standard. Somewhere in this adventure, Graeme's wife Dorothy also began French Horn lessons. So formed a musical journey as a duo. Sometime later they were referred to as “Mr and Mrs French Horn”.
Upon retirement the Mowats settled on the mid north coast in 2004. Not long after they discovered Sinfonia, still in its formative years. Graeme and Dorothy became very involved with Sinfonia – not only as regular members of the brass section, but working behind the scenes as part of the association's board for a number of years. Graeme produced many concert programs for printing, and showed his design flair in a new logo for Sinfonia. Dorothy took up her librarianship skills learned from Whitehorse Orchestra days, and supported then conductor, James Hannah, in her role as music librarian, and sometimes also minding James' miniature poodle, Gus, at rehearsals.
Graeme is remembered strongly for his unique sense of humour and playful turns of phrase by members of the orchestra, as much as for his singular contribution to the music on his French Horn.
Many thanks to Dorothy for contributing stories and details for this brief musical biography.