I have sung my whole life.
My mother was a folk singer and her singing wove through the days of my childhood. I learnt to sing from her the way infants learn to talk - music was always in our home and I can't remember a time when I didn't sing. Her songs - the melodies, the beautiful modes and the earth and honesty of the singing are my music home and the foundation of all of my music making.
it has been thirty years since I started studying classical singing. My first teacher had written on her studio wall: SPACE, SUPPORT, FOCUS and FREEDOM. For me, the pursuit of technique has been a life's pilgrimage - and over my thirty year journey, as my understanding has deepened of how singing, body, soul and life are connected, these four words have stayed with me as great tenets for my own singing and for teaching students.
Perhaps because my first experience of singing was of connection - I have been drawn to making music with people, and have been singing in, directing and composing for vocal groups for fifteen years. I undertook a Masters of Music in pedagogy at University of Queensland where I discovered the Kodaly approach to music teaching. The Kodaly philosophy resonated deeply with me - that music education is everybody's right and voice is the one instrument every person has equal access to, that folk music embodies the "wisdom of the people" and is central to great music making and that acappella singing can be both a profound foundation for musical understanding and the highest culmination of beautiful musical expression,
To hone my writing craft I have studied with classical and jazz theory and composition teachers, but my most important teachers have been the singers in my choirs. They have taught me how to arrange well- what works and what doesn't - what makes a piece a joy for choristers and their audiences. Learning from these wonderful choristers, over the years my style has become simpler yet richer, with a focus on tunefulness for each voice part.
For the last ten years I have sung with my husband Emlyn, in an acappella duo. His extraordinary musicality infuses every arrangement I share on this blog - many of my arrangements are adaptations of versions he and I have sculpted and performed together.
I have written a number of larger works. In 2014 I composed a musical setting for The Tailor of Gloucester for choir, soloist and string accompaniment. It was premiered in the 2015 Adelaide Fringe, and toured to a number of primary school in South Australia. I have also composed an opera - Polly, setting to music the adventures of Polly and Suki, the ladies who put the kettle on and off. I have also written an Oratorio - Letters to a Queen looking at one of the wise king's adventures to and from Bethlehem.