July 2015 Newsletter

AGQ President Newsletter July 2015

 

Dear fellow accompanists and Guild members,

As I lie rather uncomfortably on the bed, with one leg resting on a cushion, I am reminded of the vicissitudes of life and unexpected turns of events which can “throw a spanner” in our daily routine of activities.

In early June, I suffered a nasty home accident when I slipped in the bathroom and did “the splits,” leaving me in pain with a torn hamstring as a result. This necessitated surgical procedure and following a couple of days in hospital, I found myself having to wear a leg brace for 6 weeks and walking around on crutches! Needless to say, this put an immediate stop to my teaching and my school students missed out on lessons for the last 3 weeks of last term (to their joy and relief, I imagine!). Accompanying duties and a couple of small concert engagements were also cancelled and a planned overseas trip during the school holidays was postponed. Hopefully in a few weeks, I will be fully “repaired” and I look forward to a less demoralising time ahead.

There are some important events coming soon, and I urge members to make a note of them and show their support. On the 8th August, the Guild is pleased to present its 3rd Master Class for Young Accompanists at the MTAQ Auditorium. This year we have the expertise of Ms Shelli Hulcombe, a Voice teacher at the Conservatorium, who will help some young pianists develop their skills in vocal accompanying. The repertoire will be varied and interesting. Please make a special effort to come and encourage these young musicians, then stay on for the Annual General Meeting, which will follow the Master Class. Members are being sent all documents relevant to this function, and it is most important that we have a good turn-up here also to guarantee a quorum. All Committee positions will be open, including that of President. Please consider taking an active part in the running of our association – we definitely need some keen and enthusiastic people to take the helm of the Guild, and help it continue to develop and progress on its future path.

The Committee would like to welcome warmly all new accompanists who have joined the Guild recently, and we hope your association will be beneficial and productive. We look forward to meeting you soon at our forthcoming events!

In the meantime, Happy Accompanying and all the best to everyone.

Regis Danillon – President Accompanists’ Guild of Queensland

 

Master Class for Young Accompanists

Dear Guild members,

On behalf of the committee, I am pleased to announce the details of the Accompanists’ Guild of Queensland’s third Master Class for Young Accompanists, to be held on Saturday 8 August from 2.00-4.00pm.
It is open to school and tertiary students.

shellihThe Master Class teacher will be singer, Ms Shelli Hulcombe, who will assume the role of soloist with the participants.  There is a nominal fee of $10 for selected participants.

Some of the members have already expressed interest on behalf of their students, and you are encouraged to “spread the word” to promote this wonderful opportunity for the young pianists in our community.

The entry form is attached and entries close on Saturday 15th June.

AGQ 2015 Master Class Entry Form

March 2015 Newsletter

AGQ President Newsletter March2015

04 March 2015

Dear fellow accompanists and Guild members,

As we are now well into the first quarter of the year, it is an opportune time to communicate to you the Guild’s latest news, projects, activities and aspirations! As you know, we are here to support and help our members, and we hope that the year is already shaping up to be busy and successful for everyone.

At this time last year, we were hectically running around trying to organise our 20th Anniversary Dinner. Sorry to say that there won’t be another one for our 21st, but if you feel nostalgic for that memorable event, and would like to recall some of the good moments we spent that evening, please check the Guild’s Facebook page which is abundant in lovely photos of just about everyone who was there!

After the success of our two previous Master Classes for Young Accompanists, the Committee has been encouraged to present another one this year, which will focus on accompanying for the Voice. We are at present negotiating all aspects of this event which is likely to take place midyear, and members will be notified of all details soon. Once again, we ask you to invite any young interested pianists that you know to apply for consideration.

Members must be well aware by now that the AMEB has recently introduced a policy of allowing recorded accompaniments in the examinations. There has been much outrage, heated opinions and condemnation of this decision, and the musical community has voiced its protests on social media. Without dealing at length on this matter here, we know that this procedure could be quite detrimental to the musical benefit of exam candidates and potentially to the livelihood of accompanists. The AGQ, as an organisation, feels strongly on this matter and has decided to join the chorus of disapproval. We have written a formal letter of concern (which is now published on the Guild’s website) to the Federal Office of the AMEB and are eagerly awaiting their reaction.

Let’s hope that common sense will prevail and that candidates will continue to use “live” accompanists in their exams, regardless.

I hope that members keep a regular check of the Guild’s website. Thanks to the great talent and commitment of Kathy Sander, the website is well-maintained, attractive and relevant, and I would even say, at least equal to the South Australian Accompanists Guild’s website. Theirs, incidentally, has not yet been updated to 2015, while in comparison, nothing can be found on the Guild of the ACT, and the NSW Guild is very minimal with their latest information dating back to 2008! …Bravo Kathy!

I would like to conclude by wishing a warm welcome to the many new members who have joined us since last June. It’s good to see that our Guild is growing in stature and reputation, and I hope that everyone will find their association beneficial.

Well, as Porky Pig says in his “Looney Tunes” cartoons: “That’s all, folks!”

Happy accompanying and all the best!

Regis Danillon – President

Accompanists Guild of Queensland Inc.

Letter from the AGQ to AMEB Head Office

Dear Sir,

The Accompanists Guild of Queensland has recently become aware of a surprising and misjudged policy adopted by the AMEB, of introducing recorded accompaniments for use in practical music exams “as an alternative to accompanists”.  As an association of professional accompanists, we are very concerned by this worrying initiative, and wish to strongly voice our disapproval of this decision.

While we recognise that recorded accompaniments may benefit students in the preparation and practice of pieces in some cases, the use of recorded “backing” in the actual examination can only provide a disservice to the young musicians.  For one thing, we do not believe that “the availability of accompanists has become an issue”, at least in the major centres.  All our members are competent and experienced musicians, and always help the soloists to perform at their best.

The AMEB should, on the contrary, encourage the use of accompanists in the examination room by not making it simply optional.  How can a nervous young student doing an exam for the first time for instance, feel that he/she is safe and secure when following a tape which will play “at the 100% tempo” without regard for tonal balance, and unresponsive to the candidate’s stage of technical development?  In more advanced cases, works which require good musical rapport between solo part and accompaniment can only be compromised and devoid of character and creative interpretation.

There are many other aspects of performance that can be affected without a real, live person, sensitive to nuances of interpretation, and supporting the solo candidate with commitment and sincerity.

We sincerely hope that the AMEB will reconsider their ill-advised decision and disregard this policy to demonstrate a more intelligent and understanding attitude towards ensemble playing, and to maintain some fundamental principles of good music-making in performance presentations.

Yours sincerely,

Regis Danillon

President

Accompanists’ Guild of Queensland, Inc.

Download and print the above letter penned by our President, Mr Regis Danillon

November Newsletter 2014

3rd November 2014
Dear fellow accompanists and Guild members,

 

Once again, the months are passing by at an alarming rate, and most of us are probably now
submerged in semiquavers and dotted minims, with the exam season in full swing! I hope that
everyone has plenty to do in the weeks ahead, before the starving months of December and
January!
Two important events have occurred since my last contact in July, both of them unsurprisingly
disregarded by the majority of members and poorly attended. I must say at this point that in
my 3 years as President of this association there are accompanists whom I have never met.
Our few functions are a great opportunity to network and meet fellow accompanists. It is just
unfortunate that members have such a reluctance to “show” themselves!
In early August, the second Master Class for Young Accompanists was held at the MTAQ
Auditorium, and attended by 3 of our 61 members (an improvement on last year!). There were
8 young, promising pianists who presented themselves before an appreciative audience made up
mostly of parents and friends. It was wonderful to see our invited flute teacher, Janine
Grantham, play with them some unusual and attractive repertoire and discuss the finer points
of performance, which would also have been of benefit to many of us, professionals.
The Annual General Meeting took place a couple of weeks later and was attended by 12
members. It was preceded by a Special General Meeting in which the revised and updated
Constitution of the Guild was introduced and adopted by those present. There are few
changes which would affect members directly. One of the differences concerns the fact that
members of the executive can now hold their positions for longer than 3 years. As a result,
and lack of forthcoming nominations, the current members of the executive have all retained
their positions for another year, and one new person has joined the Committee. We welcome
Barbara Clifford to our group.
Many members will have noticed that this Newsletter is now headed by a “refreshed” logo for
the Guild. We thank sincerely Jo Gibson who has been working with the Guild to give a cleaner
look to our logo, which is now with well-drawn keyboard keys and without a tail for the “Q”!
The name next to it confirms directly who we are. We hope you like the revised design!
The Committee is now considering ideas for next year so that we can present some interesting
activities. Please let the Committee know of any inspired suggestions you may have.
Finally, a friendly warning to any member who still hasn’t paid their dues at this stage, that
your name has been deleted (or is about to be) from the lists of accompanists on our website
and the mailing list. We hope that we do not “lose” anyone this way! Please remember that
“L’union fait la force “ (unity makes strength). The Guild needs everyone’s support!
All the best from the Committee!
Regis Danillon – President
Accompanists’ Guild of Queensland

 

AGQ- November 2014 Newsletter