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New England Sings! wins Arts Music Awards


The New England Conservatorium of Music (NECOM) has put Armidale on the map by taking out the national award for Excellence in Music Education at the prestigious Arts Music Awards gala event on Monday 26 August at the NIDA Parade Theatre in Sydney.

NECOM won the award for its 2012 special project New England Sings! designed to promote Australian composition and to encourage the performance of choral music in the New England region.

With funding support from Arts NSW, NECOM commissioned two works from Australia’s acclaimed emerging composers – Dreamers of the Day for secondary choirs & orchestra by Joe Twist and The Bird King for primary choirs by Dan Walker (inspired by Shaun Tan’s The Bird King & Other Sketches).

Under the baton of acclaimed guest conductor Lyn Williams OAM, these new choral commissions premiered at 2 sell-out concerts at Lazenby Hall UNE.

NECOM Director Susanne James says,  “This award is a celebration of the New England community that NECOM is so lucky to work with. It shows just how much music we can achieve when we mix enthusiasm and community spirit with NSW’s finest composers and musicians.”

Over 700 school students, 40+ teachers from 21 schools in Armidale, Bellingen, Glen Innes, Inverell, Kingstown, Tamworth and Walcha; 74 musicians from the Armidale Youth Orchestra, Armidale Symphony Orchestra, Armidale City Band and the Armidale Pipe Band; and 1600 audiences were involved in this project.

Nik Glass, Head of Music at TAS adds, “This is a huge achievement that highlights the outstanding contribution NECOM makes in our community. This award doesn’t just recognise the efforts of our many talented musicians, but also promotes the quality of music and the performing arts across Armidale and the New England.”

News of NECOM’s achievement has already been tabled in Parliament by Adam Marshall MP who described it as a ‘red-letter day for Armidale’.

NECOM is now planning its next New England Sings! project that will be the flagship event for its upcoming 10th anniversary in 2014.