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Paul Paviour Recital Hall transformed from 'ugly duckling to swan'

From ‘ugly duckling to swan’ is how Goulburn Regional Conservatorium (GRC) Director, Paul Scott-Williams has described the transformation of the Conservatorium’s performance space, the Paul Paviour Recital Hall.

Regional Arts NSW CEO, Elizabeth Rogers agrees.

‘It was wonderful to be part of the evening and see and hear the difference in the renovated space. Regional communities deserve the same standard of performance spaces as their city counterparts, and it is a credit to the conservatorium and the Goulburn community that they now have this beautiful performance space,’ Ms Rogers said.

In a highly appropriate gesture to its namesake, Paul Paviour performed at the opening of his own room.

‘Thirty years after founding the GRC, Paul Paviour remains active in our regional community. Renowned as a composer, Paul still directs two choral groups and conducts and accompanies on a regular basis. He is held in great regard and affection and in fact, we have come to playfully nickname him “God”, as he simply seems to go one forever,’ Mr Scott-Williams said.

Paviour settled in  Australia in 1969 and took up the position of Director of Music at All Saints College Bathurst. In 1975 he became a lecturer in creative composition at the Goulburn Teachers College, which later became Goulburn Conservatorium where he was inaugural director.

In 1982 Paviour’s Goulburn Consort of Voices performed for His Holiness Pope John Paul II. Highlights of his career also include being the director of music for the Duke of Edinburgh’s 1974 visit, the consecration of All Saint’s Cathedral Bathurst in 1971 and the opening by Elizabeth II of the new Parliament House, Canberra in May 1988.

Funded from the conservatorium’s accumulated surplus and partly through funding from the Department of Education, the renovation took place over January and February.

Mr Scott-Williams said there was another slightly small performance space on the first floor, but they had found over the years that accessibility was very difficult for the elderly and the disabled.

The newly renovated Paul Paviour Recital Hall can seat up to 140 people comfortably, has a large 9m by 3m stage, plus professional standard lighting and sound equipment fully integrated.

‘We wanted to create a classy, multi-functional space to present our various performance events in.  The acoustics are excellent and the lighting makes everyone look beautiful,’ Mr Scott-Williams said.

‘Goulburn is sadly lacking viable performance venues, so although this space can’t be used as a theatre, it is an extremely viable and comfortable recital hall. I like to think we have value-added to the Goulburn community by creating this lovely space that will certainly be used for our internal concert series and visiting artists series, but I am also keen to see it used by community groups where possible.’

Visiting artists in this year’s series include mezzo-soprano, Jessica Walker; violinist, Kirsten Williams; a capella group, The Song Company; Sydney Symphony Fellowship Orchestra; flute and guitar duo, Duo Caliente and vocal quartet, The Idea of North.  Jessica Walker will perform on Saturday, 7 March and also facilitate a masterclass.

Mr Scott-Williams said one of the first discoveries made during the renovations was the stunning original floorboards that had been covered by old blue linoleum.

‘After these were revealed, we felt confident the room could be successfully transformed. We have retained the original glass ceiling and a wonderful original glassed display wall that houses a range of artefacts tracing the history of the GRC over the past 30 years,’ he said.

‘In our 30th anniversary year it is a pleasure to be able to enjoy a quality performance space in the heart of Goulburn.’

Mr Scott-Williams said the space had been further enhanced with the beautiful photographic artwork by Canyonleigh photographer, Richard Manning.

‘Richard did a photographic study of the conservatorium building a couple of years ago and his work is just beautiful and makes the recital hall look striking and dramatic,’ he said.

More information about the GRC and bookings for its Visiting Artists program is available here.

Home slider image credit: Anita Kelleher