Jan Thorp – Music Director (St George Players)
Jan Thorp MA Hons.(UWS) B.Mus Ed. (Usyd) Post Graduate conducting with Robert Rosen.
Jan has lectured in music education at University of Western Sydney, Instrumental Music Director at McDonald College of Performing Arts as well as Musical Director of many local high schools. She was Director of the Department of Education Metropolitan South Festival Orchestra and for many years was the musical director of the NSW State Railway Concert Band. She is also a professional singer and sang in the Philharmonia Choir and Philharmonia Motet choir for fourteen years.
Jan and her husband David, set up the St. George Players over twenty years ago with the support of Kogarah Marist High where Jan was musical director, as an opening for ordinary children to learn the skills they need to become musicians. This led to research into early music education so that the very young were given the exposure and skills they needed to succeed in music and meant St George Players could set up a class to give them those skills. Research into the skills ordinary children need to succeed in music led to Jan gaining a MA Hons. and being asked to present her work at the International Society of Music Educators in Bologna.
As well as teaching music, Jan runs a show called The Moving Picture Show which puts on silent film shows with orchestra and sound effects using the original music that belonged to the State Theatre Sydney and using historical data to show films exactly as they were produced for Sydney audiences during the silent film era.
Eleanor McPhee – Head Instrumental Teacher
Eleanor McPhee PhD, BMus Hons 1 (UWS), BMus (Usyd)
Eleanor McPhee has been an instrumental music teacher for twenty years and during this time has prepared hundreds of students for AMEB exams, HSC music performance exams, eisteddfods and auditions. She has also directed many fine school and community bands and orchestras, a number of which have won gold in the NSW School Band Festival. She currently teaches music theory at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music Arts Unit and performance at the University of Western Sydney and the Academy of Music and Performing Arts, as well as being an AMEB examiner.
Eleanor has performed with a wide variety of ensembles, most recently The Moving Picture Show, who create historical performances of silent films from the 1920s with live orchestra and sound effects. When not performing, Eleanor writes on the topics of instrumental pedagogy, performance pedagogy and the historical performance practices of the silent film era. In 2014 Eleanor was awarded the degree of Doctor of Philosophy through the University of Western Sydney for her investigation into the ways that instrumental teachers learn to teach.
Ryan Hackland – Brass Teacher
Ryan is nearing completion of his Bachelor of Music and plays professionally in the Corrective Services Band and the NSW Fire Brigades Band as well as jazz with many well known jazz bands like the Shawnuff Swing Band. Ryan recently completed a Certificate 3 in Music Industries (TAFE Ultimo) and is a trained drum major.
Ryan teaches brass with St George Players – specializing in Lower Brass (euphonium, trombone and tuba) as well as training the band for marching.
Freddie Hill – Jazz and Brass Consultant
Freddie Hill was born in London in 1948, Frederick (Freddie, Fred) Rowland Hill and is a jazz trumpeter. He holds a Bachelor of Music degree with Honours from Cardiff University and a Diploma of Education from Sydney Teachers’ College. He attended the Jazz Summer Schools held in South Wales in 1968, 1969 and 1970, and the Conservatorium Jazz Clinics in Sydney in 1980, 1981 and 1982.
In 1976 Hill founded an eleven-piece contemporary jazz orchestra, Brassband Extraordinaire, which played original compositions and arrangements of music by composers such as Erik Satie and Thelonious Monk. Hill has performed as a jazz trumpeter with bands such as the Gaiety Swing Band (now called the Shawnuff Swing Band), the Southern Hemisphere Big Band, Saturn Doll, and The Hot Club of Bondi.
He has been a private teacher of music, and has also taught instrumental and class music for the NSW Department of Education since 1980.Freddie Hill composes in both jazz and classical styles, and has composed an opera, The Circumnavigator, to his own libretto.
Aris Cao – Violin
Aris is Conservatorium trained violinist and attended the Conservatorium High School where she won their Concerto Competition. She gained an HSC all rounder award and was chosen to perform in Encore which is a concert of the best HSC performers in each year . She achieved her LmusA in violin with Distinction and has performed and competed extensively, both as a soloist and as a part of orchestras and chamber ensembles.
Michael O’Donnell – Violin, Viola,Bass
Michael O’Donnell has been playing jazz in one form or another since he was 15. After beginning on the bass he now majors on violin and viola with a focus on the gypsy jazz tradition. He graduated his Bachelor of Music in 2012 and is furthering his education under Jess Randall of The Crooked Fiddle Band as well as several of Sydney’s finest jazz musicians. He also has plenty of performing experience sharing the stage with acts such as Juke Baritone and the Swamp Dogs and Edema Ruh. Michael also teaches privately and arranges music for his Orchestra; Pickpockets and Rascals who perform twice every year.
Mel is studying at the Sydney Conservatorium for a Bachelor of Music Performance in Cello. She is passionate about teaching and says “Learning a musical instrument is a glorious thing to do at any age. That’s why I encourage people of all ages to get involved”
Scott Marshall has been teaching woodwind in the Sydney area for over 25 years. He has also been working as a freelance Oboist in Sydney and around the world, working with ensembles such as the Sydney Symphony Orchestra, The Australian Chamber Orchestra, The Tasmanian and Adelaide Symphony Orchestras and was appointed Associate Principal Oboe in the Australian Opera and Ballet Orchestra at age 26, the youngest player in the woodwind section at the time.
He has also been an examiner of woodwind for the Australian Music Examinations Board for over 14 years, travelling to many regional areas in NSW to conduct these exams as well as at the Sydney Conservatorium throughout the school year.
As well as his commitments with St George Players he is currently teaching at Willoughby Public School, Burwood Girls High School and Ryde east Primary School.
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