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David Banney - Conductor & Artistic DirectorDavid Banney - Conductor & Artistic DirectorA past winner of the ABC Young Conductor of the Year Award, David has conducted many of Australia’s leading orchestras and ensembles, including the Queensland Symphony, the Queensland Philharmonic, the West Australian Symphony, the Canberra Symphony, the Adelaide Symphony and Opera Queensland. In 2009 David became the founding Director of Newcastle’s Christ Church Camerata, with whom he has given many concerts and released two CD recordings.  From 1999 to 2005 David was the conductor of the European Medical Students orchestra, and has conducted leading youth orchestras in Australia, including the Queensland Youth Orchestra and the Sydney Youth Philharmonic Orchestra. David’s teachers have included Patricia Pollett (viola) and Vernon Handley (conducting). As a violist David is a member of the Christ Church Camerata String Quartet, with whom his performances have included a direct broadcast on ABC Classic FM, and concerts with pianist Roger Woodward. David’s compositions include orchestral, choral and chamber music.  David’s deep interest in children’s music education was inspired by meeting Géza Szilvay, the great Hungarian violin pedagogue and creator of the Colourstrings curriculum. He has spoken at numerous conferences on the subject of music education, and is a lecturer in musicianship, conducting and violin pedagogy for the Australian Kodály Certificate.  David enjoys a high profile as a public music educator, particularly through his radio program ‘Banney’s Baton Banter’, a weekly musical discussion on Newcastle’s ABC1233.  

Sandra Fitzgerald - Violin Tutor Sandra Fitzgerald - Violin Tutor

Julie Bevan - Violin/Viola TutorJulie Bevan - Violin/Viola TutorJulie Bevan is an experienced music educator specialising in String teaching and ensemble playing. Julie has taught violin and viola and has presented many students successfully for AMEB and HSC exams. Julie embraces a variety of teaching techniques but now focused on teaching young children the violin using Colourstrings materials and techniques. Julie also teaches violin and conducts string ensembles at Newcastle Grammar School and plays violin in the Christ Church Camerata.

B Mus Ed, Dip Mus Ed, A Mus A

Helen Griffith - Cello TutorHelen Griffith - Cello Tutor

Helen began learning the cello at 8 years of age in Sydney with Nigel Parry and played in the Western Youth Orchestra. Attending Newtown Performing Arts High School brought about a love for all types of music including singing and jazz piano. In 2005 Helen began cello studies with Georg Pedersen at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music and won the 2008 Zonta Young Performers award. Since moving to Newcastle in 2009, Helen has performed with the Metropolitan Players, The National Theatre Company, Lake Macquarie Philharmonic, the Newcastle Youth Orchestra and the Christ Church Camerata, alongside working as an auditioner for the Australian Youth Choir and as the 2016 Lake Macquarie Strings eisteddfod adjudicator . Currently studying under Sally Maer (Cello Diva) who has re-sparked her passion for performing and teaching, Helen now works at Newcastle Grammar School and The Hunter School of the Performing Arts as a class strings and cello teacher. 

Michele Donne - Violin TutorMichele Donne - Violin TutorMichele received her classical violin training at the Cleveland Institute of Music and Baldwin-Wallace Conservatory of Music in Cleveland, Ohio, USA.  As a young violinist, she was awarded the Cleveland Institute of Music Preparatory Department Scholarship for three consecutive years (1985-1987).  Michele developed her love of orchestral playing in both the Baldwin-Wallace Conservatory Youth Orchestra and the esteemed Cleveland Orchestra Youth Orchestra, under the expert hand of musical director, Jahja Ling.  In her home state of Ohio, Michele enjoyed teaching young musicians and performing in various musical groups including the Ohio Boychoir String Ensemble and The Ohio State University Symphony Orchestra.  Now living in Newcastle, Australia, Michele currently performs in the Christ Church Camerata and the Lake Macquarie Philharmonic Orchestra and continues to teach violin and conduct school string ensembles.