Initially known as the St. George's Travancore 2016 Music Series, it began as a fundraising project as part of the vision to establish St. George’s as a new musical venue in Melbourne’s inner northwest.
Local musicians, Leonie Thompson and Nick Slaney, were looking for an affordable performance space with a grand piano. Upon stumbling across St. George’s, they realised that it was the perfect performance space - good acoustics, function hall attached, quiet leafy suburb - except that it had a twangy 100 year old upright piano.
Working together with the church committee, the pair held many fundraising events on the old piano. The possibilities for higher level concerts improved, however, when a beautiful grand piano was found at Lyra Piano Store, and the director supported the project by delivering it ahead of purchase.
The 2016 concerts were in line with Leonie and Nick’s vision to bring professional and vibrant music concerts to the community, with funds going toward the wonderful new grand piano.
After their leave for overseas, the spirit of establishing the beautiful church as a performance venue continues under the name of Concerts at St. George's. With a team led by pianist Natasha Lin as the Concerts Coordinator for the annual Friends of Music Series (FOMS), the spirit of fundraising continues to ensure that St. George's has a continuing role providing music in the community.
"I was delighted several years ago when Leonie Thompson and Nick Slaney, who were preparing for their final exams at the Conservatorium at the time, offered to give several recitals at St George's, on our elderly and rather worse-for-wear upright piano. Later they remarked on the wonderful acoustics of the church, recommended the space to a number of their friends, and proposed a bold plan. The plan was to acquire a concert piano that could turn St George's into an artistic and musical hub for the Travancore-Flemington area, for the benefit of the local community and other young musicians in need of playing time in front of live audiences. Leonie found the piano that would meet our needs and which we could pay off in instalments, and planned a series of concerts for early 2016 that would both raise funds and suitably recompense the musicians. For the small inner-city congregation at St George's, this is a bit of a gamble, but a very exciting one. For the musicians who have offered to play and those who will come to hear them, I hope the experience turns out to be as fulfilling and enjoyable as it promises to be. For Travancore-Flemington, come and visit your new artistic-musical hub!"
(Rev Dr) Duncan Reid Vicar, St George's Anglican Church Flemington
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