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Sonia Lancaster
Hello my Violin Family,
I wanted to share some exciting news, because “normal” every day acquaintances won’t really understand!

I live in rural area of Australia and that means few string players and fewer teachers/orchestras. For a while 4 of us have been playing together in a string quartet https://m.facebook.com/malleestringquartet/ (meeting regularly and doing a few gigs, Weddings etc.) We sometimes get professional musicians who come from Melbourne (600km away) and do outreach programs. Last year we were lucky to have John Noble who plays with Orchestra Victoria come and spend some time with us. He has a quartet program https://www.johnnoblesquartetprogram.com/ and he invited us to join! This is a first for our area and basically means we will have professional mentoring and guidance, both in person and remotely, from John and members of the Flinders Quartet http://www.flindersquartet.com/ We have all been working hard to get this off the ground because it relies on sponsorship funding and we have just found out that we have been successful in securing funding from the local council and local community members who are keen to see string playing thrive in the area.

We will be joining the other groups in November to play in Melbourne at the Recital Centre. 

Just thought I’d share

Sonia
Sonia Lancaster
15 Responses
Posted: August 7, 2019
Last Comment: August 13, 2019
Replies

Timothy Smith
Posted: August 13, 2019
Sonia, Thank you for that explanation. Having professional mentors/guides is a wonderful thing! I never cease to be amazed at the talent I see in Australia.I know several wonderful musicians and sound engineers from that part of the world. I would call them all trend setters. 

I wish you well!

My situation is such that there are a few adult orchestras that might let me in, however they are all just out of range with respect to my location. 60 miles away is more than I can really do. NY is about 2-3 hours away. I can get to Phila or Baltimore, same thing though, just a bit too far out for me for anything other than an occasional day trip. Closer places are still an hour out one way. I still have the local folk and Irish meet ups for now to keep me at least playing something.

Sonia Lancaster
Posted: August 13, 2019
Hi Timothy,

To “secure funding” means we have managed to get a grant from the local council and also some financial support from various local philanthropists. The program is run by a professional musician, with the backup and help of a professional quartet and so there are costs attached to it. I’m not sure if the musicians get recompensed for their part but there will be music to buy, publicity, travel costs (because they visit our area to do the mentoring), venues to arrange etc. The terms of the program state that the students/ partakers cannot contribute to the costs involved, so we have to raise the money to make it financial viable and sustainable.

I know the feeling of wanting to play and not having a group you can join. I don’t think lack of experience should hold you back trying to get people together. I’m not sure where you live or what size population there is. Are there any amateur or community orchestras or bands? Certainly, if you’ve got the time, motivation and organisational skills then go for it. I do have contacts in the UK and in New York who run an organisation called Late Starter Strings. They are for adult beginners or returners and are a wonderful organisation for playing with. I can give you details if you like. I’m sure they’d be very helpful if you want to go ahead. 

Good luck and let us know how you go.

Sonia

Mariana Aguirre
Posted: August 13, 2019
Felicidades! Hermosa experiencia!!

Timothy Smith
Posted: August 13, 2019
Congratulations Sonia!!!! Better days ahead. 

Just curious, what does securing funding mean specifically? Do they pay the players or pay for education, secure a venue or some other thing?  I'm sure it feels good to have that support.
We have a lot of talent in my area. It doesn't seem very diversified though. There are specific niches everywhere. I fall into the classic middle to low ground. Not qualified for the local professional symphony...so under qualified. I don't really want to join a bunch of 6 years olds in a beginner orchestra. I don't particularly like bars where I occasionally go to play Irish folk music. I was contemplating pulling a few players like myself together to do something in between. I don't feel I'm good enough to do that yet.

So glad you have found something you like!!


Robyn Stirling
Posted: August 11, 2019
Wonderful news Sonia, many congratulations!

Sonia Lancaster
Posted: August 11, 2019
Hi Mandy,
Yes, the internet is a Godsend. I have just started Skype lessons with a teacher in London. I’m enjoying them so much, they are injecting new found enthusiasm for playing. The time is working really well because I work full time, so I just get home from work and the UK is waking up.

Beth,

I think you may need to visit Australia to run a Violinlab string camp here ;)

Sonia

Mandy Notley
Posted: August 11, 2019
Hi Sonia,

What exciting news! 
I live in NSW Australia and I am very gratefule for the internet 😁 as I have not found any teachers near me.

Mandy.

Sonia Lancaster
Posted: August 10, 2019
Thank you everyone for your interest and support. I will post updates as things happen so this exciting journey can be shared.

Happy playing.

Sonia

Beth Blackerby
Posted: August 9, 2019
Sonia, that's fantastic! And good for you all for making it happen!

Sarah Bondi
Posted: August 8, 2019
I would love to hear you.  The joy of sharing music with each other is what it's all about. 
Sarah

Kobe Tsang
Posted: August 8, 2019
Congratulations! That sounds like an amazing experience. Please post more videos and recordings of your performances! 

Kate
Posted: August 8, 2019
Congratulations! That is amazing and must be really exciting. Well done!!

Dianne
Posted: August 8, 2019
Wow Sonia, you've been doing this for a while I had no idea it has been for that long. What a wonderful gift to your community and what a terrific opportunity for training!

Lesley
Posted: August 7, 2019
That is really fantastic, Sonia. Congratulations! Very happy for you. Thanks for sharing the uplifting story!

Ray
Posted: August 7, 2019
What fantastic news!!!  One to be able to play with other musicians and second to have an invitation to participate in a workshop which is focused on quartets.  Well done you!!!