Newsletter 2011

12 August 2011

Hello Stacey Supporter

Welcome to our 2011 annual newsletter!  In this world of cyberspace and social networking we preserve the traditional hard copy newsletter and feel this is still an important and worthwhile way we can connect with you. On the 25th October 2011 it will be 15 years since our special, talented friend and colleague, Brian Stacey passed away. Stacey’s legacy has been kept alive by the now 16 incredible winners of the Brian Stacey Award and it is my honour to announce the 2011 joint BRIAN STACEY AWARD

Kate Sadler’s words at the Helpmann Awards Nominations Media Launch to announce our winners on 4 July 2011:

On behalf of the Brian Stacey Memorial Trust I wish to thank Live Performance Australia and the Helpmann Awards for their continued support. The association is important to us, as it reflects Staceys across the board and national career.

One night, while playing jazz in a smoky bar after conducting  Mahler at the Carnegie Hall, a journo asked Leonard Bernstein, “Maestro, what are you going to do next?” Whatever looks like being the most fun! was his reply. Stace loved that story, idolising Bernstein who brought theatricality to musicianship and musicianship to theatricality. There is no doubt that for the fun-loving, theatrical musician that Stace was, Bernsteins philosophy was one to which he passionately aspired.

Since his untimely death in ‘96, The Trust has sought out Stace-like conductors,encouraging them to pursue a path in which they can take those qualities into the world of music wheresoever they find themselves. We look for people who have a broad approach, finesse of craft and pursuers of excellence. Thus the bar is high for our applicants and this year the decision was tough. After much debate our advisors recommended that the 2011 $7000 prize should be shared between two wonderful conductors, both aspiring, like Stace, to bring theatricality to musicianship and musicianship to theatricality.”

While Kate was presenting the award to Trevor Jones in Melbourne, James Pratt was being presented with his award at the Helpmann Awards Nominations Media Launch in Sydney. So having two winners worked for us very well on this occasion.

Both Trevor and James appeared as Presenters at the Sydney Opera House at the Helpmann Awards Ceremony on Monday 1 August. A glittering, night of nights in our Theatre and Music industry, recognizing excellence Australia wide in all areas of live theatre and music. The event was televised live on Fox8, hosted by Jonathan Biggins and musical direction by 2008 Stacey Award winner, Vanessa Scammell.

A special thank you to our 2011 Stacey Award Musical Advisory panel, Guy Noble, Brett Kelly and Nicolette Fraillon, who are an integral part in choosing our sensational winners.

Stacey Stories  by Kate Sadler

I read this the other day:

“He that will not apply new remedies must expect new evils (a bit strong that, but this is from the pen of a 16th century philospher!); for time is the greatest innovator” – Francis Bacon (1561-1626)

When Stace died and everyone rallied to support Mindy, Nikki (Stacey’s daughters) and myself in those worst of times, we were all struck by the stories that were shared and the laughter that followed. Yes, laughter; that most amazing tonic which seems in our frazzled days to be in such short supply.

Even at that time I wondered how to gather such a rich source of delight and history for everyone to enjoy. Of course our doco footage has captured some wonderful tales, but they are the tip of the iceberg. This was brought home to me when Todd McKenny regaled a typically entertaining story following the presentation of our Stacey Award at the Helpmann’s Media launch in Melbourne. Here was another precious moment immortalising our Stace.

So, this far down the track from losing our loveable larrikin, the march of time (the greatest innovator) and technology has done us a bit of a favour. (I knew there must be an upside!)

As you know we set up the Stacey’s Angels Facebook last year and recently, Mindy posted a call for Stacey Stories. Some may choose to simply type theirs in, others may like to make an audio recording and the real savvies might even post a YouTube of themselves, so we have the feel of their tale in full. (Would love to have captured Todd on a roll!)

So if you’ve got a Stacey Story to share, do pop it onto Stacey’s Angels so everyone in our community of Stacey lovers can enjoy it. FACEBOOK REF:  Stacey Angels

The BRIAN STACEY AWARD is a recognised, respected and sought after national Award and the Stacey Trust are most proud of this. Both Trevor and James commented on the prestige factor as being a major reason for the delight at being chosen.

Our aim to ensure that Stacey’s wonderfully, vibrant part in the history of the Australian music and theatre industry is preserved for posterity by way of the Stacey Doco is proving to be more challenging than anticipated. However as the entire world struggles with financial crisis and preserving the planet issues, it is not surprising. That said, I am like a dog with a bone and I am not yet ready to leave this one alone . . . I firmly believe there IS an avenue and way we can achieve a unique record of the Stacey story and the wonderful work of the Stacey Trust and the Brian Stacey Award.

I know what you are thinking and the cold hard fact is you are RIGHT . . . the ONLY way this can become a full reality is with an injection of funds to bring the documentary to fruition. (Putting together the interviews and records of events we have currently in our archives, believe me there is some wonderful footage and records in there)

The Stacey’s Angel project launched on Facebook last year has collected a massive number of friends and supporters but it has borne little financial fruit. (Special thanks to the Angels who have donated)  We value original ideas and connections – if you have any please step forward.

I learned something last week . . . in my current daily work as a Personal Trainer as well as original background as a professional classical ballet dancer, I thought I was familiar with most major names and parts of the human body. Not so, have you ever heard of the ‘thymus’?  It sits just above the heart, and was once thought to be the place of the soul – because it is so plump in children, and shrivels up as we get older!  But 50 years ago the truly amazing function of the thymus was discovered by a man named Jacques Miller, a brilliant scientist, who lives in Melbourne. The thymus is one of the most integral parts of our body as it generates our Tcells, and teaches them to fight cancer, to stop autoimmunity (like MS, Diabetes and arthritis), and to protect us against infection.  I mention this as it was a major scientific breakthrough 50 years ago and we have much to be thankful for his discovery and the knowledge gained from it!
(see flyer regarding Art exhibition and event to honour Jacques Miller opening 26 August)

It is human nature to research, look for answers and “new remedies” (as per Francis Bacon) continually as time passes and so we seek a new remedy to keep the Stacey Trust afloat and to tell the Stacey Story . . .

It is our continued quest to keep Stacey’s legacy glowing and ignite the talent and future music makers and conductors in Australia. We fan the embers, but we need fuel (funds) to be added to keep that fire burning. This brings me to highlight our annual giving. Since 2006 the Stacey Trust has survived soley on donations and with your help we intend to continue our endeavours. Your donation, no matter how large or small, is currently the only way we can ignite the embers and ensure the Stacey Award continues.

Music is one of the few things that can change how we feel. It can uplift, calm, inspire and allow the soul to feel fully alive and engaged with the true pleasures of life. Can you possibly imagine the world without it???

As you go about your day to day life, take note of how often music is part of it in a very positive way (I write now at a table outside a local Cafe, because the sun is finally out and I wanted to be in it! the music playing is relaxing and calm) We need to support and celebrate this and continue the nurturing of our innovative music making leaders in Australia.

This is the purpose of the Stacey Trust and the Brian Stacey Award.

I thank you for taking the time to read this letter.

In Stacey’s words, go well.

Andrea Gaze
Administrator & Director

The Brian Stacey Award 2011 – Joint Winners


Trevor Jones: is a conductor, musical director, singing teacher, accompanist and choral director. As a conductor, Trevor has worked in Opera and Musical Theatre with credits including Don Giovanni and Orpheus in the Underworld (The Opera Studio, Melbourne), Opera in The Park 2010 and 2011 (City of Stonnington), Dear World (Magnormos Productions), The Last Five Years (Devanesen Productions) and Aida (Devanesen Productions) for which he was nominated for a Guild Award by the Music Theatre Guild of Victoria. Trevor trained in classical voice at the University of Western Australia, has performed in opera and musical theatre and as a soloist with a number of choirs in Perth and Melbourne.

Trevor is currently the Associate Musical Director of the Victorian State Schools Spectacular and is an esteemed choral conductor. He founded Choristry in September 2008 and was the conductor of the Monash University Choral Society from 1999 – 2005. His choral repertoire has included Britten’s St Nicolas, Mozart’s Requiem, Coronation Mass and Mass in C minor, Bach’s Magnificat, Orff’s Carmina Burana and Puccini’s Messa di Gloria.

Trevor regularly performs contemporary Australian Music with his choirs including works by Iain Grandage Daniel Walker, Stephen Leek and Matthew Orlovich.  He currently teaches singing in the Music Theatre and Drama courses at the Victorian College of the Arts. As a performer, Trevor has travelled internationally as a piano bar entertainer and is well regarded as a cabaret and music theatre performer.

Trevor plans to use his prize money for further study and to build existing connections he has with New York City Opera, Metropolitan Opera and Broadway Theatre Companies in New York.


James Pratt: James has a Bachelor of Music from the Elder Conservatorium and is an alumnus of the Symphony Australia Conductor Development Program, working with Orchestra Victoria, the Adelaide Symphony and the Melbourne Symphony Orchestras. He has also studied conducting privately with Graham Abbott for several years. James has musically directed operetta and musical theatre for companies throughout South Australia, and is in demand as a vocal coach. He has served as choirmaster at St. Cuthbert’s Anglican and St. Francis Xavier Cathedrals, and has directed concerts raising money for various South Australian charities.

An opera singer, James has worked with Opera Australia and The State Opera of South Australia, and has toured Australia, New Zealand and Asia with the Phantom of the Opera. He regularly performs as a soloist, and has given performances in Australian premieres of Haydn’s opera Il Mondo Della Luna and the broadway musical The Light in the Piazza.

After winning a scholarship, James studied at the Sydney Conservatorium Opera School, and has also received vocal coaching from Neil Semer in New York.  James acted in a mini-series for SA Film Corp. has directed productions of The Mikado and Guys and Dolls, given performances at the Australian Embassy – Paris, and the Basilique d’Hennebont, has studied Trumpet, Piano, and
Double Bass and hosted his own radio program for 5UV Adelaide.

James plans to use his prize money to pursue opportunities through his mentor Dobbs Franks and with the international conductor, Sir Simon Rattle, to spend time observing and learning conducting techniques from the greatest conductors he can gain access to in the future.