TWENTY-six years ago Associate Professor Goetz Richter and his wife, Dr Jeanell Carrigan, gave their first concert in association with Musica Viva, at the Kendall School of Arts at the invitation of the then enthusiastic Camden Haven Arts Council (CHAC).
As well as finding a very responsive audience and lovers of fine classical music, they found the Camden Haven and Hastings region and immediately fell in love with the area.
In the ensuing 26 years they have given numerous concerts, workshops, school performances, not to mention instigating the Camden Haven Music Festival in 1996 and then in 1999 the Kendall National Violin Competition (KNVC is now in its 18th year).
As well as the competition winner performing at the Celebration Concert the day after the KNVC final, Live Music Sydney, led by Goetz, join forces to treat the audience to a wonderful concert.
During the following few days Goetz and Live Music Sydney visit the Kendall Community Preschool and primary schools in the area to give interactive performances to very enthusiastic children. These school concerts are made possible through funding from the Kendall Community Op Shop.
Live Music Sydney was founded by Goetz along with young emerging professional musicians in Sydney with the aim of bringing music to audiences which otherwise may not have access to live performances. It also provides young professional musicians at the beginning of their careers with important performance opportunities. It was inspired by the "Live Music" concept in the UK and Europe which was championed by Yehudi, Lord Menuhin.
More recently Goetz and Jeanell began a series of music and philosophy events - Kendall PhiloMusica with profits from these events going to the KNVC.
In April this year Goetz and his Melbourne colleague Fintan Murphy held a weekend music workshop at Kendall attended by 70 musicians, many of them young people, and their teachers. This was again generously funded by the Kendall Community Op Shop.
Goetz and Jeanell have introduced the community to many of their musician colleagues over the years in wonderfully memorable concerts.
When Goetz and Jeanell first came to the Camden Haven, Goetz was the Associate Concertmaster of the Sydney Symphony Orchestra and the Chair of Strings at the Sydney Conservatorium of music and Jeanell was on the staff of the Conservatorium as a Senior Lecturer in Piano Accompaniment.
It was in December 1994 that Goetz informed the CHAC that there was funding available through the NSW Ministry for the Arts for regional festivals. He suggested that Kendall would be an ideal place for a festival to take place. Goetz became the inaugural Artistic Director of the Camden Haven Music Festival - a sub committee of the CHAC and continued in this position until 2003.
In 1999, with the generous donation of a violin, made by Graham Caldersmith from Australian timbers, it was decided that a competition could be held in association with the music festival. Goetz undertook the role of Artistic Director and the first Kendall National Violin Competition (KNVC) was held. The semi-final round took place at the Sydney Conservatorium and the final round was held at the Kendall School of Arts. Jeanell is the official KNVC Accompanist.
Hazel Hawke agreed to be patron of the competition. The late Yehudi, Lord Menuhin readily agreed to be the International Patron but sadly he died just prior to the first competition. Goetz was honoured to be able to show Lord Menuhin the first prize violin on his final visit to Australia just prior to his death.
The KNVC has gained national and international recognition.
Both Goetz and Jeanell have achieved PhDs during the past few years - how they fit in time to study with their extraordinary workloads, family commitments and their very generous involvement on the mid north coast - is an absolute amazement to local friends.
During the 26 years Jeanell and Goetz have had two sons, Andreas and Mathias, both fine young men - Andreas has just completed his degree at Sydney University and Mathias is presently pursuing his university degree. Many of our audience will remember being quite concerned that Jeanell may go into labour during concerts!
How can we ever thank them enough for their wonderful, enriching contribution to the cultural life of the young and old in the Camden Haven and Hastings regions. Goetz and Jeanell have shared their love of music with us all. Goetz has always been passionate about encouraging the young people of the region. They are two of the most generous and dedicated people you could ever meet.
Kendall National Violin Competition: http://www.kendallviolin.org.au
Kendall PhiloMusica: http:// www.pentimento-northhaven.com