QUEENSLAND

What's happening in Queensland?

Upeat Arts (School of Hard Knocks Ltd) in Queensland has been facilitated with the support of the Queensland Government through the Department of Health (MHAODB). Upbeat Arts is proud to be supported by Dr Christian Rowan, past president, AMA Queensland and now Member for Moggill and Leanne Linard, Member for Nudgee. Both Dr Rowan and Ms Linard are Patrons of Upbeat Arts, Queensland.

The Queensland School launched in October 2014 with the Absolutely Everybody Choral program and three additional arts programs commenced throughout 2015. It operates on a school term basis, providing ten weekly sessions of each program per term.

Our Queensland Operations Manager, Susan Gilmartin and her team have a deep commitment to empower disadvantaged Australians through participation in arts education and performance programs. They work tirelessly to engage the mainstream professional art, education and choral sectors to fulfil this vision and build a more engaging response.

We are happy to introduce Susan and our Queensland team of professional program leaders to you, as well as our current programs. 

CURRENT PROGRAMS
OUR PROGRAMS
VICTORIA
NEW SOUTH WALES
QUEENSLAND
UPBEAT STORIES

MEET THE QUEENSLAND TEAM

Susan Gilmartin
Operations Manager

Melissa Gill
Program Leader

David Stavanger
Program Leader

Jacqui Cuny
Program Leader

Richard Thayil
Accompanist

Darryl Bowers
Program Leader


Susan Gilmartin

Operations Manager

Susan has a wealth of experience in project, event, travel and volunteer management. Alongside her professional knowledge, is a lifetime passion for and involvement in the ars through singing and performance. This combination of skills lends itself perfectly to the role of Operations Manager of Upbeat Arts Queensland.

Her work entails managing the day to day operations of the School to deliver four arts-based classes each week for the School's participants. She coordinates the venues, program leaders, participants and volunteers and loves the collaboration between all involved to ensure the success of the Queensland programs.

The opportunity to produce concerts and events for the School is a welcome challenge and creates wonderful performance experiences for those involved. Major concerts have been held at Brisbane's Concert Hall at the Queensland Performing Arts Centre (QPAC), The Edge Auditorium at the State Library of Queensland and the Events Centre in Caloundra. Susan also coordinated the 2016 Brisbane International Singers Festival, a two day festival for over 200 singers with an interntional guest conductor. Special projects like taking the Brisbane choir to Melbourne to perform in 2017 are all part of a day's work.

Before working in this role, a career highlight for Susan was working at World Expo 88, where she played a pivotal role in the planning and development of events at the Piazza. World Expo 88 was an iconic Australian event and in today's industry terms was a 'mega-event each day for 180 days'. The Piazza venue had 10 - 12 events each day of those 180 days!


Melissa Gill

Program Leader

Melissa Gill is a versatile singer, and passionate choral conductor with an undergraduate degree in Jazz and Popular Voice from Queensland University of Technology and a classical singing certification from Trinity College, London.

Melissa's career includes performances as a featured soloist in music festivals (Brisbane Biennial, Brisbane Jazz and Blues), in music theatre (Into the Woods Moonlight Theatre, Stepmother / Baker's Wife cover, Pirates of Penzance Deseret Theatre, Edith), and in concert (Gospel at the Symphony, Queensland Symphony Orchestra). Melissa has sung everything from Jazz with Australian icon James Morrison, to gospel with American conductors Isaiah Jackson and the Reverend Alvin Paris III, and the soprano solo in the Australian premiere of British composer Havergal Brian's 'Symphony No. 1 in D Minor, The Gothic' under the baton of John Curro AM MBE. Melissa has also lent her voice to the Queensland Ballet's 'King Arthur and the tales of Camelot' and the soundtracks for award winning Australian playwright Sven Swenson's works 'A Night in the She-Devil's Salon' and 'The Siren's Kiss'.

In recent years Melissa has become a passionate advocate for community choral singing. Melissa is the Program Leader for the Absolutely Everybody Choir for Upbeat Arts in Brisbane, she is the founding musical director of Brisbane based community choir, Musica.


Jaqui Cuny

Program Leader

Jacqui fell in love with the theatre at the age of five and has been performing, directing, musically directing and teaching aspects of theatre for the last 35 years.

A graduate of the Queensland Conservatorium in vocal performance and teaching and the University of Queensland in music and drama, she began her professional acting career with the Queensland Theatre Company in 1981 with roles in Annie and Somerset Maugham's The Circle. Her career continued in Sydney with roles in Candide (1981) and the national tours of The Sound of Music (1983) and The Pirates of Penzance (1984), working with Philip Quast, Julie Anthony and Marina Prior before heading to her native England.

There she spent five years treading the boards in Manchester, Birmingham and the West End in Pirates of Penzance, Jeanne and Starlight Express. She wrote, recorded and toured with her first jazz-rock album Another Statistic in 1988 before returning to Sydney, where she was cast in the original productions of Buddy - the Buddy Holly Story, Return to the Forbidden Planet and Better Known as Bee. Over the last 23 years she has continued performing and musically directing, involved in numerous community theatre shows including Oliver, Into the Woods, Miss Saigon, Thoroughly Modern Millie, Annie and How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying.

Her film credits include How to Change in Nine Weeks in 2008, and Charge Over You, 2010, both shot in Brisbane.

In all that time, Jacqui has also poured her energies into teaching singing and training young people, within schools, colleges and conferences, both here and abroad. In London she taught for several years at the prestigious Arts Educational School and at the London Studio Centre - training actors and dancers for roles in the West End. Back in Australia she directed for five years for Hillsong College in Sydney before taking up positions at several private schools and colleges in Brisbane, including the Australian Dance Performance Institute, training young people for further tertiary study in Musical Theatre and preparing them vocally for a career in the commercial industry. She is passionate about the power of the voice as a tool for effective communication and brings her love and understanding of acting and authentic storytelling to her teaching of musical theatre and song.

David Stavanger

Program Leader

'My writing workshops with the Upbeat Arts remind me that life is about what is in front of us - the ugly and the beautiful, the stories within loss, the true rhythms of the street, the smallest crack in the pavement. These are writers who don't hold back, who give what they don't have to give, and who understand the poetry of getting out of bed each day.'

David Stavanger is an award winning poet, writer, and cultural producer. In 2013 he won the Arts Queensland Thomas Shapcott Poetry Award, resulting in the release of The Special (UQP), his first full-length collection of poetry, and at the 2014 Queensland Literary Awards he was awarded a Queensland Writing Fellowship to develop his next two collections. David is also the Co-Director of the Queensland Poetry Festival. He is also sometimes known as pioneering Green Room-nominated 'spoken weird' artist Ghostboy, performing solo, with multi-instrumentalist Richard Grantham, and with the band Golden Virtues at festivals across Australia. Ghostboy established the thriving Queensland poetry slam scene via his program work with the State Library of Queensland and Woodford Folk Festival.
 


Richard Thayil

Accompanist

Richard Thayil, Melbourne born musician, having trained as a pianist, saxophonist and trombonist in his school years, went on to study composition at tertiary level.

He began studies in Film Scoring in Melbourne, but changed course and moved interstate in 1999, completing a Bachelor of Music in composition at Brisbane's QUT, where he currently lectures in Traditional Aural Studies. Richard has been a music educator since 1997, primarily in multi-instrumental music, but also works as a clinician for community groups. He is an active session musician, conductor for music theatre with amateur productions of Fiddler on the Roof and Les Misérables. He is the founder/director/arranger for the unique big band, The Empty Chair Project. Richard has performed professionally in many places on the east coast of Australia and internationally. Richard is a versatile musician with an eclectic range.

Richard is currently the accompanist for Upbeat Arts in Queensland with the Absolutely Everybody Choir as well as the new musical theatre program Rhythm of Life.


Darryl Bowers

Program Leader

Darryl Bowers has been involved in the music industry for over 35 years. He was the Field Manager for the 2000 Olympics Marching Band, Percussion section leader for the 1988 Expo City Marching Band, 17 years as Musical Director of the Queensland Youth Big Band, 15 years in the 1 Div RAA Band, and has played in many bands ranging in styles from Jazz, Funk, Latin and Pep Bands over this period. He has taught Percussion programs at Brisbane Grammar School, Nudgee Senior College, St Laurence's College, Cannon Hill College and St Rita's College, and works currently at both Prince of Peace College campuses.

Darryl specialises in developing within percussion ensembles an engagement platform to inspire percussionists to develop a style and approach to playing which empowers them to consciously influence the way they play and improve their musicianship. He understands the challenges students experience at different points of their skills development, team dynamics within performing ensembles, and the level of activity and focus students required to deliver optimal performance in an environment of competing demands.

He is well known for his ability to explore students' interests and inspire them to experiment and learn different styles and genres to maintain their interest, explore their style, and focus their performances.

QUEENSLAND SUPPORT

Upbeat Arts in Queensland is governed in collaboration with representatives from the health,welfare, homeless, business, government, arts and corporate sectors.

We are indebted to Dr Christian Rowan MP and Leanne Linard MP, the Chairs and Patrons of Upbeat Arts in Queensland together with the following organisations for their wonderful support and guidance:

  • Dr Christian Rowan MP
  • Leanne Linard MP
  • Addiction Sciences
  • Mental Health Alcohol and Other Drugs Branch (MHAODB)
  • Footprints
  • Qld Alliance of Mental Health
  • Queensland Network of Alcohol and other Drug Agencies (QNADA)
  • Recovered Futures Queensland
  • Homeless Health Outreach Team (HHOT)
  • Lives Lived Well
  • State Library of Queensland
  • Common Ground Queensland
  • University of Queensland

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