music at ten 2021

Event date: 
Saturday, 10th October, 2020 - 10:00 am
Venue: 
Bundanoon Soldiers' Memorial Hall
Admission: 
Entrance $10 Children under 18 free.

Greg Slater's Decade This year marks Greg Slater's tenth year as Co-ordinator of Arts Bundanoon, a journey that began soon after his retirement to Bundanoon after living and working for many years in Canberra. For those who do not know about Greg's involvement in music, he is a classically trained violinist from the Newcastle Conservatorium, a pupil of John Hurn and therefore a violinist in the Franco-Belgian tradition. Typically, Greg never programmed himself nor his friends for an Arts Bundanoon event although he has been heard as a violinist or as a violist in private concerts, at St Jude’s Lunchtime Concerts, at recitals for the Bundanoon History Group in the Bundanoon Uniting Church and at the Mittagong Music Club. Greg came to Arts Bundanoon at an interesting phase in its development. At the time he joined the team, Arts Bundanoon had for some years lost its choir, then called the Bundanoon Singers – this group would later form the basis for Serendipity, the Choir. Greg took over the convenor role from the hard working and diligent Rod Moore. Greg continued Arts Bundanoon’s programme which, at that time, consisted of Piano at 10 together with a monthly series of afternoon concerts and the annual Black Tie Gala concert. The problem with such a large offering was an element of audience and volunteer fatigue along with a great deal of competition for audiences from Berrima, Robertson, Bowral and Mittagong, often on the first Saturday of the month. Not surprisingly, Arts Bundanoon lost money quite heavily and the loss was borne stoically by the Bundanoon Community Association (BCA). Of note, no arts administrator from these other areas was remotely interested in coordinating activities and some have since wound down or closed their activities altogether. Greg reduced the programme to Piano at 10 and the Black Tie Gala concert. Over time, this latter event became less popular with Bundanoon audiences, despite the high standard of artistic performance, so it was discontinued as a regular, annual event. During 2014, Greg was occasionally approached by audience members asking if he would consider re-establishing a choir associated with Arts Bundanoon. In 2015, he commenced preparations to restart such a choir and several local vocal artists were approached to lead such a venture. Eventually, Barbara Griffin accepted Greg’s request to form a choir under the auspices of Arts Bundanoon. After commencing rehearsals in February 2016, this group was re-named “Bundanoon Sings!” and it progressed, as part of Arts Bundanoon, towards a debut in September 2016. Following the debut concert, Bundanoon Sings! separated from Arts Bundanoon to pursue its fortunes as a standalone group, outside the BCA. In more recent times, Bundanoon Sings! has become a separate sub-group of the BCA. Greg applied himself energetically and, as he is also the author of two books about the work of Clarice Cliff, by sharing his art deco ceramics collection on two occasions to raise funds for the Bundanoon Community Association, by improving the artistic standard of the concerts and by focusing upon Piano at Ten (later Music at Ten) which was best supported by our audiences he “paid back” Arts Bundanoon’s debt to the Bundanoon Community Association. Greg has made sure that Arts Bundanoon’s volunteers and the public never forget our links to the Bundanoon Community Association. In recent years, afternoon concerts have not been offered as they were not attractive to our audiences but various experiments have included garden concerts (much enjoyed but not well-patronised) and several concerts in the Intimate Voices series in the Uniting Church (beautiful acoustics, limited capacity and well-supported by our audiences). Arts Bundanoon also supported a thematic afternoon tea event and a gala concert to celebrate the acquisition of a new Yamaha grand piano. Another incremental change has been a shift to holding Music at Ten on the second Saturday of the month where possible and to offering Music at Ten from January to November instead of February to December. Typically, Greg has always kept statistics on each event, eliminating the role of opinion and recall. He has been aided over his years in Arts Bundanoon by a consistently enthusiastic team of fellow volunteers including, in the past, Malcolm Townsend and Carol Gray, Emma Colquhoun, Graham Leech, Alan Morehen, Barbara Angell, Brian Banting, Marie Klausen and family (Paul and Lucas), Janice Grimson, Christine Cassin, Suzy Dowsett and Neil Wright. Ad hoc help was always on offer from Jeff Duncan, Christine Miller, John Brock and Rosemary Page. Continuing volunteers include Pamela Jane, Sue Nagy, Jennie Fea, Anne Goodridge, Brian Wright, Susy Williams, Tricia Ashley, Mark Williamson, the tireless Geoff McCubbin and Neil Mitchell. The artists that we attract are of a remarkably high standard, many of them have international reputations. Over the years, however fewer local artists have put themselves forward. The visitors love the in-house food in our local cafes; indeed Jane Lowe of the Terrace Cafe had quite a following. Our artists like our audiences and invariably want to make return visits. Greg has no difficulty in being booked up for 16 months ahead. As for our audience, it tends to “vote with its feet” so it can be said that piano music is in general most appreciated, especially from the core repertoire, such as music by Beethoven and J.S. Bach. Vocal music is less popular, excepting for the St James Choir which fills the hall. As an arts administrator with no sponsors, Greg has had to take careful note of our audience's preferences, including the price point which it is prepared to pay. In general, Greg has enjoyed his time as coordinator of Arts Bundanoon. He reflects that the concerts have given a great deal of enjoyment to many people, that the artists generally enjoy performing here regardless of the weather and that the Arts Bundanoon Team and the Bundanoon Community Association has made his job so much easier. As for the artists, the standard is high and most of them have a high standard of professionalism in terms of providing programme details, images for use in publicity, keeping an engagement (not cancelling), respecting our audiences and response time to messages. Of note, these attributes and attitudes often seem inversely related to the distance that they must travel! The only disappointment Greg holds is that the monetary contributions towards the acquisition of the new piano was not better supported by local individuals. Greg’s commitment to Arts Bundanoon can best be summarised by his saying: “Arts Bundanoon is not about me: it is the Arts Bundanoon team which brings the best musical talent to Bundanoon at an affordable price. It is all about pleasing our audience and supporting classical music.” Greg will not be doing a second ten year term: he left Bundanoon for a cooler climate in August 2020. However, Art Bundanoon will continue and Greg will offer continuing help from afar. Neil Mitchell