Photo: NORA DEVAI
SIXTY years ago Terara resident Audrey Boyd was 23 and Nowra was a bit of a cultural wasteland.
A singing teacher, Clarice Campbell, set up a studio in Nowra and Audrey’s husband John was one of 20 people who joined.
In 1948 the Nowra Music Club was established and the first recital was held on September 5.
Soprano Florence Taylor and pianist Werner Baer performed in the School of Arts Supper Room.
“The people who began the group were all music lovers and in spite of their limitations, had a lot of talent,” said Audrey.
Over the years many superstars of classical music have performed for the Nowra Music Club.
Joan Sutherland, Yvonne Kenny, Roger Woodward and Simone Young were a few who performed here before they hit the big time.
“Joan came after she won the Sun Aria in Melbourne,” said Audrey.
“She was just on the brink of her wonderful career. We all said this girl has a wonderful career ahead of her.”
Simone Young who became the first woman to conduct the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, came to Nowra while she was still a student at the Sydney Conservatorium.
She was billeted with Audrey, who remembers her fondly.
“We like to see young people have the opportunity to perform and do well.”
In 1997 the Nowra Music Club became Music Shoalhaven.
This Saturday the group will celebrate its 60th anniversary with two concerts, one in the afternoon and one in the evening, at Nowra School of Arts.
Both performances will feature world renowned soprano Deborah Riedel accompanied by David Miller AM on piano, up and coming violinist Jiajing Wang and the Nexas Saxophone Quintet.
“I would like to see Music Shoalhaven continue,” said Audrey of the group’s future.
“I would like to see us encouraging young talent before they get to the professional stage - as long as we can get younger members to take positions.”
Details of Music Shoalhaven’s Golden Jubilee concert will appear in Entertainment in Wednesday’s South Coast Register.