On Thursdays 24 March, our club welcomed our guest speaker Stephen O’Connell from the Rotary Club of Albury Hume. He is the current assistant governor for group 10. Stephen is currently the Director of the Murray Conservatorium in NSW.
We went from a face to face ,meeting to a Zoom due to a few covid issues, how great that we could continue with our meeting. Stephen has had a most interesting musical career, It was a true pleasure to hear how he has brought Rotary and music together with the song Stephen wrote and performed for Rotary 100 year anniversary “All shoulders to the Wheel”
Stephen is a well-known tenor and soprano saxophonists who has a broad background and training in classical music traditions and has specialised in the fields of jazz, blues, funk, rock and pop with extensive recording and live experience. He is a committed music educator and professional musician who has dedicated his life to promoting the benefits of music to everyone in our community. As a professional musician, Stephen writes, performs and records music known as “New Standards”. He has toured, played, and recorded with many well-known artists including Ross Wilson, Phil Manning (Chain), Eugene ‘Hideaway’ Bridges, Steve Arvey, Kamahl, Rolf Harris, Four Kinsmen, The Drifters, The Platters and JW Jones. Stephen had a long involvement with the highly regarded Sydney based blues band “The Bellhops” playing with them since 1990 and winning three Chain Awards at the Australian Blues Music Festival.
In 2008 and 2009, along with 14 visual artists, he travelled to Illara Rockhole in Central Australia in order write new works related to the unique environment he encountered there. Stephen has composed many songs and other musical works over the years and is now focussed on creating a unique canon of Australian instrumental music. Stephen is currently the Director of the Murray Conservatorium in NSW. In 2012, and in partnership with Jenny O’Hara, Stephen formed “Kick Up The Arts” (KUTA), a group dedicated to lobbying government to properly fund arts activities from grass roots level all the way to flagship organisations.
Albury Hume Rotary member Stephen was awarded an Order of Australia Medal in this year’s Australia Day honours for services to the performing arts. Stephen is the Chief Executive Officer of the Murray Conservatorium of Music, a major provider of Music education and performance for the region. Stephen has been regional conservatorium CEO for over 16 years. Stephen implemented the Music in the Gardens series with Albury City which attracts 12,000 audience members to six separate concerts each year , a venture in which Albury Hume Rotary is involved in the catering.