Monday, November 21, 2016

Comforting joy of music – Alpha Gregory named “Citynews” Artist of the Year

A CHORAL conductor and mentor credited with bringing the healing and comforting joy of music to thousands of young Canberrans was tonight named 2016 “Citynews” Artist of the Year at the 26th ACT Arts Awards Night.

Alpha Gregory accepting the  award

Alpha Gregory, praised for her “passion, energy and commitment,” was singled out by the Canberra Critics’ Circl, which judges the award,  for her 19 year contribution to choral music in Canberra, particularly through her inspirational leadership of the Woden Valley Youth Choir.
Ms Gregory, the circle said, had shaped the musical lives of two generations of Canberra’s youth and has taught them invaluable life skills as they have grown into adulthood as members of the choir.  As well as being the Artistic Director of the three choirs which make up the Woden Valley Youth Choir organisation she has been choir conductor, teacher, tour guide, CD producer, administrator, yearbook publisher, choreographer, stylist, fiercest supporter and strongest music critic.
In the ceremony at the Canberra Museum and Gallery she was presented with a $1,000 cheque and a F!NK vase designed by the late artist Robert Foster.
The music panel said of Ms Gregory:
“Alpha has shaped the musical lives of two generations of Canberra’s youth and has taught them invaluable life skills as they have grown into adulthood as members of the choir. As well as being the Artistic Director of the three choirs which make up the Woden Valley Youth Choir organisation she has been choir conductor, teacher, tour guide, CD producer, administrator, yearbook publisher, choreographer, stylist, fiercest supporter and strongest music critic. 

L to R Critics Circle member Meredith Hinchliffe, Alpha Gregory, and Caroline Stacey

“She has organised and run successful tours both within Australia and overseas and brought choirs from throughout the world to Canberra all the while providing choristers with unforgettable worldly experiences and raising the international profile of the choir. She has exposed and taught choristers a wide range of choral music and has been dedicated and devoted to commissioning, then performing, works from Australian composers.
The announcement of Ms Gregory’s award by former “Citynews” Artist of the Year Caroline Stacey was preceded by the presentation of the 2016 Canberra Critics Circle awards across a wide range of art forms, with the certificates presented to artists by the director of artsACT Adam Stankevicius.
The Canberra Critics Circle is made up of the following arts reviewers in the ACT—
Meredith Hinchliffe, Bill Stephens, Alanna Maclean, Frank McKone, Joe Woodward, Kerry-Anne Cousins, Cris Kennedy, Samara Purnell, Simone Penkethman, Clinton White, Jennifer Gall, Michelle Potter, Helen Musa, Len Power, Jane Freebury, John Milner, John Lombard, Jessica Oliver, Anni Doyle Wawrzynczak, Ian McLean, Graham McDonald and Peter Wilkins.

The full list of 2016 CCC recipients is as follows:
For the brave and confident debut feature film, directed by Sotiris Dounoukos, about a recent and still quite raw part of Canberra's social history. Exceptionally made, from spot-on production design, glorious lighting and cinematography, and a sensitive and supportive soundtrack, a marvellous showcase of not only Canberra, but of the fresh school of talent to be found both on-screen and off.
Joe Cinque's Consolation
For her tireless and consistent efforts as a dancer, choreographer and facilitator towards advancing professional contemporary dance in the A.C.T through her performances, collaborations, and programs, culminating in the establishment of her dance company, Australian Dance Party.
Alison Plevey
For her innovative promotion of dance in the ACT exemplified by her co-ordination and presentation of “Great Sport!” at the National Museum of Australia, which spectacularly showcased the work of The Gold Company, Dance for Parkinson’s, Canberra Dance Theatre, and of a number of local and interstate choreographers, in a memorable and remarkable presentation.
Liz Lea
Visual Arts
For her poetic essay conceived in porcelain, slips and glazes which presented a coherent statement of the artist’s vision, reflecting the both the natural and man-made landscape filtered through a thoughtful sensibility, in her exhibition Elements of Place at Form Gallery.
Avi Amesbury
Visual Arts
For her sophisticated, complex and highly effective use of colour, surface texture and form in her solo exhibition of paintings, It’s All About Eve, at ANCA Gallery.
Emma Beer
Visual Arts
For their ambitious, immersive installation Barbed Maze that evidence the nightmare of uncertainty, surveillance and containment experienced by refugees in Australia’s detention centres.
Denise Higgins and Gary Smith
Visual Arts
For his exceptional exhibition that surveyed more than 50 years of electrifying expressionist painting practice, revealing a complex and beautiful vision of our region and inspiring a new generation of artists at Canberra Museum and Gallery Michael Taylor: A Survey 1963-2016
Michael Taylor
Visual Arts
For her exhibition, the work of a mature and confident artist in full command of her medium, in which she created the personal concept of home is a place of security and safety in impressive and richly coloured luminous small works and three-dimensional objects that were imbued with a warm and lively sense of humanity, Black Box: Life, Walls And Houses at Craft ACT.
Judi Elliott
For his indefatigable support of the poetic profession through his fortnightly evenings at Smith’s Alterative, which include his interviews with guest poets, under the title. “That Poetry Thing that’s on at Smith’s every Other Monday”.
Josh Inman
For his masterly use of verse in the stage comedy Cara Carissima, a savvy look at sibling relations set in the milieu of Canberra’s coffee culture, in “Plevna: A Biography in Verse”, the story of swashbuckling Australian medico Charles Plevna Ryan, and in his wry anthology Gods and Uncles, where he moves into free verse.
Geoff Page
For her book of poetry Transit, which touches on the intersections of people, place, culture and history experienced by travellers.
Niloofar Fanaiyan
For her novel, The Grief Hole, a masterpiece of dark fantasy and horror by a tremendously inventive writer.
Kaaron Warren
For Hamilton Hume, Our Greatest Explorer, which brings to life a neglected figure of Australian history in an accessible style.
Robert Macklin
For providing a platform for women’s writing and talent through her online literature and arts journal Feminartsy.
Zoya Patel
For his pitch-perfect performance as the Major- General in the Canberra Philharmonic Society’s production of The Pirates of Penzance.
David Cannell
for her outstanding effort in writing, composing, co-directing and producing Acoustic Theatre’s production of her confronting musical The Last Time.
Lucy Matthews
for his outstanding performance as Frank Abagnale Junior in Dramatic Productions production of Catch Me If You Can.
Alexander Clubb
For her confident direction of Phoenix Theatre’s production of Next to Normal. Its challenges were solved with flair and feeling.
Kelda McManus
For its stylish, elegant and effervescent production of Cole Porter’s classic musical, Anything Goes.
Canberra Philharmonic Society
For her beautifully realised performance of the enigmatic Fanny Brice in Supa Production’s Funny Girl.
Vanessa de Jaeger
For the creativity and excellence of their production of Playhouse Creatures, directed by Jordan Best. An absorbing and atmospheric reminder of the struggles of the first English actresses.
Pigeonhole Theatre
For revitalising and advancing Canberra Youth Theatre through three fine youth theatre productions Dead Men’s Wars, a collaborative work with NZ’s Long Cloud Youth Theatre, The Verbatim Project, in collaboration with GOLD, and Antigone, a fresh and original look at a classic play.
Katie Cawthorne
For his masterful interpretation of Brecht’s alienation effect as the Narrator in Canberra Repertory’s production of The Threepenny Opera.
Dick Goldberg
For the impact and power of her performance as Lady Macbeth in Jordan Best’s production of Macbeth for Canberra Repertory.
Jenna Roberts
For his powerful performance in the challenging, complex and diverse role of Dr Raymond Gerrard in The Street Theatre’s Production of Tom Davis’s play The Faithful Servant.
PJ Williams
For the fiery, aggressive and often mystifying production Evangeline at the Courtyard Studio, performed in butoh style by a dedicated team of actors.
Chenoeh Miller
For his imaginative and innovative artistic direction and development of the Griffyn Ensemble and for his composition Hanging Rock Cello Sonata.
Michael Sollis
For her dedicated and outstanding leadership of the Canberra Symphony Orchestra as concertmaster, and for her inspired performance as violin soloist in Beethoven’s Triple Concerto for Violin, Cello and Piano in C Major with the National Capital Orchestra
Barbara Jane Gilby
For her 19 year contribution to choral music in Canberra particularly through her inspirational leadership of the Woden Valley Youth Choir.
Alpha Gregory
For fostering the art of percussion, seen in his participation in community events, his creation of The Groove Warehouse and his outstanding concert, The Power of Drum at The Street Theatre.
Gary France
For his wide-ranging conducting practice with the ANU Choral Society, Canberra Gay and Lesbian Qwire, Musica Da Camera and the National Capital Orchestra and especially for his leadership of the Canberra Youth Orchestra.
Leonard Weiss
For their 2016 album, Beginning at the End, taking its cue from 1980s punk in Canberra and reflecting the band’s epic, psychedelic aesthetic.
The Young Docteurs.

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