Sinfonia MNC and Tuba Player William Jackson

Comments (0) Interviews

Sinfonia MNC is a not-for-profit organisation that aims to help young local musicians further their musical studies, and it does so through a generous scholarship program. It also provides opportunities for musicians to join an orchestra and perform in public – which is invaluable experience. We find out more about Sinfonia from President Elizabeth Berry and Quaver Scholarship recipient William Jackson.

Elizabeth Berry.  Sinfonia President

Introduce us to Sinfonia and the Quaver Foundation Music Scholarships.

MNC is a not-for-profit, tax-exempt, community association established in 2009. We bring music to our region, but we also foster and sponsor our young musicians. In line with these aims, we set up a public fund, the Quaver Foundation, to accept tax deductible donations from people and organisations interested in promoting music in our region. The aim of the Quaver Foundation is to invest donated funds to provide an income stream solely to fund scholarships to be awarded to young local musicians, to encourage them to continue their music studies.

The Quaver Foundation annually awards at least one scholarship of $500 to a young local musician, aged under 25, who is currently enrolled in music studies. These cash scholarships may be used by the recipients for any purpose which furthers their musical development …

The recipients of Quaver Scholarships also play as members of our orchestra for a year, and may perform solo. Playing on stage in front of large audiences is an invaluable experience for a young musician. This investment in young musicians also benefits the orchestra, by sponsoring a regular intake of new players.

New donors are always needed, so this support of young local musicians can be continued and expanded. We seek tax deductible donations of $500 from people who share our passion. This donation confers lifetime Quaver Foundation Membership. In perpetual recognition of your generosity, your name (or the name of your family, team, syndicate, organisation, or perhaps the name of a departed loved one) will be included in the List of Quaver Donors in every concert programme, and also on our webpage and our Facebook page.

To become a Quaver Donor, please go to

If you are unable to become a Quaver Donor, we will be most happy to have your smaller donation.

What is the James Hannah-Sinfonia MNC Scholarship?

James Hannah OAM, Conductor Emeritus, was instrumental in establishing Sinfonia MNC. He is our Foundation Conductor and, through his personal generosity, the donor of the James Hannah-Sinfonia Scholarship. This is an annual award of $1,000 cash to an aspiring young musician to further his or her musical studies.

What’s the process to apply for 2018 Scholarships?

All local musicians currently studying music and under the age of 25 are eligible to apply.

Please go to to find out more about how you can apply.

William Jackson. Tuba player and Quaver Scholarship Recipient

Hi Will. Tell us a bit about yourself …

Hi, my name is William Jackson. I’m 15, and I live in the Camden Haven beneath North Brother Mountain.

How long have you been playing the tuba … and who is your teacher?

I’ve been playing the orchestra sized B Flat Tuba for the last two years in the Camden Haven Community Band and the Mid North Coast orchestra, Sinfonia.

Mr Iain Pole from the Camden Haven has been my music teacher for my seven-year musical career in the brass section, for both the school band at Laurieton Public School and for private tuition. He has made music so much fun, that I am committed to it as some people are to sport. It’s what I do – it’s me.

Why did you choose this particular instrument?

My older sister and brother both learnt instruments with Mr Pole at Laurieton Public School and played in the Community Band. When I was little, I sat through their performances and concerts, taking in all the brilliant music. Originally, I chose the saxophone to learn. But, the instrument didn’t suit me. So Mr Pole introduced me to the perfect match – the Baritone Euphonium, usually called the baritone. I fell in love with it.

Whilst playing the baritone during primary school days, Mr Pole invited me to play in the Community Band. I continued to play baritone for the next four years in the Primary School and Community Bands and then in the Camden Haven High School Band.

The Community Band had a tuba and after the amazing tuba player retired, Mr Pole suggested that I move to the tuba. I was a bit confused, because it’s huge, heavy, deep, loud and has four valves, not three. But I took up the challenge and very quickly realised there was only one thing that I enjoyed playing more than the baritone, and that was the tuba!

I still play the baritone in the High School Band, but my main passion now with the Community Concert Band and the Sinfonia Orchestra is the tuba.

You’ve been awarded a $500 Quaver Foundation Music Scholarship recently. How did you find out about the scholarship program?

I joined the Sinfonia orchestra and six months later, heard about the Quaver Scholarship auditions. Some of the orchestra members encouraged me to consider auditioning and explained how the scholarship could help me further my studies in music. Mr Pole helped me select two pieces of music for the audition, which showcased the different moods of the tuba and how it can be played. Another nervous moment – I’m not good at feeling judged; I just like people to enjoy music with me. But I was successful and very grateful to the Sinfonia Orchestra for the scholarship.

What does receiving this scholarship mean to you personally?

The scholarship is a very generous opportunity for me to access resources and workshops to further develop my skills in music. In fact, the scholarship has already helped me access some Grade 6 and 7 syllabus theory materials and pieces to help me improve my technical skills and knowledge.

I have recently been offered a position at the Public School State Senior Band Camp to be held later this term. The scholarship will help me attend this week-long camp at Narrabeen with the tuba, to play in a whole range of genres. There is also a focus on workshops for orchestral music.

I really appreciate Mr Pole for letting me use the tuba for this opportunity and hope to bring back some more experience that will benefit the orchestra.

What are your future plans?

When I finish high school (I’m not in a rush; I’m enjoying the music opportunities in town and school), I really hope to attend university to study music – practical and theory. I hope I can make a career in the musical world.

Thanks everyone.

Interviews by Jo Robinson.

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