The Oriana Artistic Team
Since its inception in 2005, Oriana and their associated Youth Choir have been led by a group of talented and dedicated conductors and accompanists. Together, they have shared the vision of creating and developing choirs capable of presenting fine choral music to the very highest standard of performance excellence.
Founding Director of Oriana, Daniel Calder, was an inspiring conductor with high expectations of commitment from choristers at all times. His passion for choral music brought many acclaimed, professional classical works to the Sunshine Coast. When he departed after ten years, his legacy was a highly-acclaimed choir that had won a host of awards, not only here at home but also overseas.
Today, our current artistic team, led by Fay Baker, imparts to us a wealth of musical knowledge and education, drives performance excellence and continues to provide life-changing musical experiences to Oriana members. Our valued Artistic Team is adding to the heritage that has been handed down to them, and are creating an enduring legacy for future generations.
Oriana has recently adopted a new operational model in the management of Music Direction for the choir. Seasonal Music Directors are appointed for each of the three major performance seasons in the calendar year.
Oriana Artistic Director
Fay studied piano and cello at the Royal Academy of Music in London, obtaining the qualifications of LRAM (teacher) and ARCM (performer).
She and her family moved to Australia in 1978 and, after an initial career as a string teacher in Brisbane, joined the Queensland Conservatorium of Music and the University of Queensland as a vocal and choral accompanist. She accompanied the University Chamber Singers, the Conservatorium Singers, the Conservatorium Chorus and the Brisbane Chorale for several years. Fay was Senior Repetiteur for Opera Queensland for seven years before moving up to the Sunshine Coast.
Fay was the official accompanist and assistant conductor of the Sunshine Coast Choral Society for about 5 years. She retired briefly from choral accompanying before joining the award-winning Sunshine Coast Oriana Choir, firstly as a singer and then as the official accompanist and assistant conductor. She was also the founding accompanist of the University of the Sunshine Coast Singers. She retired from this position recently.
In December, 2016, Fay was honoured to be the first person awarded Life Membership of the Sunshine Coast Oriana Choir.
Along with her role as Artistic Director for Oriana Fay continues her work as a freelance accompanist and vocal coach.
Seasonal Music Directors for 2019
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Youth Choir Artistic Team
Andrew enjoys a busy teaching and performing schedule both in Australia and overseas as one of Australia’s busiest conductors and choral directors. Artistic Director & Chief Conductor of the Royal Melbourne Philharmonic Choir and Orchestra, The Australian Children’s Choir, Melbourne University Choral Society and Box Hill Chorale, he has previously directed faculty choirs at all Victorian universities, and has chorus-mastered for all major professional Australian orchestras and festivals.
Inaugural winner of the Australasian International Choral Conducting Competition in 1999, he has conducted in countries such as China, New Zealand, USA, Canada, England, Germany, Austria, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Poland, Italy, France and Russia and has appeared with major choirs and orchestras from the USA; Sweden; UK; Finland; South Africa; Ireland; Canada and NZ as guest conductor with groups such as the Stuttgart Radio Orchestra, Camerata Academica Freiburg, and Orchester der Universität Stuttgart (Germany), Guangzhou Philharmonic (China), Christchurch Sinfonia (NZ) Yale Glee Club and Harvard-Radcliffe Collegium Musicum (USA), Candomino Choir (Finland), and local ensembles such as Orchestra Victoria, VCA Symphony, Melbourne Youth Orchestra, the Impossible Orchestra, Choir of Trinity College and Stonnington Symphony.
He has been the recipient of several awards and nominations including being nominated for prestigious Green Room Awards for best Opera Conductor and was recently the recipient of a Deakin Community Award.
In 2019 he started the year with a concert tour of China with the RMP Orchestra and future plans include tours to Hong Kong, Germany, Austria and Italy.
As a conductor Andrew has directed an impressive list of major orchestral and symphonic choral works, and has directed choirs for many major televised events, including the opening of Federation Square in Melbourne and Stadium Australia in Sydney, the closing ceremony of the 2006 Melbourne Commonwealth Games, and the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo to name a few. He has conducted on chart- topping albums by artists including John Farnham, Olivia Newton John, Mark Vincent, Silvie Paladino, Judith Durham and Missy Higgins.
An experienced Adjudicator, Andrew has served in that capacity at various competitions around Australia, as well as in China, New Zealand, and the USA. This year he is pleased to adjudicate at the 93rd North Queensland Eisteddfod in Cairns, the World Orchestra Festival in Sydney and the RMP Aria Competition in Melbourne.
He is thrilled to have been invited to appear as guest seasonal conductor for the Oriana Choir and the Brisbane Symphony Orchestra for these performances of Elijah on the Sunshine Coast and in Brisbane.
Matthew has always considered music to be an integral part of his life. Throughout his schooling years he won many music awards for his involvement in choirs and various instrumental ensembles.
Having completed his Bachelor of Creative Arts (Music) on classical piano he went on to share his love of music with others both in Australia and Europe.
He has played many major roles in musicals such as Monty Python’s Spamalot, Disney’s High School Musical, Sweeney Todd, Hairspray, Singing in the Rain, Essgee’s Pirates of Penzance and Avenue Q. He has also undertaken roles such as Vocal Coach, Musical Director and Repetiteur for various productions. Whilst he enjoys the thrill of the musical theatre stage, it is choral music where his true passion lies.
Having sung in and conducted various choirs, including the Toowoomba Philharmonic Society, The Toowoomba Choral Society and the Sunshine Coast Oriana Choir the highlight of his musical career thus far would have to be spending 3 years in London. Singing with both The Choir of St Martin-in-the-fields and The Iken Scholars, he had the opportunity of performing in venues such as St Pauls Cathedral, Canterbury Cathedral, Notre Dame Cathedral, La Madeleine, The Royal Albert Hall and Westminster Abbey.
Whilst primarily a chorister/conductor, Matthew also plays piano, clarinet, flute, saxophone and cello and thrives on the challenge of learning new instruments!
In June 2017, Matthew returned to Toowoomba to commence his postgraduate studies in teaching to provide a solid foundation for sharing his love of music and singing within schools and the wider community.
After directing Oriana's 2018 Season 2 modern concert, he is ecstatic to be working with them once again. He is particularly passionate about sacred choral music and is very much looking forward to presenting this beautiful genre to local and international communities during the 2019 Oriana Italy Tour. He is ever grateful for the hospitable warmth of the people that make up the Sunshine Coast Oriana Choir which is most definitely equalled by their rich and warm sound their combined voices produce!!
Benjamin Oxley, conductor and tenor
Conducting and Choral Direction:
Hobart Orpheus Choir, Tasmania’s oldest choir; Tasmanian Conservatorium Chorale and Young Conservatorium Chorale; St Joseph's College Choir, Hunters Hill, Sydney; Epping Boys High School Choir - winner of the Ryde Eisteddfod Secondary Choral section; Waverley Randwick Philharmonic Society; Generations Community Chorus.
Currently Director of Music of Cantorion Sydney Male Voice Choir 2015-
After studying at the Tasmanian Conservatorium, tenor Benjamin Oxley joined Opera Queensland, and subsequently Opera Australia, performing a variety of small roles. His further vocal study took him to England, initially on contract with English National Opera (ENO), with whom he toured Russia.
Since leaving the ENO, Benjamin has pursued operatic and concert work and has appeared with Netherlands Opera in Lohengrin, Opera de Vlaamse in Billy Budd, and with Nationale Reisopera in Der fliegende Holländer, Parsifal, Manon Lescaut, Fidelio and Le Grande Macabre, the latter in the presence of the composer György Ligeti.
Benjamin has worked with conductors, including Harry Bicket, Richard Bonynge, Stuart Challender, Paul Daniel, Sir Mark Elder, Valery Gergiev, Elgar Howarth,
Sir Charles Mackerras, Edo de Waart and Jaap van Zweden. Most notably, he was invited to appear in Simon Boccanegra and Tristan und Isolde with the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Claudio Abbado in Berlin, and toured with the orchestra to the Salzburg Easter Festival, as well as to Tokyo, Japan.
Operatic roles include: the title role in The Tales of Hoffmann, RICCARDO (A Masked Ball), ALFREDO (La Traviata) and LINDORO (The Italian Girl in Algiers), IL DUCA (Rigoletto), NADIR (The Pearl Fishers), GUSTAVUS (A Masked Ball) and DON JOSE (Carmen).
Benjamin’s oratorio repertoire is wide-ranging, and include:
St John’s Passion (Bach); St Matthew's Passion (Bach); St Nicolas (Britten); Magnificat (Hovhaness); Alexander’s Feast (Handel); Messiah (Handel);Creation (Haydn); Elijah (Mendelssohn); Requiem (Mozart); Messa di Gloria (Puccini); Dvorak Mass in D; Petite Messe Solennelle (Rossini); and the Missa Luba (Haazen).
Kirsten Drinnen has worked with aspiring musicians for many years. Her love for music has been the driving point to her career, wanting to help young adults find their true passion in music.
She has worked in the classroom teaching high school and primary school music students for 6 years now. She has had vast experience with small choirs, (6-20) large choirs (150+), a Capella groups (male and female) and soloists. Kirsten’s passion for music began from the very first instrument she learnt to control – her voice. She has been singing from a very young age, being involved in school choirs, state level choirs, musical theatre groups and solo endeavors. Kirsten has played various solo gigs and has had lead roles in community group musicals.
She followed her passion to university where she completed a bachelor in music and bachelor in Education.
Kirsten is very excited to be the director of the Oriana Youth Choir and loves working with choristers, parents and members in the community for such a great cause - singing!
Following her graduation with a Bachelor of Music Education in 2001, Sarah worked as a music teacher at various primary and secondary schools across the Sunshine Coast until 2013. During this time she also conducted the Sunshine Coast Australian Youth Choir from 2004 to 2010 and again from 2013 to 2015. Sarah currently teaches singing, piano and violin at her own private studio.
She has been a very proud member of the soprano section of the Sunshine Coast Oriana Choir since 2014 and took up the role of accompanist with the Sunshine Coast Oriana Youth Choir in 2016, beginning a new partnership with David White as choral director.
Sarah is a most accomplished singer, having been awarded her AMusA in Singing from the Australian Music Examintations Board (AMEB) in 2014. She has also been a very successful competitor at the Queensland Eisteddfod where was the Champion Mezzo-Soprano in 2012, 2015 and 2016.