Bass Valley Music Festival Inc. President
The programme for Serenade at Sunset 2015 has been devised by Kirk Skinner, the Director of Music at Newhaven College and President of the Bass Valley Music festival Inc. He possesses a wealth of knowledge in all aspects of music, theatre, performance and production.
From his first juvenile performance in Wonthaggi, Kirk’s music has enabled him to travel the world including time at Covent Garden on a Conducting Scholarship. He plays a number of instruments and has an extensive repertoire including touring internationally with the Cameron Macintosh production of Les Miserables. In 2014 Kirk’s musical direction played no small part in the spectacular success of Jesus Christ Superstar by the Wonthaggi Theatre Group.
Kirk not only enabled the engagement of David Rogers-Smith for this production but put together the Supporting Act and a wonderful group of Rising Stars.
David Rogers-Smith is a regular on the opera, musical theatre, concert, oratorio and cabaret stages. He has performed with all major orchestras in Australia (SSO, MSO, APO), recently appearing with the MSO duetting with Ben Folds.
Career credits include over 2,500 performances as Ubaldo Piangi for the International and Australasian tours of The Phantom of the Opera, Brujon/Jean Valjean cover for the International tour of Les Miserables, the Ziegfeld Tenor in Funny Girl, Mary Sunshine cover in Chicago, Forbidden Broadway 2000, Brian in Elegies for Angels, Punks and Raging Queens, Buddy Plummer in Follies in Concert, Sondheim’s Marry Me A Little; General Kromov in The Merry Widow with Marina Prior; Zaza in La Cage aux Folles opposite John O’May.
Operatic credits include Degas in Gaugin – A Synthetic Life, Ein sklave in Salome (Kirov Opera), Michele in The Saint of Bleecker Street, The Impresario in Mozart’s The Impresario and for Canberra’s Street Theatre he originated the role of David in the premiere of From A Black Sky. With Melbourne Opera he has played Lt BF Pinkerton in Madama Butterfly, the title roles in both Pagliacci and Faust, Danilo in The Merry Widow and Don Jose in Carmen.
With Victorian Opera: Jules/Greenberg in Sunday In The Park With George, in 2014 Into The Woods and originated the role of Alex in the new opera The Riders. This year David will play Pirrelli in Sweeney Todd. David’s debut CD A Little Bit In Love was released in 2012.
Melissa’s theatre appearances include; Jesus Christ Superstar, Les Miserables, The Pirates Of Penzance, The Mikado, Marry Me A Little, Eurobeat, We Will Rock You (Killer Queen) in Japan and The Threepenny Opera (Malthouse Theatre/Vic Opera), Strange Bedfellows (Vonny), How To Kill Your Husband (Angel) (Vic Opera) – for which she received a Green Room Award nomination for Best Female Performance in an Opera. For The Production Company; Carousel (Nettie Fowler), 42nd Street (Maggie Jones), Damn Yankees (Gloria Thorpe), Follies (Stella Deems), Crazy For You (Patricia Fodor) and Sugar (Sweet Sue). She has received 2 Green Room Awards for her cabaret shows, was the 2001 winner of The Sydney Cabaret Convention and is a member of the popular girl group The Fabulous Singlettes, performing regularly since 1998 throughout Australia, Asia and Europe. Most recently she performed the role of Jack’s Mother in Into the Woods for The Victorian Opera.
In demand internationally on both the operatic stage and concert platform Sally-Anne Russell has over 60 operatic roles to her credit and regularly performs with all the Australian opera companies, symphony orchestras, major festivals and choral societies. An ARIA Award winner, she has recorded on ABC Classics, Chandos, Naxos and Decca labels.
Recent appearances include Mozart Requiem and Beethoven Symphony No 9 with Bryn Terfel (Melbourne, Tasmanian, Adelaide and Sydney Symphonies), Flying Dutchman (Sydney Symphony), Nixon in China (Victorian Opera), Carmen (Opera Queensland), Falstaff (West Australian Opera), La Sonnambula, Orpheus in the Underworld (State Opera of South Australia), Das Rheingold (Auckland Philharmonia), Messiah (Melbourne Symphony, Sydney Philarmonia, Hobart Baroque, Perth, Christchurch), Bach : St John and St Matthew Passions, B Minor mass and Magnificat, Mahler Songs of the Wayfarer and Symphony No 4 (Tasmanian/Adelaide Symphonies, Orchestra Victoria), Adelaide and Brisbane Festivals, Musica Viva, Australian String Quartet, Port Fairy Festival a ninth season at the Carmel Bach Festival in California and recitals in Singapore and the United States.
Future performances include Messiah with Nicolas Mc Gegan and the New Zealand Symphony also with Queensland,Tasmanian and Melbourne Symphonies, Rosina in Il Barbiere di Siviglia, an opera Gala for Tasmanian Symphony with Teddy Tahu Rhodes and Emma Matthews and Galas and recitals in Vienna.
Born and raised in Horsham, country Victoria, and a graduate of The Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts (WAAPA), Alex has emerged as one of Australia’s most formidable new leading men.
Alex was cast alongside Geoffrey Rush as Robert Martin in The Drowsy Chaperone for Melbourne Theatre Company, after starring as Raoul in the London production of The Phantom of the Opera (Cameron Mackintosh).
In the 2012 Sydney Theatre Awards, Alex was nominated for Best Male Actor in a Supporting Lead Role for the role of Sid Worley in An Officer And A Gentleman (GFO). For the role of Older Patrick in Mame (TPC), Alex was nominated for 'Best Male Artist in a Featured Role' in the Green Room Awards.
Alex’s original one-man show, Experiment, featuring the Cole Porter songbook, received great acclaim in the 2010 Adelaide Cabaret Festival.
On television Alex has had roles on Channel Ten’s Rush, ABC’s Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries and Channel Seven’s Winners & Losers.
Other major credits include: Greg Connell in The Boy From Oz (TPC); Joe Kennedy Jr. and Jerry in Grey Gardens (TPC); Brad Majors in The Rocky Horror Show (TML); and Lancelot in Camelot (TPC).
In 2015 Alex will reprise the role of Billy Crocker in Anything Goes for Opera Australia and John Frost.
A fresh coloratura described as giving a “stand-out performance” by The Age, Alexandra Flood is a young soprano on the cusp of a promising operatic career. Since receiving her Bachelor of Arts (Art History/Philosophy) from the University of Melbourne and Diploma of
Music from the Faculty of VCA and MCM in 2010, Alexandra made her professional European opera debut as a young artist at the world-renowned Salzburg Festival, where she sang Blonde (and covered Konstanze) in Die Entführung aus dem Serail für Kinder, Clorinda
in La Cenerentola für Kinder and Modistin in Der Rosenkavalier with the Vienna Philharmonic. Earlier in 2014, Alexandra completed the Pergolesi Spontini Foundation opera intensive in Jesi, Italy, on the Acclaim Awards Freemasons fellowship, under the tutelage of Valeria Esposito. 2013 saw Alexandra complete the American Institute of Musical Studies opera program in Graz, Austria, where she worked with maestri Marius Stieghorst and Alexander Kalajdzic. Alexandra also participated in the Oberlin Conservatory “Oberlin in Italy” opera summer program in Arezzo, and performed her first lead operatic role as Musetta in Puccini’s La bohème at Teatro Signorelli, Tuscany, 2012.
Alexandra’s awards include the Mike Walsh Fellowship, The PPCA Performers’ Trust grant, the Dame Nellie Melba Opera Trust RJ Hamer Scholarship, the Opera Foundation Australia American Institute of Musical Studies Award, the AIMS Sundell Study Award, the Acclaim
Italian Opera Awards Freemasons Victoria Fellowship, Opera Scholars Australia “Scholar of the Year” (joint), the Robert Stolz Viennese Music Society Award, the National Liederfest Hedi Holt Memorial Award, the Robert Salzer Vocal Championship (1st place), and 2nd runner-up in the prestigious Meistersinger Vocal Championship in Graz, Austria.
Alexandra will make her German debut as Marguerite in Le Petit Faust in a co-production with the Staatstheater am Gärtnerplatz, Munich, in May 2015, and will take up a six-week opera fellowship in New York City in the summer.
Lucy has performed in dramatic as well as musical theatre for a number of years. She has a BA degree in Drama and Literature and is a classical and contemporary trained singer. Lucy has featured in productions at La Mama Theatre and toured Australia in Cafe Rebetika, including a sold out season at the Sydney Opera House and the Arts Centre Melbourne. She has enjoyed solo gigs around the Mornington Peninsula and the Bass Valley and is a graduate of 16th Street Acting Studio. She made her debut at Serenade on Sunset in 2014 and appreciates very much the support and kindness she has received here.
Originally from country victoria, Josh is studying his third year of a Bachelor of Music at the University of Melbourne, under the guidance of Professor Ian Holtham. He began piano at the age of 4, and has achieved his A.Mus,A and L.Mus.A. Josh achieved a perfect 50 for VCE music, for which he also received the Margeret Schoefield Scholarship, and a Premier’s Award for music. Josh has given solo performances throughout Victoria including at the Melbourne Recital Centre, Palais Theatre, Victorian Parliament House, Melba Hall and Plenary Hall at the Melbourne Convention Centre. He was invited to give a concert as part of the inaugural Kawai Young Artists Platform at the Port Fairy Spring Music Festival, and in 2013 was selected as a finalist in the Melbourne Recital Centre’s Great Romantics Competition.
Josh has had performances broadcast on ABC and 3mbs radio, and since being at the conservatorium, has received a number of awards and prizes, including the Doris Chandler Bursary and the Phyllis Judd/Therese de Kretser Memorial scholarship, and at the conclusion of first year was awarded the Lady Turner Prize. He has performed as both orchestra and solo pianist with a number of large ensembles including The University of Melbourne Orchestra and Hopkins Sinfonia.
He has been hand picked to perform in Master classes and Lessons for a number of eminent pianists incuding Paul Badura-‐Skoda, Lisa Moore, Ronald Farren-‐ Price and Craig Sheppard, among others. Recent concerts have included performances as part of the Melba Hall Lunch Hour Series, and the Scots’ Church Holy Week Recital Series, as well as award winning chamber music performances for the Music Society of Victoria and world premiers of new
Mitchell is currently 20 years old. Last year he completed the foundation in music theatre course at the Victorian College of the Arts. He also began singing lessons with the esteemed David Rogers-Smith, extending his vocal skill. Previously he studied at ’Showfit’ - a one year music theatre course at Centrestage Performing Arts School. His creative mind has been broadened, being taught by such mentors as Simon Gleeson (Jean Valjean, Les Miserables 2014) and Mathew Frank (Musical Director - Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum & Pirates of Penzance). Locally he has performed extensively with the Wonthaggi Theatrical Group, but also in Melbourne in ‘Barnum’ (2009 - Comedy Theatre) and ‘Shine On’ (2010 State Schools Spectacular - Hisense Arena). 2014 will see Mitchell continuing to develop his acting, singing and dancing skills in the Second Year Showfit course. He hopes you enjoy the evening and the wonderful music that will be heard.
For Tom Green, a 20 year old Wonthaggi resident, 2014 was a defining year.
Tom successfully negotiated 5th. grade music theory as part of his A.mus.A as he progresses towards his Diploma exams.
During 2014 Tom studied vocals under world renowned Classical Tenor Peter Mander whilst also commencing a music teaching cadetship at Newhaven College.
At the same time Tom was establishing a private music teaching practice.
In May/June Tom performed in the title role of ‘Jesus of Nazareth’ in Wonthaggi Theatrical Group’s production of ‘Jesus Christ Superstar’.
JCSS was awarded ‘Production of the Year’ at the 2014 Music Theatre Guild of Victoria’s ‘Bruce Awards’ in December. The MTGV judged 61 productions in 2014.
Tom was awarded ‘Most Outstanding Leading Male’ and also received the ‘Gladys Moncrieff Award’ for first time performance in a featured role. This is a rare double and more remarkable as it was Tom’s first appearance in a musical production.
In December Tom was accepted by Melbourne University to further his music studies.
Tom Green’s journey will be one to watch.
Natasha completed her Bachelor of Music degree in 2014 with voice as her major instrument. She understudies and performs musical comedy at ‘Witches in Britches’ theatre restaurant and recently performed in a burlesque show titled ‘Which Hunt.’ Tash was asked to audition for the Leongatha Lyric Theatre after she was seen performing at the 2014 Serenade at Sunset event and has secured the lead role of Gypsy in the 2015 production. She has also performed in various productions at the Wonthaggi Theatre and sung with the Wonthaggi Citizen’s Band.
Maria Rosa-Gatto is 14 years of age and is a Year 9 student at Wonthaggi Secondary College. She has been playing piano for seven years and flute for five years and during the past three years has been developing her voice
under the tuition of Kirk Skinner. This talent emerged when she was part of the children’s cast in ‘Oliver’ with the Wonthaggi Theatrical Group and more recently she had a support role in ’13 the Musical’. Maria Rosa hopes to
have a career in music, either teaching or performing and hopefully the performance in Serenade at Sunset will be a further step in that direction.
Hannah McKittrick recently completed year twelve in 2014 at Wonthaggi Secondary College, acquiring dux of her year level. This year, she has accepted an offer to study a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Contemporary Music (Jazz and Improvisation) majoring in voice with the Victorian College of the Arts. Additionally to VCE, she also passed her Australian Music Examination Board 7th Grade exam with Honours. Hannah has also been fortunate to have been given many opportunities to perform in her supportive local community, including singing the national anthem at the Alberton grand final and at the Bass Coast Foundation Young Performer’s Dinner, as well as on a wider scale, performing in the Victorian State Schools Spectacular in the orchestra. Being mentored by her vocal coach Kirk Skinner for a number of years has been instrumental in the development of both Hannah’s technique and her confidence, and she looks forward to the challenge and adventure of pursuing music at a tertiary level.
Boys Vocal Ensemble
Formed in late 2012 the NCBVG has performed at Newhaven College functions, Wonthaggi Citizens’ Band concerts and numerous 2013 Christmas Carol events. Convened by and under the Musical Direction of Kirk Skinner, these fine young men are exploring the joys of choral work and enjoying the camaraderie such challenges bring. The group first appeared in Serenade at Sunset in 2014 and they are looking forward to entertaining us again tonight.
Now tutored by Mr. Tom Green, the group consists of Tom Barker, Mitchell Brusamarello, Finnan Donohue, Alasdair Hackett, Sasha Halabi, Noah Lugt-Cole, Byron Scothern and Mack Williams.