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25 July 2008

Milestones and measures

honouring the heroes, and cheering the champions

Milestones and measures

Significant milestones come and go, and sadly, whilst some attract attention, others pass by without a murmur. It may not be that the silence is caused by apathy. We all take note of those things that we might want to pay attention to, but, for many reasons, don't get to appropriately acknowledge. The responsibility of marking these milestones in our community is something we all share.

Birthdays are milestones that we use to measure our lives, and perhaps reflect on the distance traveled and the lessons learnt; for some who reach significant milestones we also might reflect on the impact made, the influences exerted, and the legacy bequeathed. As a community we may often pay attention to such milestones, particularly the significant ones marking a decade, and particularly those whose decades number many.

This year is no different to others in that we see many prominent and not so prominent composers marking significant milestones. The generation marking their half century milestone numbers many, and those reaching a decade further, several. Several more prominent names are halfway through their seventh decade.

Of our more senior figures reaching beyond this, there are only a few, and whilst some are celebrated and feted, others as deserving warrant at least some salutation.

This year the senior composer list of significant birthdays have included Richard Meale, who reached his 75th year, and others marking this milestone are Don Kay, Helen Stowasser, and Colin Brumby. Sven Libaek, Ann Carr-Boyd, and Bruce Smeaton reach their eighth decade.

Those reaching their ninth decade this year include Peter Tahourdin, and George Dreyfus, both of whom have made significant contributions over many decades to Australian music, both of them outstanding advocates and champions for the cause, and both with particular personalities that enrich and enliven our community. Others prominent on the list include Australian music icons Don Burrows and Tommy Tycho, whose influences are also immeasurable. New-York resident and Tasmanian expat jazz composer Bryce Rohde turns 85.

The dear departeds: Don Banks would have been 85 this year, jazz legend John Sangster 80, and Lawrence Bartlett 75.

What riches and wealth we have in this long list of names! How can we attempt to quantify and celebrate this?

In resonate we would like to encourage readers to tell their stories relating to these names, the anecdotes, and the reflections on influence and inspiration, as a way of saluting these heroes and champions of this community.

You might like to add a short post in response to this blog, and include the subject's name in the Post Title box. You might like to write something more substantial, and to do this, please contact the resonate editor at editor@resonatemagazine.com.au

John Davis is CEO of the Australian Music Centre.


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