Staff Profiles

Anita Bellman


Anita Bellman : Director

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Anita Bellman became Executive Director of the Conservatorium in 2012 having served for many years as Head of Community Music. She teaches Voice in both the Academy courses and the Community Music programme.

Having graduated from SCU with a Bachelor of Contemporary Music and a Graduate Diploma in Education, Anita comes to the Conservatorium with a solid background in Classical, Contemporary and Choral Music as well as Event Management and Community Arts.

Jaylene Fergus


Jaylene Fergus : Piano

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Jaylene Fergus has a Bachelor of Contemporary Music from Southern Cross University, Lismore, with a major in both ‘Performance on Piano’ and ‘Music Education’. Her previous music education was through the Australian Music Examinations Board (AMEB). Jaylene has performed solo as well as with numerous ensembles in a variety of styles including classical, jazz, Latin, funk, rock, pop, soul and R&B. With a solid background in both classical and contemporary music, Jaylene offers tuition for piano, theory and musicianship in a wide variety of genres.

Linda Armstrong


Linda Armstrong : Piano

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Linda started playing the piano as a 9-year-old, and has fond memories of the Lismore Eisteddfod as a child.

Having graduated from the NSW Conservatorium of Music, Sydney,  with a Bachelor of Music Education, Linda brings to the Northern Rivers Conservatorium of the Arts years of teaching experience.  She has taught music in both Primary and High Schools and has also has her own piano studio for 13 years.

Linda has presented students for both AMEB and ANZCA exams in Piano and Theory of Music, and teaches students of all ages.

She is currently a committee member of the Byron Music Society, promoting fine music in our community.

Cassie Bennett


Cassie Bennett : Voice

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Born into a bigger than average and very musical family, Cassie has been singing since the moment she could talk and surrounded by music her whole life. Always possessing a strong pull towards music, Cassie has been writing songs & performing from the age of 16. She chose to pursue her musical endeavours further and study Contemporary Music at TAFE level and then went onto study a Bachelor of Contemporary Music at SCU in Lismore.
Cassie has toured extensively throughout Australia and played shows Internationally as a backing vocalist for various artists & bands, as well as performing in her own original project as Cassie Rose, opening for such artists as Lior, James Blundell & Rick Price and having released her debut EP ‘Destiny’ in 2014. Her portfolio is a mixed bag, from session recording, live performance & touring to songwriting & arranging, with experience & knowledge of most contemporary and world music genres.
Music has become her life and through this Cassie has gained much experience and knowledge of the musical world and loves to share what she can, encouraging you to open your heart and mind to music and it’s possibilities, discover and explore your voice and it’s potential… and have some fun along the way!

Mark Bromley

Guitar, Music Theory, Bass

Mark Bromley : Guitar, Music Theory, Bass

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BMus (Hons), AMus

Mark Bromley teaches guitar and bass guitar, a little fiddle, mandolin, banjo, and cello, as well as music theory and composition. He has composed scores for several low budget theatre companies, composed and performed with IGNEOUS (performance theatre), and played with countless ensembles from solo to orchestra in many genres from classical to avant garde for the last 30 years.

Dan Brown


Dan Brown : Piano

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Dan Brown started playing piano as a 12 year old and went on to to study composition at ANU with Larry Sitsky.

Dan has enjoyed playing many international tours and major national festivals. Dan has experience in wide range of styles - pop, jazz, reggae, R&B, Electronica and hip hop all have featured in recent gigs.

Over the last 5 years Dan has performed at numerous Australian festivals - including - Adelaide fringe (Pete Murray and The ASO), Island Vibes (the bird, Red Bantoo,Fyah Walk) and Mullum Fest (Shelly Hughes) and Woodford (the Bird and Red Bantoo, Fyah Walk). He has also enjoyed 4 international tours.

As a recording artist he has co-produced/ engineered/ played and composed 3 albums, most recently Shelly Hughes' "Where the owl was".

Rex Carter


Rex Carter : Drums

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Rex has been teaching drum kit for nearly 30 years. He moved to the Northern Rivers in Jan 2006 and is currently tutoring over 40 students. Rex is a professional musician who is working regularly with country/ bluegrass band ‘The Round Mountain Girls’, reggae/ latin band ‘Ragga Jump’, funk/soul band ‘The Crew’, and others.

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Alicia Charleston

Bass / Guitar

Alicia Charleston : Bass / Guitar

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BA in Contemporary Music (Southern Cross University)

Alicia has always worked in the music industry, starting out as an entertainer, guitarist, and developing into a songwriter, producer, vocalist and educator. Alicia has toured extensively in the UK, North America and Europe.

She has played at numerous festivals including the prodigious Edge of the World Music Festival (BC, Canada), Woodford Folk Festival (QLD) and Frankston International Guitar Festival (VIC). She has worked as a corporate musician and on various original projects in Melbourne for over 12 years.

Alicia’s recording credits include releases by Manuhiri (AUS/NZ), Emaline Delapaix (AUS/CAN), The Anoushka (AUS) and Alicia-C project. Her songwriting commission credits for film include Evelyn Everyone (2009) and On Her Shoulders (2011).

Some highlights in Australia include sharing the stage with Australia’s toppermost: Sally Dastey, Marie Wilson, Bobby Valentine, Josie Jason and Julie Walter, impromptu jam with Jennifer Batton (Michael Jackson’s guitarist for 10 years), interviewed and published in Guitarist Australia Magazine and winner of the North Coast Dolphin Award ‘Best Rock Song’ in 2000.

Alicia is also a former Head of Music at JMC Academy (South Melbourne) where she also lectured for the last four years. Here students gained an education to excel in their craft and over the last four years Alicia has seen success such as Timomatic, Ruby Jones (Clariey Browne & The Banging Rackettes), Joel Loukes (Michael Paytner, Miley Cyruss, 2011) and band Sherriff.

Alicia was Head of Academy Music at the NR Conservatorium and currently teaches Bass and Guitar.

Felicity Clifton

Voice, Early Childhood Music

Felicity Clifton : Voice, Early Childhood Music

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BA Cont. Mus, Grad Dip Ed

Having won a Dolphin Award in the folk genre in 2000, Felicity graduated from SCU, Lismore in 2004 with a Bachelor of Contemporary Music and Graduate Diploma of Education. She has directed various choral groups for both children and adults in Australia and internationally.

Felicity specialises in singing as a therapy for pre/post-natal groups as well as mental health choirs. Highlights include choir directing and vocal workshops (Mental Health Conference, 2009 Sydney), and co-facilitating a cappella choirs in Italy and Samoa.

As well as a popular vocal teacher, Felicity is a valued and energetic member of the Conservatorium's Early Childhood Music department.

Lynne Compton

Piano, Flute, Cello, Ensembles

Lynne Compton : Piano, Flute, Cello, Ensembles

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Lynne Compton Dip Modern Langs , B.Mus / B.Teach

Lynne has always been a musician, curious about all music and all instruments. This led to studies initially in piano then flute, cello and guitar. Lifelong music education with adaption according to skill levels then became the main focus. She has taught music K-12 in Government and Non-Government Schools, trained Primary and Secondary Bands, arranged scores for musicals and accompanied for Eisteddfods , exams and concerts. She has presented students for AMEB exams in Piano and Flute and at present teaches Piano, Flute, Cello as single studies and Pre- Instrumental , Cello Group, and an Elementary Band as group activities. The age range of her students is 5 years to 75 years.  As a result of her arranging experience Lynne has performed the role of Musical Director for the Northern Rivers Youth Orchestra Workshop in 2013 and 2014.

Adam Gardiner


Adam Gardiner : Drumkit

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Adam Gardiner is a young and talented drummer born and raised on the Gold Coast beaches of Burleigh Heads. At the age of 13 he started playing drums in his local church band. While there he developed a solid yet expressive playing style. This creative and expressive foundation remains a key attribute to the way Adam approaches the drums today. He has recently studied and completed a Bachelor of Contemporary Music at SCU Lismore. During the years spent there Adam has become more than competent in the genres of jazz, blues, funk, latin and fusion. He also received high marks for his independent study in gospel and hip hop playing styles. Currently he enjoys teaching his acquired skills around the northern rivers area. He has worked with a number of artists and bands including: Candice Casagrande, Stan Walker, Charlotte Marshall, Sarah Grant, Pink Zinc, Rich Latimer, Cath Simes Band, The Northern Rivers Big Band, Andy Jans-Brown and many others. His current musical projects include Andy Jans-Brown and Cozmic.

Kate Gittins

Saxophone, Clarinet, Flute, School Band

Kate Gittins : Saxophone, Clarinet, Flute, School Band

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Kate has been an instrumental teacher for over 15 years.

She has a degree in Creative Arts and has performed as a musician and actor in many Ensembles and Theatre companies in the U.K. and Europe.

Since moving to Australia she has played with the Northern Rivers and Conservatorium Big Bands, and has been the popular leader of the school band in our Music in Schools Program at Bangalow School.

Julius Hofstetter


Julius Hofstetter : Saxophone

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Julius Hofstetter has been teaching saxophone, clarinet, flute, and recorder at the Conservatorium since 2002. After finishing a BA in Contemporary Music he studied a unit of Teaching and Learning. In 2008 he added a Certificate IV in Training and Assessment.

Julius inspires both beginners and advanced students by teaching fundamental skills through to advanced contemporary improvisation concepts. In 2010 he started the Northern Rivers Youth Jazz Orchestra.

Julius has performed and recorded with numerous artists here and overseas, including playing soul, blues, reggae, pop, world music and jazz touring on the east coast of Australia.

Laura Hymers


Laura Hymers : Woodwind

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Laura learnt oboe in an in school program in England and has been teaching woodwind and performing in this area for over 15 years including tutoring students for AMEB exams.

She performs regularly here and on the Gold Coast as a semi-professional oboist as a soloist and with various chamber groups.She also has extensive orchestral experience and was principal oboist with the Northern Rivers Symphony Orchestra for more than 15 years.

Laura is also a qualified primary school classroom teacher and has worked for many years in various schools in this area. She has particular experience in teaching children with learning difficulties.

Passionate about the joy and benefit of learning and playing music, Laura works to empower children with the skills they need to get the most from their musical opportunities.

Andy Jans-Brown

Piano, Guitar

Andy Jans-Brown : Piano, Guitar

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B Contemporary Music SCU (2008), Dip Acting NIDA (1991), Associate Dip Performing Arts NIDA (1989)

A diverse performer with experience in theatre, film, community development as well as music, Andy has a rich history of national and international touring, including opening for Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds and sharing a stage with Tina Arena in Paris.

As front person of the band Andy Jans-Brown & COZMIC, he has had an original song reach number one on Triple J Unearthed - you can see it here - 

Andy has been teaching in the Music in Schools and Community Music programs since 2013.

Michael McCabe

Violin, Viola, Cello, Ensembles

Michael McCabe : Violin, Viola, Cello, Ensembles

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Michael has qualifications from NSW State Conservatorium of Music in Sydney and Newcastle Conservatorium. He has been teacher, performer, conductor and administrator. In the mid-1990’s he studied conducting with Myer Fredman whilst working with youth and community orchestras in Penrith.

Exploits over the decades have included Musical Director of the Macquarie University Symphony Orchestra, musical director for various musical theatre productions in both Penrith and Newcastle, Director of Strings at St Paul’s Grammar School in Penrith for seven years where, in the early stage, he also administered the Peripatetic Program and was Head of Strings at Tamworth Regional Conservatorium of Music.

Michael was a member of the committee for the NSW Chapter of the Australian Strings Association (AUSTA) for six years.
Michael teaches violin, viola and cello at Northern Rivers Conservatorium and directs the Strings Ensemble Program.

Neil McCann

Drums, Guitar

Neil McCann : Drums, Guitar

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Neil McCann has been teaching guitar and drums as well as performing and recording in the Northern Rivers for fourteen years. Before that he was teaching and performing in Sydney.

Neil has performed at many national festivals including Bluesfest, Tamworth, Gympie muster, Reggae Fest and Karuah Bluegrass festival.

His teaching style is relaxed and fun with an emphasis on student goals.

Alex McLeod

Guitar, Bass

Alex McLeod : Guitar, Bass

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Alex is an accomplished musician that is well renowned in the area for his guitar work, he has tour nationally and internationally with a variety of acts such as Pete Murray and The ASO, Carl Cleves and Parissa Bouas, Nini & Ben and Rebecca Ireland.
Alex has performed at many national music festivals including Mullum Fest, Nannup Music Festival, Adelaide Fringe Festival and the Byron Bay Guitar festival. He has also travelled extensively through Europe, North America, Mexico, Cuba, Japan and Southern Africa.
Having completed a BA in Contemporary Music at SCU 2009,
Alex has taught guitar and bass over the past 15 years for The Northern River Conservatorium, Trinity Catholic College, Hothouse Music and Lismore Music.
Alex has experience in a wide range of styles-Blues, Rock, Jazz, Folk, Country and Pop.
As a recording artist Alex has co-produced and played on a number of albums... most to date Cassie Rose “Destiny” and his own self-tilted EP “Al McLeod" released in 2016.
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Julie Metcalfe

Violin, Piano

Julie Metcalfe : Violin, Piano

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As a violinist Julie has graced local and national venues performing across diverse genres: classical, theatre, jazz, rock, Jazz-Rock fusion, folk, Country, and World Music.

Since moving to the North Coast she has performed widely, including with The Hottentots, Heartland, the Romaniacs, and The Horton River band. 

Her extensive experience as a violin and piano teacher includes: on the staff of the Clarence Valley, Coffs Harbour, and Lismore Conservatoriums; the Music Branch of the South Australian Education Department; and as Director of her own school of music in Regional Western Australia.

Julie is the daughter of a well-known Sydney musician, Ron Metcalfe. She attended the Sydney Conservatorium High School, before embarking on a career as a freelance violinist, performing with the West Australian Opera Orchestra, the South Australian Festival Theatre, J.C. Williamson Productions, and the Canberra Symphony Orchestra.

Nicholas Routley

Vox Caldera

Nicholas Routley : Vox Caldera

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Nicholas Routley is a pianist, conductor, composer and university lecturer in classical music who moved to the Northern Rivers region in 2009.

As a pianist he specialises in chamber music, especially with singers, and he has given concerts with many international artists, including Hartley Newnham, throughout Australia, and in Europe and East Asia.

He was founder director of the Sydney Chamber Choir for thirty years. He is the founder and musical director of the Northern Rivers Conservatorium based chamber choir, Vox Caldera. This year he has conducted the Sydney Chamber Choir in the Brahms German Requiem, and the Northern Rivers Symphony Orchestra in a program including Strauss’ “Four last songs” sung by Lecia Robertson.

At present he is engaged in the composition of three operas on the subject of the Indian epic, Mahbharata.

Cameron Smith

Trumpet, Trombone, Flute, Clarinet

Cameron Smith : Trumpet, Trombone, Flute, Clarinet

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Cameron has been working as a performer and instrumental music teacher since graduating form USQ in 2002 where he majored in Trumpet performance. Since 2006 Cameron has been based in Canberra where he completed a Diploma of Jazz studies in 2009 and has worked hard to become a valued member of the musical scene, starting a number of projects and performing with many ensembles in a variety of styles.
Cameron formed the Brass Knuckle Brass Band in 2010 and Moochers Inc in 2012. As one of the main composers, both groups have recorded two albums and played many festivals in Australia, including Woodford Folk Festival, Falls festival and the National Folk Festival. Cameron has recorded with other groups including East Row Rabble, Beth and Ben and Plan B and is highly sought after as a session player. All of these groups have received wide radio play in Australia and internationally.
As a member of Rock and Soul band PlanB Cameron has had the opportunity to tour Asia and the UK on a number of Occasions.
In 2016 Cameron was invited to perform at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.
Cameron is an enthusiastic musician and teacher with a desire to instill that same enthusiasm in his students.

Fleur St Vincent Welch


Fleur St Vincent Welch : Violin

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Fleur St. Vincent Welch has been teaching the Violin for over 15 years in various schools and music institutions around the North Coast and the Northern Tablelands. She has a special interest in the pre-school and primary school age group.

Fleur aims to give students a solid foundation in music theory and Violin technique covering a range of musical styles. She encourages her students to explore musical expression and interpretation in a fun and supportive environment. She strongly encourages duet and ensemble playing.

Fleur conducted the NRCAC Little Strings ensemble and formerly The Emmanuel College (Ballina) Strings ensemble, who had the opportunity to play for the former Australian Prime Minister John Howard in 2004.

Fleur has played in various community orchestras as well as guest appearances with local band The Romaniacs.

Meghan Thamm


Meghan Thamm : Piano

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Meghan Thamm has been teaching piano since 1998.

Meghan teaches students according to individual abilities, introduces them to various musical genres and provides a good foundation in technique and music theory. She incorporates fun musical activities to engage younger students and is happy to help piano students work towards AMEB exams and compose original pieces.

Meghan has also been a Registered Music Therapist since 2005 and has a Bachelor of Music, majoring in French Horn.

Ben van Kleef


Ben van Kleef : Brass

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Ben van Kleef began his music career at 16 singing cabaret and playing banjo. At 19 he was bitten by the trumpet bug and smitten with the sound of Miles Davis. Thousands of hours practice later found him playing professionally in Jazz combos, Funk bands, Big Bands and Orchestras, performing nationally and internationally on trumpet, trombone, sousaphone, and tuba.

Ben began teaching trumpet in 1999 after Studying in Sydney with Miroslav Bukowsky and later in Melbourne with Scott Tinkler. A love of teaching ensemble music to children lead Ben to conducting bands after training with Jerry Nowak (USA) in 2005. He is currently director of the Lismore City Concert Band.

Jeremy White


Jeremy White : Guitar

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Jeremy White has a BA degree (Contemporary Music, guitar major) from Southern Cross University where he subsequently taught guitar for 4 years. Has also has training in classical guitar, (grade 7 AMEB) and flamenco guitar.

He has been performing and teaching in the Northern Rivers of NSW for over 20 years. He has been honoured with a Dolphin Award for his contribution to the Music industry and is a regular adjudicator in this annual event in the Northern Rivers . He has played with “Hair of the dog”, “Hot Dog”, “Fester an’ thing”, “The Question” and currently plays in the rock band `Push’, and classical guitar trio, “Totally plucked”.

Jeremy has a real passion for flamenco, rock and blues guitar styles, but is also fluent in classical, pop, jazz and latin styles.

Imogen Wolf


Imogen Wolf : Voice

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Imogen has taught at the Conservatorium since 2001. She teaches Voice in the Community Music dept and Aural & Rhythm Training, Sight Singing and group singing in the Academy courses. She taught the vocalists in the Academy for many years and was the Head of Music from 2007 until 2011.

With a passion for harmony, Imogen is a choir director and arranger with two choirs currently on the boil; Choir Baby in Bangalow, and Choir Wolf in Lismore. She regularly facilitates workshops in singing, harmony, voice technique and reading music.

Rochelle Wright

Early Childhood Music Co-ordinator

Rochelle Wright : Early Childhood Music Co-ordinator

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Rochelle Wright is a musician, songwriter and teacher dedicated to bringing the joy of music into children’s lives. Her music career has encompassed working as a choir conductor and voice teacher at Melbourne’s NMIT and as a performer at many top Australian music festivals including Womadelaide, Woodford & National Folk Fests, and Bellingen Global Carnival. Rochelle has also worked as a marimba instrument maker, a member of Melbourne women’s Bulgarian choir Petrunka, and for the last decade in Early Childhood Music teaching and entertainment.

Rochelle founded ECM classes ‘Sing by the Sea’ in 2003 in Northern NSW which ran for ten years. She has recorded numerous albums including 3 celebrated children’s albums. Playschool has performed Rochelle’s music in their 2011/12 ‘In the garden’ series, and co-ordinator Hannah Stone quotes “Everyone at Playschool loves listening to your music!”

Rochelle is also known as ‘Sunshine’ in well loved theatrical performance trio, ‘The Curly Cousins’. Formed in 2008, the Curlies engage in interactive concerts aimed to musically inspire and delight young children and families.

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