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CURTIS, Colin

20/11/2021

Colin Curtis made an outstanding contribution to the South Australian music community.

He worked at Loreto College, Girton Girls' School and Pembroke School, coordinating skilled teams of music teachers, developing choirs and orchestras and mentoring vocal and instrumental soloists. Later, Colin devoted himself to church music, again mentoring young choristers and soloists, especially through the treble choir at the Church of the Epiphany, Crafers. He also worked with the Kappelle Singers, an elite adult choral group initiated by some of Colin's former students.

I was one of many beneficiaries of Colin's work. As a young child, I used to see the Pembroke Girls' Choir singing at Carols by Candlelight and fantasise about one day being up there with them. My wish came true when I was able to study at Pembroke for my secondary schooling. But Carols by Candlelight was the least of the thrills I would experience in the musical adventure Colin led us on. I remember school musicals, mass choirs, singing for the Queen and touring Germany, England and Switzerland among many other special memories. These experiences, along with all the time and effort that prepared us for them, fostered close relationships within the choir for which I will always be grateful.

Colin was passionate about music, and he passed that passion on to us for all he was worth. His commitment to excellence was unparalleled, and he readily admonished us when he thought it necessary, but he also had a great sense of fun, and taught us how to enjoy the music. When he introduced new music to us, he would tell us why it was worth the effort. Then he would help us move from basic knowledge to deeper more nuanced understanding of the music we sang. And the range of music he gave to us was breathtaking: Handel, Mozart, Rossini, Britten, Kodaly, Vaughan Williams, Orff, Ritter, Kay, Simon and Garfunkel and so much more.

After such a special school experience, I was later thrilled to work with him in the Kapelle Singers and then, in a different capacity, in Stirling Parish. This time I watched him nurture a new generation of singers as I was being nurtured into the priesthood.

I feel deeply honoured to have learned from and worked with Colin across various stages in both our lives.

Colin had a private funeral in December. Stirling Parish will host a service of Thanksgiving in Remembrance of Colin's music ministry at 10:30am on Saturday, 22nd January, at the Church of the Epiphany, Crafers. All welcome.

Mannum 5238

Date listed: 18/1/2022

Publications: Digital

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