Con blows its horn after 30 years on song

Published:10 May 2019

TOP: Trombonists Jeremy Borthwick and Dan Barnett front the CQCM Alumni all-stars jazz band. MID: Professor Judith Brown was MC for the evening. BELOW: Music theatre performers Madeline Cain and Teale Howie with student chorus performers in the background.

After starting in 1989 as a Mackay offshoot of the Queensland Conservatorium of Music, the Central Queensland Conservatorium of Music celebrated 30 years of success with a gala concert this week.

The CQCM has been part of CQUniversity since 1996 and has thrived at its location on the Ooralea Campus.

This week’s gala showcased alumni who have gone on to careers in music theatre (Paul Tabone, Madeline Cain and Teale Howie), jazz musicians including Jeremy Borthwick, and former OzCabaret performer Sarah Rozekrans.

Original CQCM Director Dr Helen Lancaster was in the audience and current Director Professor Judith Brown was MC and accompianist for the evening.

Current students performed as a massed chorus. A special CQCM alumni big band wowed the crowd and featured notable Australian jazz musician Dan Barnett.

Guests included CQUni VC Professor Nick Klomp and Chancellor John Abbott.

Professor Klomp said it was obvious CQCM had earned enthusiastic support from the Mackay community.

“Happy birthday CQCM. What an amazing celebration tonight,” he said.

“I’ve been blown away by the talent and achievement of the students, the staff and the alumni and the commitment from the community, and I think that’s what’s been so telling in the success celebrating 30 years.

“As well as the talent on display tonight I’m also impressed with the values that CQCM are reflecting, completely consistent with the whole of CQUniversity I would say ... the engagement with community, the social innovation like the Safety Circus and Choices programs, just finding ways of giving back to the community has been quite remarkable.”