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Richard Gill Tribute

Mon Nov 5 2018

ANCA wishes to acknowledge the passing of Richard Gill. He was a true giant of the Australian arts community, particularly music. The impact he made was immeasurable, tirelessly advocating for music and music education. The articulate way in which he spoke to everyone from the Prime Minister down and the passionate way in which he delivered his message meant that people listened.

Singing had a special place in Richard’s heart. His work with professional opera companies and choirs was well known. Many a professional singer has him to thank for finding their way in this demanding field. But for all of his outstanding work at the professional level, it will be for his work with “ordinary” singers that he will be most fondly remembered. He recognised that the key to maintaining a healthy choral community in this country is to get the general population singing. This he did with energy and conviction, all the while being a true gentleman.

Since his passing, it has been gratifying to observe the countless number of people who have spontaneously shared their own Richard Gill story. Inevitably such stories have focused on how personable Richard was, no matter the situation. He was famous for his ability to remember the names of everyone in the choir or orchestra almost from the first rehearsal. He was genuine in the interest he would take in individuals, able to recall long-past conversations and make mere acquaintances feel like life-long friends. Richard loved working with, or even better, singing with children. He knew that they are the future of choral music and he never tired of encouraging them.

Choral music in this country will miss the Richard Gill touch. He was an inspirational conductor, skilled teacher and tireless advocate for singing. It would be easy to say he is irreplaceable and in many ways this is the case. But, for all the kind and heartfelt words which have been shared about him in the last week, our greatest tribute would be to continue his mission, to follow his lead, to continue doing all we can possibly do to encourage people to sing. This is easier said than done of course but he deserves nothing less. Thank you, Richard, for all that you have done! 

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