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Festival for Young Performers

Tutor and Workshop Information

We are delighted to once again welcome to Somerset a wonderful group of tutors who are looking forward to meeting and working with students from the Gold Coast area. Below is listed a very short bio about each of our current tutors.

Denise Collins

F.A.C.M., DIP.P.P. Music GUILD, A.Mus.A., A.T.Mus.A.


All the fun with the flirty flutes. Come and join in the fun with some great insights from Denise Collins, a national and international flute player. Get a chance to think about tone production, embouchure, and pitch, and explore beautiful music written for the flute.

Denise has been involved in teaching music over the past 52 years. She has taught at Anglican Church Grammar School, St. Aidan’s Anglican College, John Paul College, in Brisbane, and more recently on the Gold Coast at Coomera Anglican College, St. Stephen’s College, A.B.Paterson College, and Somerset College.

Some career highlights were working with the Queensland Symphony Orchestra and the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra and playing as soloist with the Queensland Symphony Orchestra in the State Finals of the A.B.C. Instrumental and Vocal Competition.

Denise has been an examiner of music for the past 27 years, and was President of the Australian College of Music until recently. She has also been appointed to the Board of Examiners for Diploma and Graduate Diploma Courses for Music and Speech by the Singapore Ministry of Education.

Melissa Dineen


Melissa Dineen is a Performance graduate of the Tasmanian Conservatorium of Music where she majored in cello under Christian Wojtowicz. She later completed a Bachelor of Education at the University of Southern Queensland. She is passionate about educating and inspiring young string players and particularly about increasing the awareness of the need for excellence in cello pedagogy.

Melissa is currently the Director of Strings at All Hallows' School and has been instrumental in building the school’s program that now includes over 170 string players across six string orchestras. She has previously taught at numerous schools including Brisbane Boys’ College, Stuartholme School, St Joseph’s College – Gregory Terrace, Education Queensland and the Queensland Conservatorium of Music’s Young Conservatorium.

Melissa has also enjoyed a long association, as a conductor, with the Western Suburbs String Orchestra. She continues to teach cello in her private studio where she works with students from an elementary to Diploma level. Many of her students have gained entry into tertiary music programs and continued on to lead successful careers in the music industry. Melissa is also an AMEB strings examiner, so get some tips from behind the examiner’s desk!

Danny Ellem


This year we are delighted to welcome Danny Ellem as our brass tutor. Danny teaches privately and is actively involved with the development band of the Gold Coast City Brass Band, and as first cornet of the Brass Band. He has also played locally with the Gold Coast City Wind Orchestra and initially studied French Horn. Danny brings a wealth of experience and enthusiasm to share with participants.

Alex Fletcher

Clarinet and Saxophone

We are delighted to introduce Alex Fletcher for his first time to our workshops. Alex is a saxophone and clarinet specialist. He has taught at a number of schools in Brisbane and on the coast. He studied Saxophone Performance and Jazz Harmony and Improvisation with : U.S. Artists: David Liebman, George Garzone and Jacam Manricks (New York) Aust. Artists: Sandy Evans, Tony Hobbs and Col Laughlin (Sydney)Jamie Oehlers (Western Australia), Julian Wilson (Melbourne)Louise Denson, Steve Newcomb, Mark Spencer, Graeme Norris,John Stefulj (Brisbane). As a performer and studio musician he has worked extensively with a number of successful corporate bands across south east Queensland and have performed at festival engagements both in Australia and overseas.
He is looking forward to working with our young performers, working on technique, tone production and jazz!

Brendan Glanville

Drama Workshops

Somerset College is delighted to invite the remarkable Brendan Glanville from Brisbane's Australian Acting Academy to return this year to conduct drama workshops throughout the day on Saturday 16th June.

This is a great opportunity for all our young students to have fun and learn new skills in a friendly workshop environment.

YEARS 7 – 12 TVC CASTING This will be a fun filled two hour workshop and I understand that Brendan is bringing down the Green Screen – so get ready!! Learn what to expect in a TV Commercial Casting situation and practise your skills in front of the Camera. Sounds terrific!!

YEARS 4 – 6 TRESTLE MASK This will be quite an exciting workshop that will challenge every student’s imagination. Experience the magic of telling stories through the Full Face Mask.

YEARS 1 – 3 STORYBUILDING This will also be a wonderfully inspired workshop where young students will be encouraged to create and enact their stories from scratch.

Alison Harbottle

B. Music (Performance Hons); A.Mus.A (cello); A.Mus.A (violin); Dip.Ministry

Violin/ Viola

Raised in a musical household in Brisbane, the chances that Alison’s future would not include music were approximately zero. After spending her school days exploring every instrument family except brass and enjoying performance experiences in central & western Queensland, the USA & Canada, she commenced cello studies at the University of Queensland under Gwyn Roberts, was a consistent member of the Queensland Youth Orchestra including a tour of Japan and South Korea in 1997, began organising and playing in pit orchestras for amateur theatre productions, and was a sought-after session musician. After completing her music degree Alison began teaching instrumental music in private schools on Brisbane’s southside, alongside her private studio.

Also raised surrounded by teachers, the concept of becoming a teacher was not foreign to Alison, in fact it seemed almost expected. Alison commenced teaching privately while in her final year of school and has only had short breaks following the birth of each of her children. While teaching in smaller private schools following her university studies, she found a desperate need for String Orchestra music suitable for ensembles with no piano, no double bass, and...well, not much of anything really. Thus, compositional interests resurfaced and Alison began writing, both music suitable for mixed level ensembles as well as for graded ensembles. When not at home tending to her three children, Alison currently teaches strings in her private studio, at Parklands Christian College and at Brisbane Grammar School.

Helen Masson

Piano and Flute

We are delighted to welcome back Helen Masson for the piano workshops. Helen is one of the chief examiners for the AMEB for Queensland, and is one of the consultants for the new syllabus for Piano and Piano for Leisure series.

Workshops for piano are divided into three groups – Preliminary to grade 2, grade 3 to grade 5 and Grade 6 upwards. Please note that this is a guide to standard for the workshop, and performance pieces do not have to come from any particular grade.

Workshop 1 - (Prelim to grade 2) and 2 (grades 3 to 5). Each participant is asked to bring along a piece to play. If you have a duet or trio partner – bring your duets or trios! Then we are going to do some ensemble work! 4 parts on keyboards! Lots of fun Improve your timing and aural skills. Listen to all the different parts that make up some fun ensemble sounds.

Workshop 3 - Grade 6 upwards SITTING FOR AN EXAM! Please bring at least one piece, but you are welcome to bring more for this masterclass style workshop. A great opportunity to pick up some insights and tips from one of our very experienced examiners

Helen is a graduate of the Queensland Conservatorium of Music (Griffith University) majoring in two principal instruments, Piano and Flute. She has been an examiner for 18 years. She has been Keyboard Advisor to AMEB Queensland for the past 6 years and is a senior member of the Examining Panel. In 2010 she was the Queensland representative on the Syllabus Committee for the selection of material for the Series 3 Leisure books and accompanying Syllabus, and in 2013 worked with the AMEB to help select the material for the new Series 17 Piano books. Her teaching experience is extensive. She has taught for over 35 years privately and in several colleges in Brisbane. She has a large private practice, and her students range from 3 to 76 years of age. She is the owner and Director of Music Schools Australia in Brisbane and Five Dock Music School in Sydney. Helen has always enjoyed accompanying. For the past 40 years she has worked as an accompanist, and has accompanied solo performances throughout Europe and Australia, in many different genres of music and performing arts. In 2014 she formed, and was the accompanist for an SATB choir that was invited to perform in the International Choral Festival in Vienna between 12 to 16 December.