Continuo Supporters

So who’s idea was this anyway? Who belongs and who’s supporting us?

Here we’ll post the stories and backgrounds of the founders, members and supporters of the Continuo Community.

Founder – Helen Vorrath

Continuo Connect is the brainchild of Helen Vorrath. It’s the culmination of ideas she’s been pursuing for several years, finally brought to fruition during lockdown.

Helen has been a concert-goer since school-days, a subscriber to Musica Viva for over 40 years. She is a 3MBS Patron and Life Member, a donor to ANAM, the MRC and Musica Viva.

In the last decade or so, she’s become a much more active chamber music supporter, starting as a volunteer for the Melbourne International Chamber Music Competition (aka MICMC). She’s a member of the Victorian Committee of Musica Viva, Secretary of Genesis Baroque, and supporter of Melbourne Chamber Players. At the last MICMC she joined the Silo Collective to be part of the commissioning of Holly Harrison’s Balderdash.

Helen has derived so much pleasure from all these activities that she felt other people would relish the same opportunities to support chamber music – through modest donations or volunteer activities, or both. She says, “It’s such an uplifting experience to sit in a concert knowing that you have made a real contribution, however minor, to the existence of the performance, the ensemble, or the work.”

Because Continuo was born mid-lockdown, the first members were chosen from friends and relatives who lived within a 5km radius, so that the initial meeting to establish the organisation could be held in a local coffee shop. Watch this space for their stories.

Helen is currently Continuo’s President, Secretary, website designer and newsletter editor. She has  recruited a team to help in keeping the concert calendar up to date. Those volunteers will also appear here in due course.

Helen has refused to provide a current photo until such time as she can get a haircut to cut back the lockdown locks.

Instead she provided her avatar, which is how she prefers to imagine she looks.

Real musician – Justin Beere

Justin studied music (clarinet) at the Queensland Conservatorium, at the University of Tasmania and at ANAM. He is now Associate Principal clarinettist with Orchestra Victoria. He’s a very active chamber musician, having founded Melbourne Chamber Players with oboist Steph Dixon. And he’s played gigs with other chamber groups including Rubiks Collective and Syzygy.

Justin’s also been active in commissioning music in the past, so his advice in this area is invaluable as we prepare to become a commissioning organisation. He’s helping with the creation of policies and processes for the selection of composers and the ensembles who will play the commissioned work.

Justin is also a gifted teacher, which is how he got to know Helen Vorrath. Five years ago she decided to return to playing the clarinet after a 50 year break. Google provided her with Justin’s contact details, and the rest as they say is history. He’s still trying patiently to turn her into a better-than-average player.

Libby Vorrath – keen concert-goer

Libby Vorrath is founder Helen Vorrath's sister-in-law. They first went to chamber music concerts together in London, in 1969 (Brahm's horn trio with Barry Tuckwell, anyone?). These days she and Helen share a Musica Viva Gold Subscription. Libby's also a dedicated listener to classical music via 3MBS and the ABC Classic FM radio, and plays piano when she needs calm or consolation.

Libby has been an ensemble host for two of the Melbourne International Chamber Music Competitions, and is looking forward to doing it again when they resume in 2023.

Libby says, "Not only did I meet the obvious criteria for membership of Continuo, but at the time Helen started it in July 2021, travel was limited to a 5km radius, and fortunately I live close enough to be able to come to the meetings to help her establish the Continuo organisation."

Peter Thorne – couch concert enthusiast

Peter is one of the few classical music fans who hasn’t minded the lockdowns. He actually prefers to watch concerts from the couch. He finds other audience members distracting. His special dislikes are those who:

  • cough without covering
  • unwrap the cough lollies excruciatingly slowly
  • wear jangly bracelets or carry handbags with chain handles
  • chat
  • fail to turn off their phones

On the couch, he is happily in complete control of his environment and can really enjoy his concerts.