Music at the Farm

By Gisela Horner | Volunteer Friends Of Bella Vista Farm

The universal language of music and an advertisement on a Woolworth’s noticeboard brought conductor Chris Upton together with, among others, flautist Cathy Wainwright three years ago.

Chris wanted to set up an orchestra to expand opportunities for musicians in the Hills District. Soon there were 10 musicians keen to start the orchestra. They are now a body of over 70 members, who were performing concerts in the Pioneer Theatre, Castle Hill and elsewhere in the district.

Freind Music At The Farm
Flautist cathy wainwright

In 2019, their major concert for Orange Blossom Festival was a huge success and they looked forward to the following year, but 2020 and now 2021 were cancelled due to COVID-19.

It’s hard work and these dedicated artists are all volunteers. Now their next challenge is to find a home – a venue where they can rehearse regularly and store their instruments securely.

Chris began his musical studies at eight trying many different instruments – piano, trumpet and trombone. He really wanted to play drums but as he had the longest arms, he got to play the trombone!

From 2008-2015 he was principal trombone of the Sydney Youth Orchestra and holds an Associate Diploma from Trinity College, London. He graduated from Sydney Conservatorium of Music with a Bachelor of Music (Performance) studying under prestigious Sydney Symphony Orchestra trombonists.

After attending two Music Summer Schools in Melbourne, he found his absolute passion – conducting. Chris describes it as solving a puzzle. He loves to look at a score and work out how all the parts fit together.

He is also a dedicated music tutor and is currently completing his Masters of Secondary Teaching. With his new bride Hayley, he feels lucky that his life is so full and rewarding.

Cathy started her music education at 11 learning piano and later violin. Eleven years later, after graduating with a Degree in Social Work, Cathy took up the flute. In 1990, Cathy won a full-time position as a flute and piccolo player in the Royal Australian Air Force Air Command Band.

Friends1 Music At The Farm
hills shire symphony orchestra playing at bella vista farm

In 2003, she joined the Royal Australian Navy Band for 11 years performing at international military tattoos in Brunei, UAE and China and the prestigious Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo in 2012. In 2013 she performed at Gallipoli and Ankara as part of the ANZAC Day commemorations.

She holds a Fellowship Diploma of Trinity College, London, an Associate Diploma in Flute Performance and a Master of Music Degree. Cathy now runs a successful business as a private music teacher in Castle Hill.

With pedigrees such as these, Bella Vista Farm is fortunate to have the talented Hills Shire Symphony Orchestra entertain visitors every Open Day. It adds to the beauty and ambience of a perfect setting.

Look out for more stories featuring members of the Hills Shire Symphony Orchestra.

Bella Vista is closed at present. Open Days usually fall on the first Sunday of each month. We look forward to welcoming you again. In the meantime, earlier stories of Friends of Bella Vista Farm can be found on the digital editions of Hills to Hawkesbury Community News website: