By GISELA HORNER VOLUNTEER FRIENDS OF BELLA VISTA FARM
NOELEEN NEIDECK was born with music in her blood. Her late father was an organist and pianist, her mother a classical singer and her sister Sue plays the clarinet.
At age five, Noeleen was learning piano. When she was 11, her father took her to the Sydney Opera House to hear Dvořák’s ‘New World’ performed by the Sydney Symphony Orchestra. He told her she could choose any instrument to learn. She was completely smitten by the haunting solo played on the cor anglais (the English horn) and wanted to play it. The cor anglais is a double reed woodwind instrument in the oboe family and is approximately one and a half times the length of an oboe.
Before learning the cor anglais, Noeleen was required to master the oboe. Her passion was always music at school, performing in the orchestra and choir and as a school pianist. Part of her talent was arranging music for oboe and clarinet. Her family performed together in church services and at nursing homes and retirement villages, bringing joy to residents.
Since the 1970s, Noeleen has been playing in numerous musical societies, community bands and orchestras, on both the oboe and cor anglais. In 2017, she received an email asking if anyone was interested in forming a community orchestra in the Hills district. She met with conductor Chris Upton and they discussed membership and venues.
Response from contacts was very positive and The Hills Shire Symphony Orchestra was formed. It now has over 70 members and usually performs at Bella Vista Farm each Open Day, the first Sunday of the month. Noeleen teaches at The Hills Grammar School and at her home studio, now online, three days a week with students of all ages and standards. She says it’s not the same as teaching face to face, being challenged by poor internet connections.
Her very young students can have difficulty staying focussed when not in the same room with her, but she enjoys teaching them and they have lots of fun. She is well qualified with an AMusA and a Bachelor of Music (Performance) from the NSW Conservatorium of Music.
Noeleen met her husband when she was 17. She was playing the piano at church and David played the electric organ. They have been married for 38 years and are still in harmony!
They have two boys, Matt who plays saxophone and Daniel, a drummer. Their two grandchildren, Sophie (6) and George (1) complete their life.
Despite their busy lives, they like travelling with their caravan, sometimes accompanied by rescue dog ‘Tyson’, a Jack Russell terrier.
Noeleen also loves sewing: embroidery, patchwork and crocheting. She crochets squares for rugs for her church and Parramatta Mission to give to the homeless.
Once Bella Vista Farm opens its gates again, we look forward to welcoming visitors back. Latest announcements will be found on the website: www.thehills.nsw.gov.au