50 years of service

At the 2017 AGM of the Association, we will thank and farewell two stalwarts of the Association who between them, have accumulated 50 years of service to the Music Festival!

It’s very hard to adequately express thanks for such levels of commitment – but we will try!

Robyn Forbes

We are not certain that there are any significant organisational roles in the Music Festival which Robyn has not performed over the thirty years that she has been part of the Festival Executive; that is not far off an entire teaching career of commitment!

Robyn joined the Festival Executive in 1986 and over the 30 years since then she has been Business Manager, Secretary (several times), Vice President, Holiday Course Supervisor, Town Hall Co-ordinator, Back of House Manager , Programme Seller co-ordinator, general guide and problem-solver and child care provider – to name just the obvious roles.

Every year, Robyn has been seen in a myriad of roles helping ensure that the Festival runs smoothly, many of the roles involving countless hours spent with the minutiae of organisation spent on top of her teaching commitments and during her holidays.

Indefatigable volunteers such as Robyn are gold to organisations such as the Music Festival – they are the very stuff of what volunteering means: full commitment, fearless volunteering in the face of already enormous workloads.

Robyn was made a Life Member of the Association in 2007; small but sincere thanks for her enormous contribution. She leaves so many shoes to fill!!

Kathy Cowan

When you ask teachers about the Festival organisation, they speak about Kathy Cowan.

That wonderful woman who always set things right for you, even when you made a complete mess of things! So obliging!” was how one teacher described her and that thought will be echoed by the hundreds of teachers and thousands parents who have had cause over the years of her service to seek out the real person behind the business end of the Music Festival.

Kathy took up the role of Treasurer in 1997 and then combined that with the additional responsibility of the Business Manager from 2003. These roles combined enormous personal responsibility for the proper management of the Festival finances with the time-consuming and often stressful task of ensuring that the thousands of audience members received their appropriate tickets. It has involved hours of interaction with schools and parents, and myriad columns of figures – in short, it has required a patient, calm, forgiving and formidably able person to pull it off.

To keep doing it for 20 years says, in itself, a great deal about Kathy; she is the last word in patience, serenity and accuracy, and it is for that reason that she has been such a popular and successful Business Manager.

We thank Kathy, and to be fair, also her husband Keith who has fielded many an anxious telephone call on Kathy’s behalf, for her unquestionable dedication to the role of Business Manager/Treasurer and for her tireless support of the Music Festival. She leaves enormous shoes to fill!