When Ryman Healthcare Australia CEO Cameron Holland took to the stage at Robert Blackwood Hall for ‘Symphony in a Day’ he was filled with an elation he hadn’t felt in years.
A talented double bassist, Cameron was joined by other community musicians and members of the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra (MSO) in a performance of Dvořák's New World Symphony, led by Chief Conductor Jamie Martin.
“In reality, I haven’t had that much fun and fulfilment in a single day in years,” Cameron said.
- A hat-trick with Her Majesty
- Raelene Boyle village is officially off and running
- Village named after Indigenous star Deborah Cheetham
The performance was a homecoming of sorts for Cameron, who after completing secondary school, found himself choosing between the Melbourne Conservatorium of Music where his musical ability caught the eye of examiners or studying business.
Despite choosing the latter his passion for music has never left him.
“Through high school and university, I played every day in up to 7-10 different orchestras, bands and ensembles,” he said.
“However, work, family and life in general got in the way and the bass gathered dust in the corner of my study for many years.”
An invitation from Maestro Martin to join the ‘Symphony in a Day’ performance provided a new impetus to dust off the bass.
Ryman Healthcare Australia CEO Cameron Holland, MSO Managing Director Dr Sophie Galaise, MSO Chief Conductor Jamie Martin, MSO Co-deputy Chair Di Jameson and Medibank CEO and Symphony in a Day participant David Koczkar.
“The prospect of looking foolish in front of professional musos was sufficient to drive hours of daily practice, and to my surprise I found that it really is like riding a bike and it all came back to me.”
The emotional benefits of music, not only for musicians, but audiences, were invaluable.
“Older people around the world have a much closer relationship to playing and listening to live music,” he said.
“In an era when sitting around the piano in your living room and singing songs after dinner was normal, or where the chief form of entertainment was dancing with friends to live music in the local ballroom, musical performance can bring back a lot of fond memories for older people.
“And the best part is – you’re never too old to play. Some of the best performers I’ve heard recently are residents from our villages!”
Cameron’s participation in the ‘Symphony in a Day’ performance is just one example of Ryman Healthcare’s strong relationship with the MSO.
Ryman has had a Premier Partnership with the MSO since 2019.
The partnership has enabled residents to enjoy virtual performances during COVID-19 lockdowns, and the spin tingling magic of in-person shows both within concert halls and at Ryman villages.
MSO Managing Director Dr Sophie Galaise said the partnership with Ryman had helped to bring music to hundreds of thousands of people.
“During our very first lockdown in April 2020, Ryman presented our ‘virtual choir’ Waltzing Matilda performance for Anzac Day, which was seen by hundreds of thousands of people and picked up by international news broadcasts,” she said.
Yorta Yorta soprano Deborah Cheetham and Ryman Healthcare Victorian Sales and Community Relations Manager Debra Richardson at the Deborah Cheetham Retirement Village naming launch.
Yorta Yorta soprano, composer and educator Deborah Cheetham AO is another wonderful link between Ryman and the MSO.
In 2021 Ryman Healthcare’s Ocean Grove village was named after Deborah Cheetham who is First Nations Creative Chair of the MSO.