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ASO Celebrates Mother’s Day

5 May 2020
  • Community
by Adelaide Symphony Orchestra
ASO Celebrates Mother’s Day

As we approach Mother’s Day in isolation, it’s particularly poignant to reflect on our mothers, who they are, what we love about them and the special role they play in our lives. We thank them for the support, guidance and advice they give us, as well as all of the mundane everyday things we often take for granted: endless loads of washing and ironing, grocery shopping, daily nurturing of our stomachs and souls, hours of help doing homework and now home-schooling in isolation, not to forget their listening ears, warm hearts and open arms.

ASO mums should be specially commended for putting up with the many hours of instrument practice!

Although we can’t give our mums a giant hug this Mother’s Day, the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra celebrates mums all over the world for the unconditional love they give us every day.

Spend a little time with some of our ASO musicians as they celebrate their mums.

Julia Grenfell, Principal Piccolo

My mum… is Jacqueline, she is caring, gentle, a peacemaker, thoughtful and humble.

Mum is the kindest, gentlest person. She always puts others first and thinks about other people.  She always looks for the good in people and tries to encourage, and she is hugely sympathetic and empathetic, and she’s good at expressing her affection for and appreciation of people.

I love my mum’s… handwritten recipes in my recipe collection book. She got me the recipe folder when I left home to go to university when I first started flatting, and she started it by writing some of her recipes in. I love seeing her handwriting and remembering she took the time to write her recipes, probably worrying about what I might manage to cook when I was a young student!  Some of them I still cook often, like her pastryless quiche recipe.

The most important bit of advice my mum gave to me is…be yourself. That is, be true to yourself and be who you are, don’t try to be anyone else. 

Jackie Newcomb, Contra Bassoon

My mum is…Sunja, she is sunny, inspiring, creative, loving and generous.

Jackie Newcomb and her family Sarah, mum Sunja & Susan

My mum is the most caring, nurturing and kind-hearted person I know. At the same time, she is no walk-over – she has an inner-strength and confidence that I aspire to. I love that when I visit her, I feel so relaxed and rejuvenated by her energy.

I love my mum’s… passion for life – whether it’s painting, swimming at the beach, cooking, learning a new skill or relaxing, Mum gives everything 110%. She lives life to the fullest every minute of every day.

The most important bit of advice my mum gave to me is… If you see dog poo on the ground don’t step in it, walk around it – This philosophy is surprisingly versatile.

Renae Stavely, Associate Principal Oboe

My mum is… Moya Stavely, she and Dad live in Albany Western Australia. She is kind, tolerant, organised, thoughtful, and a good listener.

Renae Stavely with her mum Moya, and her Nana Joy on her 100th Birthday.

This January we celebrated my Grandmother’s (Nana, on my Mum’s side) 100th birthday. It was an occasion to really recognise the wonderful legacy that mothers make. Nana had four children, all of whom had families themselves. Everyone has grown to have successful, meaningful lives. Both my mum and Nana are the sort of people who quietly get things done without much fuss at all. Always in the background, smoothing the way for the family, and both encouraging and kind in a very genuine way.

I love my mum’s…morning and afternoon teas. They are a lovely occasion. Mum is a wonderful baker and is often trying out a new recipe. She doesn’t take shortcuts in cooking, if it’s worth doing, it’s worth doing well!  When our family gets the chance to visit there is always a pantry full of delicious sweets to try. As a mother now, I look back and appreciate that my school lunchbox was wonderful and all homemade. Mum worked too, so this was no easy feat. I don’t remember her ever complaining.

The most important bit of advice my mum gave to me is…work hard, be organised, enjoy simple things and keep fit and healthy.

Lisa Gill, Flute

My mum… is Alison, she is patient, caring, honest, dedicated, and a dog-lover!

Lisa Gill and mum Alison at Normanville Beach

Mum is extremely dedicated towards looking after those that she loves whether they be human family and friends, or those of the four-legged variety. Our household was never without a cat or dog when I was growing up. At times, we had a budgie, fish and turtles as well. Mum currently owns four Papillons (a French breed of small dog) and in early 2018 she bred her first litter of Papillon puppies. Before raising her own family, she was involved in showing dogs and has now returned to that hobby later in life. She is certainly active and passionately involved in the ‘dog world’! Her caring nature also extends to other animals as she has been busy, during recent months, knitting and crocheting pouches and beds for injured/homeless native wildlife due to Australia’s horrific bushfires this last summer.

I love my mum’s… enthusiasm and willingness to look after her grandchildren! She continually offers to pick them up from school and loves to watch them play sport or perform. She’s always keen to see them as much as possible and is very patient with their behaviour. She also demonstrates her patience in teaching them skills like baking or craft.

The most important bit of advice my mum gave to me is…to trust my “mother’s instinct” which I’ve tried to do as much as possible and it’s mostly been successful! Honesty and politeness were also a feature of her parenting when I was growing up.

Belinda Kendall-Smith, Double Bass

My mum…  Dr. Margaret Kendall-Smith is the best mum I could imagine. My mum is smart, kind and has always been incredibly hard-working. All in all, she is a magnificent role model.

Belinda as a child with her mum Margaret

I love my Mum’s… zest for life – she is an extremely positive person. (Also her baked apples are fantastic!).

The most important bit of advice my mum gave me is… to always be true to yourself in all that you do in life. When I started double bass lessons, my mum would sit in on my lessons digesting all the pearls of wisdom that my teacher divulged. Later, I would be at home practising and I would hear my mum shouting out from the kitchen “play closer to the bridge!” That was golden advice (it makes the sound/tone much clearer and stronger as you get higher up the instrument).

I wish my Mum had told me… how expensive double basses can be!!!!!!

Ewen Bramble, Associate Principal Cello

My mum… is Lynley, she is patient, warm, caring, tireless and passionate.

Ewen with his mum Lynley

Whether it’s her own five children or the children she nurtures as a career music teacher, she demonstrates unwavering care and patience. I have always admired how giving she is of her time, regardless of who it is for. Sleeping has always seemed her lowest priority.

I love my mum’s… cooking. Living interstate from my mum I don’t see much of her cooking anymore sadly, but Christmas lunch is mum’s domain and I wouldn’t change that meal for anything.

The most important bit of advice my mum gave me … I can’t recall any specific verbal advice, it was more gentle encouragement to work hard. I did and still do my best to follow her example of being kind but also to stand up for what’s important.

Ann Axelby, Violin

My mum…. was Evelyn Axelby, born in Brisbane from recent immigrants, an Irish mother and a Scottish father. Unfortunately, she died in 1996 and I miss her.

Ann’s mum Evelyn

Evelyn was kind, calm, religious, spoiling and smart.She put up with a lot! In particular, my father was high maintenance in that he liked to be the centre of attention however mum calmly earned praise for both her personality and her musical prowess.

Mum played jazz piano…I’m so envious…as she was a great improviser and I even have a vinyl recording of her playing country fiddle as well. Mum also played classical violin with a radio orchestra in Queensland which was the forerunner of the QSO (apparently for any live radio broadcasts after 6pm they had to wear long black formal gowns!) and she also played the piano accordion and the harp. I have her harp, albeit in poor condition now, in my living room.

An example of the memorable advice she gave to me is… the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach… (but isn’t that pretty true of everyone?)

Judy Coombe, Violin

My mum… Joan sadly passed away 5 years ago at the age of 87. Mum was always very supportive.

Growing up during the depression, she began fulltime work as a secretary at the age of 15. Her extra income was needed at home. Hard times taught her how to live frugally and within a tight budget. Married at 18 to the boy next door (literally), she managed the household budget on a shoestring. Moving ahead a few years to slightly easier times and 2 children, she always encouraged my brother and me to work hard at school and take every opportunity to further our education. She patiently took me to so many violin lessons over the years as well as orchestral rehearsals.

When I was a kid, I loved my mum’s …regular Sunday lunchtime roast lamb with veggies and homemade mint sauce and gravy, quite often followed by chocolate self-saucing pudding or a lemon meringue pie, always delicious and comforting.

Sherri Handley, Cello

My Mum is… Nan White is 91 years old, she is loving, protective, selfless, organised and cheeky.

Sherri (centre back) celebrating Mothers Day with her family

Before Mum’s battle with dementia, her best attributes were her unending devotion to her family and her desire to always do the right thing for others.

I loved (and now miss) my mum’s…cooking!! She was a wonderful cook and I remember even when I was little looking forward to Fridays which were baking days where she would cook up goodies for the weekend ahead.

I wish my mum had told me… more about her family history and stories of her earlier life.

Joshua Oates, Principal Oboe

My mum is…Steph, she is inspiring, loving, empathetic, hardworking and fun.

Joshua with his mum Steph

I love my mum’s… unwavering support and encouragement of me through thick and thin, and her resilience – she taught me to always try and always get back up. Her seemingly boundless unconditional love for family is something she’s really instilled in me, as well as her absolute passion and commitment to her work.

I also love my mum’s obsession with gardening – because she gave it to me and now the garden is a special place for us to spend quality time together.

The most important bit of advice my mum gave to me is…pretty simple. As I was growing up, she always said to me ‘Lead by example – treat other people the way you want to be treated and respect and value everyone equally’.

I wish my mum had told me…that eating chocolate, in fact, doesn’t solve the world’s problems – it hasn’t stopped me from trying, though!

Mitchell Berick, Principal Bass Clarinet

My mum is…Stephanie. She is fun, talkative, supportive, loving, and loud. Mum is very social and friendly, so not surprisingly she’s having a hard time with this isolation period.

Mitchell Berick with mum Stephanie and daughter Poppy

Mum brought us up with a love of music and especially for me, classical music. She always had music on at home and in the car and also took us to Musica Viva chamber music concerts with visiting groups when we were young and so I think my love of music grew out of that. She also had an amazing record collection with some truly great and historic recordings. The more I learned about music the more I realized what a great collection it was. Mum also tirelessly took my sister and me to music lessons and band and orchestra rehearsals.

I love my mum’s… Potato bake. It’s so good!

The most important bit of advice my mum gave to me is… it sounds clichéd but Mum always said to be yourself and not to worry about what anyone else thinks. I think I took it!

David Sharp, Cello

My mum is… Beth, she is funny, smart, generous, positive, and energetic.

Although into her 70s now, she is showing no signs of slowing down. My mum is a very energetic and independent woman. She has a real love of travel and regularly takes herself off to Europe, hoping, I think, to eventually see it all. COVID-19 has unfortunately grounded her for now, but I’m sure she is making plans for when the travel ban is lifted.

I love my mum’s… sports updates on the NZ teams, although occasionally she does get the time zone calculation wrong, and the update comes in the middle of the night.

The most important bit of advice my mum gave to me is… forgiveness is easier to obtain than permission. It’s good advice, if you have the gumption for it.

Growing up my mum was always listening to… anything and everything. Mum quite regularly played in pit orchestras, so light opera – particularly Gilbert and Sullivan was a bit of a staple, but our record collection ran pretty much the entire gamut, from J.S.Bach to Shirley Bassey and everything in between.

Anna Hansen, Viola

My mum is… Jill, she is generous, caring, loving, selfless and compassionate. All of these words form the attributes I admire best about my mother.

Anna as a baby with her mum Jill

I love my mum’s…cooking, especially her ability to improvise and make an incredible meal out of what seems like a few ingredients. The skills she has taught me are coming in handy right now when trying to create a decent meal from the mystery ingredients in our pantry!

How did your mum inspire your love of music? She started by teaching me piano, and when she realised I really loved it, she quickly found me a teacher who could teach me more seriously. When I wanted to learn violin, she found me a teacher, drove me to lessons, orchestra rehearsals and encouraged me to practise. Driving me to lessons as I grew older was sheer dedication as we lived in rural NSW and I had lessons and youth orchestra in Sydney! This basically wiped out Saturdays altogether. We would leave home around 8am, and get home at about 7pm that night. 

Growing up my mum was always listening to… classical music. Lots of symphonies, chamber music, concertos. Christmas was ALWAYS accompanied by the Choir of Kings College Cambridge, and still is!

Justin Julian, Associate Principal Viola

My mum is… Diana, she is creative, generous, caring, resilient and warm.

My mum has a creative energy that could never be extinguished, and always has artistic projects on the go, whether drawing, painting, making pottery or sewing. She is also such an open, warm and generous person, and always sees good as inherent in others. My mum is also a formidable cook and definitely shows her love through food. When we meet up, even if it’s just a quick stop at a café, I almost always find myself bringing something that she has cooked home with me!

I love my mum’s… cooking, she has a seemingly never-ending amount of recipes, and can make anything from scratch, bakes incredible cakes, and relentlessly makes delicious meals. I find myself trying to emulate her work in my own kitchen (with varying levels of success!)

The most important bit of advice my mum gave to me is… that ‘what you put into something is what you get out of it’. As a result, I’ve always tried to give my all to whatever I’m doing, usually to a very positive effect.

I wish my mum had told me… more often to slow down and take a break. I’ve never been particularly good at taking it easy and relaxing, and need all the help I can get! The most difficult and strange thing about living in isolation with no work has been suddenly having a completely empty schedule…

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