Student organist nominated for Opera House performance

Posted 13th November 2017

He only started playing the organ three ago, but the talents of Samuel Thatcher so impressed Higher School Certificate markers that he has been nominated to perform at the HSC Music showcase Encore at Sydney Opera House next February.

Sam, who has just finished his final exams at TAS, said he was delighted to receive the news of his nomination. “I’ll probably find out next month if I’ve made the final selection – and that’s when I’ll start getting really nervous,” Sam said.

“It’s fantastic to have been nominated, but to play a full pipe organ in such an incredible performance space will be something else again.”

When a TAS Old Boy and his wife made a gift to the School of a $100,000 custom-made concert organ three years ago, Sam asked the school’s organist Mr Warwick Dunham if he would teach him to play what is the largest concert instrument in Armidale and the only one of its kind in Australia.

“I was amazed he took to the instrument so well from scratch, and although he had played the piano, his nomination for Encore is an acknowledgement of his application, commitment and ability,” Mr Dunham said.

“It’s an incredible instrument and to have Sam take to it with such enthusiasm is both a testament to its impact on the students at the school generally, and a tribute to the generous donors in particular.”

For the selection panel’s consideration, Sam submitted a video of him playing four pieces, all equivalent to an Associate in Music Australia (AMusA) diploma: ‘Suite Gothique Op.25’ by Leon Boellmann, ‘Litanies’ by Jehan Alain, Handel’s Concerto for Organ & Strings in B-flat Major, and an original composition ‘Fragments’, by Warwick Dunham (organ and percussion) and text by William Edmonstone.

Talented classmate Ziggy Harris has been selected to play violin at Bravissimo, the regional HSC Music showcase at The Glasshouse, Port Macquarie also to be held in February.


Sam Thatcher has been nominated to play the organ at the HSC Music showcase Encore at the Sydney Opera House next year

Ziggy Harris will be performing at the regional HSC Music showcase Bravissimo at Port Macquarie next year