Wollongong Eisteddfod 2014: Musical flair a family affair

The Moir siblings of Mount Kembla owe their musical genes to the Wollongong Eisteddfod.

It’s a big call to make, but true, considering their musician parents Joel Moir and Sarah Moir (nee Pollard) first laid eyes on each other at the eisteddfod in the early 1990s.

Joel, then 12, was a boy cellist from Helensburgh and Sarah, 11, was a regular champion violin player at the eisteddfod. They competed against each other in a strings section.

The pair started playing together and began dating when Sarah was 18, marrying when she was 20.

On Thursday, their children Heath and Ashleigh continued the family tradition with their debut performance at the eisteddfod.

Their cousin, Georgia Cartlidge from Engadine, also performed in the strings section on Thursday.

Sarah Moir is well known in the Illawarra as part of the String Angels, a group of female violin players who perform shows at galas, corporate and sporting events, playing popular Bach, Mozart and Vivaldi pieces.

Joel still plays the cello but has forged a second career in information technology.

The family has played an integral role in the history of the Wollongong Eisteddfod.

Sarah’s grandmother is Betty Parsons, a pianist who received the Order of Australia in 2003 after many years’ service to the Wollongong Eisteddfod, Wollongong Harmony Chorus and the Wollongong Conservatorium.

Her mother is Chris Wilkins, a piano teacher, and her aunty is Robyn Letham, a life member of the Wollongong Eisteddfod committee.

Sarah said she and Joel were now encouraging their children in music.

‘‘I am so grateful as an adult for the education that my parents gave me with the violin,’’ she said.

‘‘And I wanted my children to have the same experiences and opportunities that I did.

‘‘Obviously [the violin] is still a huge part of my life. It’s been fantastic for me.’’

Ashleigh learns the violin under Liana Bonacccorso and Heath is taught by Tanya Phillips.

Sarah said she was nervous watching her children perform at the Wesley Church on The Mall.

‘‘I don’t get nervous myself when I perform but I can tell you that I was sitting on the edge of my seat and holding my breath watching them perform,’’ she said.

The practice paid off for Sarah’s children.

Ashleigh was awarded first place and Heath second place in the 11 years and under restricted strings solo. 

Heath placed third in the 12 years and under strings solo; cousin Georgia came second in that section.

Heath also placed second in the classical/romantic strings solo 12 years and under.

Strings sections, Wednesday, June 4.

10 years and under strings solo: Cedar-Rose Newman Wombarra, 1; Emily Choi Keiraville, 2; Kyuri Kim Fairy Meadow, equal 2; Lina Lee Berkeley, 3; Ashleigh Moir Mount Kembla, highly commended.

6 years and under strings solo: Lara Arkwright Wollongong, 1; Celeste Carolan Gwynneville, 2.

9 years and under strings solo restricted: Kyuri Kim Fairy Meadow, 1; Amartya Ghose Wollongong, 2; Emily Choi Keiraville, 3.

7 years and under strings solo restricted: Lara Wilson Wollongong, 1; Lily Still Wollongong, 2.

8 years and under strings solo: Charlotte Turnbull Mount Pleasant, 1; Emma Xiaolin Huang Wollongong, 2.

10 years and under classical/romantic strings solo: Ashleigh Moir Mount Kembla, 1; Cedar-Rose Newman Wombarra, 2; Lina Lee Berkeley, 3; Emily Choi Keiraville, highly commended.

14 years and under classical/romantic strings solo: Kristopher Saad Cordeaux Heights, 1; Mitra Ahmadi Pirshahid Wollongong, 2; Cara Crinnion Tarrawanna, 3; Cathleen Li Keiraville, highly commended.

14 years and under guitar/guitar solo:  Simon De Mayo Figtree, 1; Joshua Milliken Corrimal, 2.

13 years and under mini groups three-to-eight players: Moir Cartlidge Mount Kembla, 1; City Central Music School Violin Ensemble Wollongong, highly commended; Conservatorium Junior Guitar Ensemble Keiraville, highly commended.

16 years and under classical/romantic strings solo: Caleb Wong Muttama, 1.

Open age guitar solo: Nicolas Serray Berkeley, 1; Angie Watson Bonnyrigg Heights, highly commended; Immanuel Creagh Dapto, highly commended.

Open age instrumental ensemble duet: Cedar-Rose Newman & Lina Lee Wombarra, 1; 

Ashleigh Moir & Heath Moir Mount Kembla, highly commended: Jessica Knight & Gianna Cheung Wollongong, highly commended. 

13 years and over mini groups three-to-eight players: St Mary Star Of The Sea College Violin Ensemble Wollongong, 1; Clarinet Quintet Wollongong, highly commended;  Conservatorium Guitar Ensemble Keiraville, highly commended.

16 years and under baroque strings solo: Caleb Wong Muttama, 1; Joy Liu Woonona, highly commended.

16 years and under strings solo: Caleb Wong Muttama, 1; Julia Quennell Dapto, 2; Hannah Schymitzek Blackbutt, 3.