Wayne McDonnell - Senior Matters Saturday 22 December 2018.
It's a sad day for Ipswich as the final note played and the curtain came down on the life of one of this city's most talented music
teachers. Gemma D'Aubbonnet who lost her battle with cancer at 9.10am last Saturday.
At a very young age Gemma was appointed by the Conservatorium of New South Wales to teach music while studying for her
Performance degree. She pioneered the Suzuki Method of teaching and in 1984 commenced a 14 year history of the Suzuki
workshops, labelled as one of the top five in the Pan Pacific Region. During that time students and teachers from around the
world travelled to Ipswich during Easter and packed the TAFE at Bundamba.
Gemma, together with her husband Peter, convened the first live-in summer school for the Suzuki method -Queensland at the
Griffith University. She began tours of Europe and Japan in 1987 where her students played for the United Nations, Japan and
Australia often appearing on world television.
Bronwen Cottman, the Director/Teacher at Jacaranda Street Community Preschool and Kindergarten prior to her retirement,
recalls Gemma often bought her boys to the kindergarten with their violins and played for the children. Such was Gemma's
passion for giving children access to music that she would do such things.
Her passion for music didn't end with those achievements. They were not anywhere near enough for a visionary Gemma. Her
underlying dream was to see Ipswich have its own Professional Orchestra - somewhere her best and brightest students could
play and be paid.
Gemma's dream was realised in 2004 when, with the assistance of the late Major Derek Taylor OBE, she formed the Ipswich
City Orchestra. It was a long haul getting to this stage for both Gemma and her husband Peter. Unfortunately, the hurdles were
still in front of them especially with funding the orchestra. They often used their own money investing in the orchestra to keep
the dream alive. In 2016 Gemma made an appeal to the public to raise $100,000 to keep the orchestra going. This culminated
in the Ipswich City Orchestra performing “Souvenirs d'Espana - Memories of Spain” in May 2017.
Gemma's contribution to the musical education of hundreds of young Ipswich children through the Suzuki School of Music, the
Ipswich City Orchestra and her private music teaching is exceptional. Many students gained a musical education because of
Gemma. But her passion didn't rest there. She dreamt of much more for her beloved city of Ipswich and her drive in this
direction lasted to her death.
Gemma's family always supported her in these endeavours. She was the proud mother of two sons - Julian and Jean Paul both
of whom have musical talent. Her husband Peter was her 'rock'. He was the person who supported her and worked tirelessly
behind the scenes helping Gemma achieve her dreams.
Her legacy to Ipswich is the Ipswich City Orchestra. As a community we must find ways to keep this orchestra, Gemma's
dream and passion going.
In honour of Gemma D'Aubbonnet a memorial concert titled 'Festival Gala Romance of the Movies' is to be staged on 27th
April 2019 and Peter is looking for donations to raise funds for this concert.
If you can help please phone Peter on 0438 412 907.
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IPSWICH CITY SYMPHONY
Founded in 2004, Ipswich City
Symphony is a regional, professional
orchestra situated in the City of
Ipswich, Queensland, Australia.
COMING EVENTS 2019
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© copyright Ipswich City Symphony 2018 ABN 84 852 671 758