About the committee
President: Christine Heald, Ballarat
Christine Heald is a graduate of the Masters of Music (Operatic Performance) - a partnership between the University of Melbourne and the Victorian Opera. During this two year developing artist programme with the Victorian Opera Christine covered main stage roles, performed lead and ensemble roles in various children's operas, and also performed as a concert soloist. She is fortunate enough to have worked with some of Australia's most talented conductors, accompanists, stage directors and singers.
In the classical field Christine has performed widely with choirs and orchestras as a concert soloist. She has over 20 years' experience as a vocalist - the last decade in classical singing - and prior to this as a jazz, musical theatre and contemporary music singer. She is still performing as a classical soloist and is also journeying full circle back to her love of jazz and musical theatre.
Christine has a special interest in vocal health and well-being, inspired and nurtured by her mentor Anna Connolly, and speech therapist Dr Debbie Phyland.
Christine holds a Bachelor of Music (Vocal Performance) and Master of Music (Operatic Performance) from the University of Melbourne. She has many years experience as a vocal instructor both in schools and through her private voice studio the Sing Strong Studio.
Vice President: Laura Poulton, Mildura
Originally from Mildura, Victoria, Laura Poulton (Page) began her professional training at The Melbourne Conservatorium of Music, studying classical singing. After a year, Laura commenced studying at WAAPA (BA Music Theatre).
Whilst at WAAPA, Laura most notably played Lucille Frank in their final production, 'Parade'. Other productions include; the Australian premiere of 'Loving Repeating' (Middle-Aged Gertrude), 'RENT' (Roger’s Mother), '42nd Street' (Swing), 'Jane Eyre' (Jenny), 'Oklahoma' (ensemble), 'Laramie Project' (Sherry Johnson, Zackie Salmon), 'Tales from Ovid' (Juno) and the workshop production of 'A girl named Vincent' with Carmel Dean.
In 2008, Laura was invited to participate in a two-week intensive vocal program (both Classical and Music Theatre) in Germany, under the tuition of Neil Semer and Roberta Cunningham. Laura was also chosen to sing with Rob Guest as part of his Regional tours in 2004 and 2006; she was fortunate enough to be one of the six finalists in the first ‘Rob Guest Endowment’ award in 2009 at Her Majesty’s theatre.
Prior to WAAPA, Laura completed many musical examinations, including AMEB Voice Grade 8 (Honours) and AMEB theory Grade 5.
Upon completion of her BA, Laura decided to come home to Mildura and share the knowledge she had been so lucky to receive whilst away. The LKP Singers formed in early 2010, with Laura teaching over 120 students in that first year. In 2011, Laura completed her Diploma of Education, as well as travelling and singing in Europe. Upon returning home, Laura became the District Vocal Coordinator for the local State high schools and then moved into classroom teaching at St. Joseph’s College, Mildura. Whilst at St. Joseph’s, Laura was the Vocal Coach/Assistant Musical Director for 'Seussical' and the Producer of 'Annie' and 'The Wizard of Oz'. Additionally, Laura has been a choir director since the tender age of 14; having conducted choirs at seven local schools.
Laura began ''Voice Activated' in 2015, shortly after the birth of her son. The studio has gone from strength to strength in a mere three years, with the students enjoying much success. Voice Activated is dear to Laura and she is eternally grateful for what she has/continues to learn; knowing how important the role of a mentor can be on a young and impressionable student.
Secretary and Diversity Officer: Esita Morgan, Melbourne
With a strong background in classical voice and opera, Esita Morgan is a multidisciplinary Artist who has appeared as a guest with a number of companies and chamber music groups, including Victorian Opera, Chunky Move, Royal Melbourne Philharmonic, Melbourne Art Song Collective, Eastmint Studios, Global First Nations Collective, and Arts Centre Melbourne.
Esita is a Producer currently working across City of Melbourne's 'Creative Laneways' project, having previously worked with Arts Centre Melbourne in coordinating Melbourne's Arts Precinct Transformation and development. As First Nations Pasifika, Esita appeared as a guest artist for Yirramboi Festival's city-wide Barring Yannabul event, which saw the exhibition of 40 First Nations artists across Melbourne's CBD. Esita was featured in the short film John Mortensen’s Funeral for Bucharest Shortcut Cinefest, and most recently starred alongside Gary Sweet and John Tui in Paper Champions (2020) which was accepted for MIFF 2020 and is now streaming on Netflix.
Following their 2019 Melbourne Recital Centre x Spirit Level debut, Esita continued experiential compositional work with Melbourne Electronica assembly, Vector Fields, and supported Melbourne group, Grand Salvo, in their 2020 Eastmint Studios concert series. Esita resided on the management board for Melbourne Chamber group, Forest Collective, and performed as guest artist with The Cat Empire for Felix Riebl's 2016 album, Paper Doors. Esita has performed as guest artist with the Melbourne Art Song Collective for Melbourne Recital Centre's 'Local Heroes' concert series from 2013 to 2019.
Passionate about community outreach, Esita volunteers with ABCS & Rice School in Siem Reap, Cambodia, which assists over 250 children and their families through food and education, strengthening community enterprise and supporting the local village areas. Esita travelled to Mooree in 2019, conducting outreach classroom music programs with Kamilaroi community leaders and teachers in co-creating programs which foster, engage, and inspire.
After assisting Arts Centre Melbourne with its 2020 Culture Insights paper, speaking to Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, Esita has undertaken post graduate studies with University of New England with the intention of creating a basis for a course framework which fosters Diversity, Inclusion and Belonging in the workplace.
Assistant Secretary and Official Accompanist:
Isaac Mouskovias, Melbourne
Isaac Mouskovias is an accompanist, repetiteur, and piano technique specialist. As a precocious young pianist, Isaac began working professionally as an accompanist at the age of 14, under the guidance of career accompanist and teacher, Catherine Hall. At 16 and half way through Year 11, Isaac was accepted into a Bachelor of Music, and as such ceased high school study and began his tertiary education. During this study, Isaac continued to work as an accompanist and teach over 40 students per week. In this time, Isaac also passed his Associate Diploma in Piano Performance with a distinction, making him the first pianist in 10 years in South Australia to achieve this grade. Isaac later continued his piano studies with Eleonora Sivan.
In early 2017, Isaac packed up his life in Adelaide and made the move to Melbourne, to expand his career. After a two year stay, Isaac left his tenured accompanist position at Brighton Grammar School, to take on a position as college accompanist and repetiteur at Mentone Girls Grammar School, and to focus on growing in Melbourne as a freelancer. Isaac has also worked as an accompanist and repetiteur at St Michael’s Grammar School and St Margaret’s & Berwick Grammar School.
Being a classical vocalist himself, Isaac has a particular affinity for vocal accompaniment; especially lieder and art song. As a passionate educator of the piano, Isaac aims to create pianists who play with their mind, heart, and body in co-ordination, and through his teachings of the Taubman approach, ensures they play with absolute freedom and beauty of tone.
Isaac also holds a Certificate in Vocal Science, an Associate Diploma in Classical Voice, a Professional Performance Diploma in Piano Accompaniment, a Diploma in the Alexander Technique, two Licentiate diplomas in Piano Accompaniment, and a Master of Arts (Music Performance) majoring in Vocal Accompaniment and Injury Preventative Piano Technique.
Isaac has extensive experience as an offical accompanist for eisteddfods both in Victoria, including the Mildura Eisteddfod, and interstate, including the Broken Hill Eisteddfod. With this experience behind him, Isaac is delighted to come on board as Official Accompanist for the VCE Classical Voice Singing Competition, and assist in the launch of this first year of competition.
Treasurer: Judith Wickerson, Melbourne
Judith Wickerson holds a Bachelor of Social Studies from Trinity College Dublin with a major in Economics and Social Studies. Judith currently works as the Music Secretary at Mentone Girls' Grammar School, having been in the same role prior at St Catherine's School Toorak. Another position of note was her time with Brisbane Boys' College as the financial manager. Judith has a passion for music education and facilitating this, and is delighted to be a part of the committee.
Our mission here at the Classical Voice Singing Competition is to have a committee that is comprised of teachers, musicians, and performers from all over Victoria, representing students from both metropolitan and regional areas of the state.
We strive to have a diverse committee to provide a wide representation of students across Victoria, and provide equal opportunity for all potential competitors.