The Huon Folk Inc Committee and Managment for the 2018/19 financial year are:
Anne Foale - President
Anne Foale has been very proud supporter and lover of the CFF for many years. She has volunteered at the festival for the past 7 years and attended several festivals prior to that. Anne grew up in Cygnet and although she now lives in Hobart, she still presumes to call herself a local,having travelled to Cygnet 5 or 6 days every week during her role as the Principal of St James Catholic College. The facilities of SJCC are used extensively by the Festival and in her term as Principal, Anne has positively and actively encouraged the growing partnership between the Festival and the College. Anne is a passionate Educator having been involved in teaching all her life and she enjoys seeing the school in which she works being closely integrated with community events and traditions. Anne is married to Rob and has a son and a daughter, a son-in-law and two gorgeous granddaughters. Anne lives in Hobart.
Vallorie Hodges - Vice President
Vallorie Hodges relocated from the west coast of the US to Tasmania in early 2014 to take up a position with the University of Tasmania at the Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies as the Site Diving Officer. Her career in Scientific Diving has been extensive, from early research activities in Southeast Queensland, to opening the Alaska SeaLife Center, to creating a prodigious volunteer and scientific diving program on the Oregon Coast.
She served on the Board of Directors for the American Academy of Underwater Sciences (the national standards-setting body in the US) for three terms and the Association of Dive Program Administrators for several years. She was inducted into the Women Divers' Hall of Fame in 2005, and has received numerous accolades and awards recognising her contribution to the scientific diving community. Her busy diving career has been grounded and balanced by her passion for music, her avocation as a musician, and assisting her partner in their recording studio.
Her career as a musician began in 2003 when she joined her partner Gary in his band, first as a vocalist and later playing electric bass, and occasionally percussion. Together they have performed up and down the west coast of the US and now in Tasmania, at festivals, weddings, concerts and special events, and produced numerous recordings and albums for acts that range from aspiring young talents to world class performers. Vallorie’s passion for music, organisational skills and experience working with industry boards and committees will be put to work as this year’s President of the Huon Folk Inc Committee. Vallorie lives in the Huon Valley.
Michael Thomsen - Treasurer
Michael is a qualified medical herbalist working primarily in research and cancer support. He has written a number of scientific publications and contributed to several books and journals in this field.
Michael has for many years also built websites especially for musicians and artists and creates the visuals integral to the performances of Australian folk group Silkweed’s multi-media shows.
Michael is a long-term and regular supporter of folk and community music events. Michael lives in Hobart.
Robert Durand - Secretary and Community Liaison
Robert has a long history of working with community groups. Serving as committee member, secretary, treasurer and occasionally President in a wide range of community based organisations. These include providing support for unemployed youth, environmental restoration and education, film and photography, community promotions and indigenous arts. Robert was attracted to the role of committee member for the Cygnet Folk Festival after learning about the wide community involvement in staging the Festival. Robert lives in Cygnet.
Sally Port - Committee member and Community Liaison
Sally and her husband moved to Cygnet recently and they are loving living in this beautiful environment. Sally recently retired from teaching kindergarten in a Steiner school. She is also a marriage celebrant.
Sally has been a member of Nourish Women's choir since its inception six years ago. She has enjoyed attending and more recently volunteering and performing at the Cygnet Folk Festival and is very happy to be supporting what she sees as being a truly wonderful cultural, community event. Sally lives in Cygnet
Bonnie Ferguson - Committee member
Bonnie grew up in the north east of Tasmania and relocated to Hobart to study Marine and Antarctic Science at the University of Tasmania.
She has been attending the Cygnet Folk Festival as long as she can remember and has enjoyed the music and dancing ever since. This led her to apply as a volunteer at the festival, which she has continued for the last four years. Bonnie has also volunteered at other festivals like The Falls Festival and A festival called Panama. She is very passionate about the local community and even received the Enriching our Community Performance Award for her musical talents in the north east. Bonnie now works for the local honey company Miellerie and sells organic vegetables at the Salamanca market most Saturdays.
She is young and enthusiastic about the future of the festival and hopes to bring energy and youth to the committee, alongside her fellow committee members. Bonnie lives in Hobart.
Heather Cuthbertson - Committee member
Heather and her family moved to Tasmania in 1995 and have lived in the Huon Valley for approximately 16 years.
Heather has more than 30 years’ experience working in the government and non-government sectors delivering services, developing policy and managing grant programs. Heather also spent eight years working in local government in community development and community participation, both in Tasmania and Queensland.
Heather is a member of the McMullen Abbeyfield House (Huon Valley) Management Committee and the Huon LINC Advisory Board, and is also working full-time.
Heather is a lover of all kinds of music and in her words “dabbles in playing a number of instruments, although none of them particularly well”. In her spare time, she spends as much of it as she can with her three beautiful grandsons.
Heather has been a volunteer billet for the Cygnet Folk Festival for the last seven years and attending the festival for 20 years.
Michael Bentley - Committee member
Michael chose to move from Adelaide to Hobart in 2011. Tasmania, for him, offers the best scale for living and working well. Michael has two border collies and is often out walking in the city and on the mountain.
Michael is a long-time lover of folk music in its broadest sense. In Adelaide he supported small folk venues as well as going to the large festivals such as WOMADelaide. In Hobart, he seeks out good music whenever he can.
Michael’s work is in public health and health services research, where he has developed skills in project management. His research interests are in social complexity of and ecological approaches to health, equity and the environment. Michael may not have the answers but he asks the right questions.
Raymon Mainsbridge - Committee member and Public Officer
Ray began his professional career as a teacher of English and History in high schools in regional New South Wales. He later switched to the law and worked for thirty two years in a large national law firm, mostly in Sydney but also in Perth, specialising in commercial litigation. In more recent years, as leader of his firm's pro bono and corporate responsibility programme, he has advised many not for profit and community organisations on a range of issues, from incorporation and governance to employee disputes.
Ray has no musical ability of any kind (although he does have a son who is a professional singer and actor based in New York). Notwithstanding this, he loves listening to music of most kinds and going to live performances. He has been a regular and enthusiastic attendee of the Folk Festival over the past five years, ever since he and his wife Anne bought a property just out of Cygnet and started the slow process of moving there from Sydney.
Michael Russell - Committee member
Michael and his wife moved from the Blue Mountains to the valley in December 2016. They have bought a small acreage on which they are growing vegetables alongside a couple of horses and three sheep.
They are loving the Huon Valley and can’t understand why they didn’t make the move years ago!
Michael comes with a background in managing community events. He believes passionately in community events and the important role they play. He has joined the Cygnet Folk Festival committee because he wants to use his experience and contribute to his new community and because he loves music!
Bridget Binnie - Festival Coordinator
Bridget lives in Franklin and has worked in the arts for 15 years as a professional performing artist, arts administrator, festival and event producer, artistic director and publicist.
She is an established independent performing artist working mainly in the areas of contemporary dance, physical theatre and circus.
Bridget has worked in arts administration and management for; SPACE at the Salamanca Arts Centre, Second Echo Ensemble, The MOVES Festival, Festival of Voices, Taste of Tasmania, Adelaide Fringe Festival, Marshmelody Festival, Jackeys Marsh Forest Festival and the International Tasmania Circus Festival.
She regularly works freelance at festivals across Tasmania in the areas of stage and venue management, artist liaison, operations, logistics, event coordinator and site crew.
Bridget is passionate about making community events and has a strong love of music.
She currently performs with the Second Echo Ensemble, as well as working at Wide Angle Tasmania and at the Franklin Palais Theatre.
Erin Collins - Artistic Director
Erin is a musician and writer whose work has been showcased at performances and festivals as diverse as the National, Cygnet, Tamar Valley, Maldon and Majors Creek Folk Festivals, Ten Days on the Island, Junction Arts Festival, Queenstown Heritage and Arts Festival, the Wooden Boat Festival and From France to Freycinet, in addition to Regional arts and other touring. She has been attending the Cygnet Folk Festival, predominantly as a performer since the mid 1990s.
Over the past two decades Erin has qualified in courses, masterclasses and seminars in event management and festivals and combines her experience of performance with management of festivals and events.
Erin has worked as perfromer, producer, company manager and musical director for shows during Ten Days on the Island, presented for festivals as Band Manager for Australian Folk group Silkweed, presented for “Mostly Folk” on Hobart FM community radio and is the Tasmanian producer of the Woodford Folk Festival initiative, Festival of Small Halls in partnership with the Cygnet Folk Festival.
Erin has steered the artistic vision as Artistic Director for the Cygnet Folk Festival since 2011. Erin lives in Hobart.