Introduction In October 2011 Qwire’s Committee created the category of ‘Life Membership’ for someone who has contributed in an outstanding way to Qwire but is not an active singing member. Katie Nemes was Qwire’s inaugural Life Member.
Katie Nemes Katie was the Qwire's inaugural life member who provided many years of exceptional and unwavering backstage support to the Qwire. She would be events manager one semester, then publicity officer, backstage manager, negotiator, translator, cleaner, counsellor, hotel for performing guests, friend to new member, protector of the Music Team, and always, Qwire's number one fan. That our first life member was someone who never sang a note is a testament to the many important roles she played for more than a decade, supporting the Qwire.
Chris Ashcroft Chris Ashcroft was Qwire’s first Musical Director from 1993-1996 responding to the advert inviting gay men and lesbians to come along and sing. He was a secondary school teacher and father of 4 teenage sons and had only just come out as a gay man. It took a lot of courage to stand up in public in those days but Chris led the Qwire members through some wonderful early times before moving onto become the Assistant Conductor of the San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus and more recently singing with the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Choir.
Leanne Linmore Leanne Linmore was Qwire’s Musical Director from 1996-2009 leading the Qwire at a number of international and national events such as the Gay Games Cutlural Festival in Sydney in 2002 and Various Voices Festival in Paris in 2005. During her time Qwire produced 2 CDs and commissioned the work ‘True’. Leanne led the Qwire as it broadened its horizon performing to wider audiences such as the opening of the Canberra Playhouse Theatre. Leanne often reflects on Qwire as having a strong sense of belonging, family and community.
Karen Wilden Karen Wilden has been both Qwire’s Musical Director (2003 & 2018-2021) and Assistant Musical Director (Various) throughout Qwire’s lifetime. She has conducted the Qwire with emotion and enthusiasm, written and arranged songs and supported learning through recording hundreds of MP3 tracks. Karen went on Qwire trips to the USA (1998), Various Voices Paris (2005), Dublin (2014) and Munich (2018) and Out and Loud Auckland (2016). The Out and Loud Choral Festival Canberra 2019 gave Karen the opportunity to conduct Qwire in our iconic national institutions working with the guest conductor Stephen Leek in the Gala Concert at Llewellyn Hall. Karen has led Qwire through the difficult time of COVID 19 as it impacts on our communities.
Jessica Stewart Jess Stewart joined Qwire in 2013 and by 2014 was accompanying Qwire on piano at almost every rehearsal and at all our performances, including our overseas trips to Dublin, Auckland and Munich. Jess is a talented musician playing keyboard, saxophone and percussion as well as singing and arranging music which she has done for Qwire many times. Jess shares her love of music with unbounded enthusiasm and has taught many of us to read music and to understand notes and rhythm. Her musical creativity and vision have enabled Qwire to expand our music horizons, including our first virtual choir video for ‘World on our Shoulders’. Jess is an integral member of our music team and has continued to support Qwire during COVID lockdowns and challenges.