Byline: Musica Viva

A Musica Viva subscriber of nearly 50 years – as well as long-term supporter, Committee Member, volunteer, fundraiser, and now Custodian – Helen Vorrath shared her thoughts on what Musica Viva means to her.

How long have you been associated with Musica Viva and what brought you to the organisation initially?

I attended a high school where music was taken very seriously. I sang in choirs, learned clarinet, played in the school orchestra and in chamber groups. At the time I took it all for granted, but I know now how lucky I was.

While at school I also became a concert-goer, through the Youth Concert series at the Melbourne Town Hall. After a brief sidestep into rock, folk and jazz, I returned to the classical music world when I lived in London for three years. On returning to Australia I lived in Geelong, where the concert scene looked rather sparse after the riches of London. I decided it was worth regular trips to Melbourne to get a chamber music fix and became a Musica Viva subscriber in 1973.

Since then I have subscribed every year, usually buying a double subscription. The other seat has been occupied at different times by husbands (two of), and various friends and relatives. Currently my sister-in-law is a most welcome and appreciative companion. We go to the Melbourne Morning Masters as well as to the Gold Series evening concerts.

What involvement have you had with Musica Viva over the years?

I am not sure when I began donating to Musica Viva. I can’t remember whether I just wanted to support chamber music generally, or whether I was already aware of the wonderful Musica Viva in Schools (MVIS) program. One day Peter Burch, then Victorian Manager, invited me to participate in a focus group. I remember telling other members of the group that I had stopped asking to have my annual donation listed as “Anonymous” because I wanted people to know that you didn’t have to be super-rich to be a patron of the arts.

Since then I’ve gradually been drawn further into the Musica Viva family. I have been on the Victorian Committee for several years, worked occasionally as a volunteer in the office, participated in fund-raising events, and participated in the Melbourne International Chamber Music Competition as a volunteer.

What is meaningful to you about the work that Musica Viva does?

I have spent years of my life working with and for not-for-profit organisations. I support a number both financially and as a volunteer. Musica Viva stands out as an organisation that is highly efficient and which achieves an enormous amount with relatively small staff numbers. Having now met and worked with many of them, I realise that the staff find it a rewarding place to work and put in enormous time and effort to keep it that way. As a volunteer and donor I feel valued. I’m rewarded with the satisfaction of knowing that I’m contributing to an organisation that is thriving and growing, and constantly providing amazing concert experiences. New initiatives like the Strike a Chord chamber music competition for high school students have further inspired me to continue or increase my support.

Why have you made the decision to leave a gift in your will to Musica Viva?

Musica Viva is in my will so that the support I am offering now will continue even when I’m no longer here to enjoy the results. Most of all, it means that the MVIS program will bring more live music into more schools, giving more children the opportunities that I was so fortunate to have in my youth.

If you, too, are interested in support the work of Musica Viva or wish to find out more about leaving a legacy gift in your will, please contact Jaci Maddern, Senior Development Manager at or on (03) 9645 5088