Pam has an extensive career in leadership roles in Arts and Performance education, and is currently the Director at the Academy of Design. Prior to this she was the founding Director and CEO of the National Institute of Circus Arts, and before that, Head of Visual and Performing Arts at Swinburne University. In these roles she has made major contributions to the Performing Arts in Australia and through collaborative projects, internationally. Pam has provided mentorship to a number of artists and small companies, and throughout her career has developed numerous programs to ensure Indigenous Australians could access training programs in the Arts. She has served as a Ministerial appointment on the Theatre Board of the Australia Council, and on a Peer Advisory panel of Arts Victoria. Other Board appointments have included Founding Company Director of the Next Wave Festival. Pam also works as a Creative Producer, and recently produced a number of circus shows for P&O Cruise ships. She has enjoyed singing in a number of choirs.
Chair since 2015 - Joined 2013
Helen has spent most of her working life in the health care, humanitarian and philanthropic sectors, in Human Resources/People and Culture and Work Health and Safety. Her experience working with people from a range of cultural backgrounds has strengthened her belief that everyone has a story to tell. She has been attending Boîte events since the 1970s, and enjoys the awesome breadth of music and song that is shared and celebrated, and how that builds respect, harmony and community. Helen has had a life-long love of music, starting with folk music of the Anglo Celtic revival in the 1960s, and spent much of her youth enjoying music in pubs and festivals. She has participated in the Melbourne Millennium Chorus, Big Sing in the Desert, as well as various community choirs and singers workshops.
Secretaty - Joined 2019
Trained in Applied Chemistry and Photography, Jorg studied scientific methodology and organisation. He worked for the mining industry and Latrobe University and consulted with organisations including CSIRO. He has been a director of several technology companies and has held committee positions for professional associations including AXAA (Australian X-Ray Analytical Association). He worked as Lab Manager at Casey Station, Antarctica 2011-2012. Jorg is deeply interested and involved in music, visual arts and film.
Treasurer - Joined 2015
Alannah Sheridan worked for more than 35 years for the Victorian Education Department as an Art Teacher. She has since retrained as a silversmith and jeweller and is currently undergoing further training in this field at RMIT University. Alannah is a civil celebrant. She sings with the Melbourne Millennium Chorus and various community choirs, and has been involved in singing related tours to both Georgia and Timor-Leste. Alannah has undertaken various organisational roles at Boite events and is a long-time generous contributor. Alannah brings considerable wisdom to the committee as well as valuable networks of supporters. The child of migrants, she recognises the necessity of multicultural policies and practice in giving a place to community members with diverse backgrounds and experiences.
Mardi is Manager of the North Team and Capacity Building Program at the Victorian Foundation for Survivors of Torture, a non-government organisation providing assistance to refugees who settle in Melbourne. Previous areas of work include child and family welfare, foster care and video production. Mardi was born and grew up in Fiji and has lived in the USA, UK, Japan and Australia. Through her own experiences of migration, Mardi has experienced a wide range of music and seen the capacity of music to build bridges between people and to contribute to individual and community well-being. She has instigated some of The Boîte's projects with refugees where music contributes to the journey of healing. Mardi also loves being part of a community choir.
Therese Virtue taught in the Western suburbs of Melbourne for more than 10 years before working as a singer and then an organiser with The Boîte. She has sung with some of Melbourne's most adventurous folk ensembles including Il Gruppo Folcloristico Italiano and the award-winning Petrunka. She has been involved with The Boîte since 1984, and as Boîte World Music Cafe Co-ordinator for the past 22 years has organised and presented over 1500 intimate concerts featuring artists from 35 communities. For 20 years she has been a presenter of the Boîte World Music radio programs on 3PBS and 3CR. A warm and approachable person with a formidable knowledge of the Australian music scene, she is highly respected by artists from many communities.
Therese Virtue OAM
Violinist Ernie Gruner is one of Melbourne’s most active and versatile musicians. Specialising in klezmer, he has studied in the USA and Europe. He was originally mentored in classical violin by his Vienna Conservatorium-trained Polish grandmother. Ernie also plays styles including Russian, Hungarian, French, Italian, Balkan, Sephardic, Middle-eastern, tango, jazz and improvisation with bands including Bohemian Nights, Saray Iluminado, Klezmeritis, and Bowlines. Ernie has participated in six album launches with The Boite, including the award-winning Fig Tree, as well as as teaching at Daylesford Singer’s Festival, and performing in three Millenium choruses, including Gurrong. As an organiser for Turramurra Music Camp for 25 years, he often liased with The Boite for programming ideas. He works as a musician in Melbourne Playback Theatre Company, as well as theatre productions with Italian, Russian, and Balkan themes, including the popular Café Scheherezade at fortyfivedownstairs. He has appeared on TV’s Spicks and Specks with Klezmeritis and Yalla! He appeared in Seth Jordan’s book World Music: Global Sounds in Australia, which profiled performers who have significantly contributed to Australia’s world music scene. Ernie has more than 75 recording credits.
Nela Trifkovic is a Bosnian-Australian artist whose multi-faceted practice includes the disciplines of music, theatre, performance and installation art. She studied music (composition, piano and voice) at WAAPA and VCA, where she completed her doctoral studies in 2012. A recipient of several grants and scholarships, Nela has performed and presented her research in Australia, Asia, Europe and USA. In the realm of folk music, Bosnian Sevdah and Sephardic Jewish songs are Nela's greatest passion, and have been an integral part of her life and upbringing. These musical genres have inspired the formation of her ensemble SARAY Iluminado, allowing Nela to gather a curious bunch of like-minded musical travellers, and pursue life away from home by finding her home in song.
Iranian born, Persian Kamancheh, Qeychak Alto, singer and song writer Gelareh Pour, studied her BA at the Art University of Tehran's conservatorium and her Masters of Ethnomusicology at The University of Melbourne. She has recently completed her unique academic research on 'The Lives of Iranian Women Singers in Diaspora' at MCM in which she introduces the professional aspects of seven selected Iranian female singers' lives before and after migration. Gelareh has performed in Iran, Tajikistan, through-out Europe and is now based in Melbourne, Australia. Since arriving in Australia she has collaborated with some of the countries most innovative experimental musicians. Gelareh formed her latest ensemble JIVIR in collaboration with Adam Simmons and Brian O'Dwyer, Feb 2015, and has recently released their single track 'Red Silk'. She is currently a contributing member to both Boite World Music Cafe and Victoria's Iranian House Of Music.
Merren worked as a sessional Educator at the National Gallery of Victoria for over 30 years using the collections to enhance students’ written and oral communication skills. She was the Curator of Top Arts for 16 years and managed the Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority’s Season of Excellence Festival working closely with student artists, designers, performers and musicians for over a decade. More recently she studied Auslan and currently works with Deaf artists on monthly public tours at the NGV, and as a sessional teacher at the Victorian College for the Deaf. Merren has sung and danced through many Daylesford Singing Festivals, originally with her children. She has been a member of the Millennium Chorus off and on for years and is now a member of the Ukelele Songbirds - an enthusiastic group of friends who share a love of singing and playing together weekly.
Philip arrived in Melbourne in February 1973 to study a Bachelor of Commerce at the University of Melbourne. He played in a pop band in Malaysia in the 60s. At present, he strums his ukulele and catches up on lost lyrics of the past . He is also trying hard to promote and encourage his singer/songwriter daughter in her musical life. He has have always loved the diverse musical programs and projects of The Boite.