Griffith-born guitarist Hilary Geddes has won a prestigious music award worth $21,000 for her work in Sydney's jazz scene.
Miss Geddes took out the 2021 Freedman Jazz Fellowship for her work across a wide variety of musical styles including jazz, indie-rock and commissioned art-music. The fellowship will fund a tour for Hilary and her ensemble taking her across the Riverina where she grew up.
Saxophonist and judge Loretta Palmeiro explained the unanimous decision to award the prize to Miss Geddes.
"Hilary is an intelligent and highly imaginative musician, and a sophisticated composer with an effortless flair for story-telling and the communicating of place through her music. Her distinctive voice, her extensive vocabulary as a jazz guitarist and her ability to communicate brilliantly across diverse styles is world class," she explained.
"Our only regret was to be unable to see the finalists perform due to lockdown restrictions."
Miss Geddes and her band, the Hilary Geddes Quartet, will be touring the Riverina, Goulburn and Canberra to perform and run musical workshops.
They'll be partnering with local arts organisations and schools to help bring music to a wider audience, as well as spending five days at the CAD Factory to rehearse and record a whole new album.
"I'm still a bit shocked about it, to be honest," Miss Geddes said.
"We recently released an album called Parkside, a lot of the music on that is based on different places in the Riverina that affected me so it's always been a dream of mine to take the band on a tour of the Riverina to bring that music back home."
Miss Geddes explained her history studying music in Griffith.
"I didn't have a consistent guitar teacher until I moved to Sydney but I did have a fantastic piano teacher, Mrs Dawn Beaumont-Stevens, who really opened my ears to classical piano music and was very patient with me, especially when it came to sight reading," she said.
"I was always interested in improvising and I was always drawn to that element of on-the-spot creation. At Griffith High School, it was always so much fun just being able to jam ... The progression to jazz felt quite natural."
She said she was hoping to kick off the tour mid-2022, and was keen to ensure this wouldn't be the first.
"I owe so much to my family and the community to Griffith. It's always been really supportive, I'm very excited to return home and play some jazz ... I think it would be really special to tour the CAD Factory album in Griffith."
Miss Geddes' work is available on her website hilarygeddes.com and the album 'Parkside' is available on all streaming services.
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