Festive Firebird – Tribute to ballet in Australia and New Zealand

Our concert Festive Firebird was a wonderful celebration of ballet in Australia and New Zealand. We welcomed back Ross Alley as our host and Presenter and thank him sincerely for generously donating his time and expertise to present another magical bespoke concert for us, as ever we welcome his ongoing support. Tait Awardee, Chad Vindin returned as the Musical Director and was our accompanist. Now a Professor at the Royal Academy of Music, we are so pleased that our association with Chad can continue in this way. 

Tait Chairman, Isla Baring OAM with Tait Patron and our special guest artist, Piers Lane AO

Listening to Tait Patron, June Mendoza AO OBE talking about her fascinating life and career, stories about her mother’s work with JCW was truly wonderful…the audience of Tait supporters and friends were hanging on every word. June shared her memories about ballet in the UK and Australia, the many famous dancers she has painted, and of her Mother, Dot Mendoza. 

Dot (Doris) Mendoza OAM – Photo credits courtesy of the Australian Variety Theatre Archive

Dot played for Pavlova, and Borovansky, and for many years was JCW’s company pianist. In the 1960’s she was associated with The Mavis Bramston Show in Australia as scriptwriter, composer and performer, in later life she coached actors in performance and voice production. Among those she taught were Barry Humphries, June Salter, Gordon Chater, John Meillon and Jill Perryman. …a truly fascinating life.

Tait Chairman, Isla Baring OAM with Tait Patron and the evening’s star, June Mendoza AO OBE

We are so very grateful to our dear friend, Leslie Macleod-Miller who so generously invited us into his home and allowed us to mount Wednesday night’s concert in his home in Westminster. Not only that but he provided the Australian wines and the delicious canapes for the after performance reception. Thank you Leslie.

We were delighted to welcome HE the Hon. George Brandis QC, High Commissioner of Australia; and Linda Apelt, Queensland Agent General (soon to leave us I am afraid. We are going to miss her positive support of our work terribly)  as our honoured guests. Their support of our work has been a constant that we can always rely upon.

HE the Hon George Brandis QC, High Commissioner of Australia congratulating Isla for what the Tait has achieved to date

The special guest appearance by one of Australia’s greatest pianists and Tait Patron, Piers Lane AO was a treat for us all Piers has just returned to the UK from Australia which included acclaimed performances with Musica Viva, his continued stewardship of the Sydney International Piano Competition, and ended with performances at the Australian Festival of Chamber Music in Townsville. He played Trois Mouvements de Pétrouchka an arrangement for piano of music from the ballet Petrushka by the composer Igor Stravinsky for the pianist Arthur Rubinstein.


To our Friends, many individual sponsors and loyal supporters: we are so pleased to see your sponsorship growing year-on-year – we can’t do this   without you! This year we hope to increase our awards funding again…thank you for making this happen.

We announced our 2021 Awardees and enjoyed some lovely performances from Lavinnia Rae, cello (NZ) played The Dying Swan; Sarah Prestwidge, soprano (NSW) sang a song by Delibes and the ever poular, ‘I could have danced all night’ from Lerner and Loewes My Fair Lady; and Katherine Allen, soprano (NSW) sang Pie Jesu, Faure & Waltz of my heart, Novello. To see our full list of 2021 awardees click here

Two For The Road

Raising funds for the production and release of Tara Minton & Ed Babar’s new duo album.


Tait Awardee, Jazz harpist and vocalist Tara Minton, and double bassist Ed Babar have been playing and touring together for eight years. Over that time they have developed a rare musical partnership, honed over countless hours rehearsing, travelling throughout the UK and Europe and playing music to audiences great and small. In April 2021 they recorded an intimate duo album titled “Two For The Road”, recorded over three days at Lightship 95 studio at Trinity Buoy Wharf. The record is produced by Geoff Gascoyne and features guest performances by Stan Sulzmann and Lilia Ioncheva. 

The album explores the relationship and interplay between harp, voice and double bass through an honest and articulate presentation of standards from the Great American Songbook and the modern British jazz canon, 

The goal of this campaign is to raise funds to produce CD’s and a music book of arrangements and transcriptions from the record – a valuable resource for students of jazz harp and double bass. 

What We Need & What You Get

Tara and Ed need to raise £5000 for CD and music book production and promotional campaign of “Two For The Road.” £3000 will pay for the production of the physical copies of the album and book, and the remaining £2000 will cover the promotional costs (so that it actually gets listened to!)

This is an opportunity to assist Tara and Ed in releasing their record by pre-ordering copies of the CD, book and music. Please select any number of pre-order packages below – when the album is released in Nov 2020, you will be the first to receive your copies.

Package 1 – CD’s and Downloads of the album for all donations over £15

Package 2 – open donation of your choosing.

The Impact

Tara has received many requests over the years for sheet music of her arrangements, but has always felt it went against the nature of what it means to play jazz music. “Two For The Road” was recorded live, capturing the improvisation and interplay between Tara and Ed in the moment over three intense days in the studio. After much discussion, they have agreed that sheet music of the arrangements and specific notation of what was played in the sessions might provide a valuable resource for students of jazz harp and double bass. 

Risks & Challenges

Both Tara and Ed feel uncomfortable asking for financial assistance, but to promote an album properly and produce high quality CDs and Music Books takes considerable funds up front. It has been a difficult 18 months for artists, that is why Tara and Ed and asking for you to contribute to this campaign now so that presale revenue will fund the production and promotion of the album, CDs and Music Book.

Other Ways You Can Help

Tara and Ed know many of you don’t have any disposable income right now. If you don’t have money to pre-order an album, but still want to get involved, you can help by sharing this campaign and spreading the word. Anything you can give to make this project a reality is received with the deepest gratitude. 

*Tara’s advanced Jazz studies at the Guildhall School of Music & Drama were sponsored by Andrew Loewenthal & Eugenie White