Helen looks Bach with pride

Helen Edmonds.
Helen Edmonds.

On January 26, the Claremont resident was awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) for her lifelong service to the community through the arts.

Mrs Edmonds said receiving the ‘tremendous honour’ on Australia Day would not distract her from playing Advance Australia Fair at St Margaret’s Anglican Church in Nedlands, where she has been the organist since 1976.

‘I no longer get nervous before a performance, however I do remember when I was young and I played in the Burt Hall,’ she said.

‘It was a very high stage, and I remember thinking, ‘Oh dear, I wish my shoes had not creaked’, but my wonderful teacher was there and she gave me confidence.

‘I always had the most marvellous teachers; she was the perfect lady and an accomplished musician herself. She inspired me greatly.’

Mrs Edmonds’ husband of more than 50 years, Peter, said he and daughter Jocelyn had a very enjoyable time preparing the OAM nomination.

‘We went through her devotion to music education privately and at Guildford Grammar School and Methodist Ladies’ College, as well as her involvement in community music in a fairly wide sense through choirs, small performance groups and music theatre,’ Mr Edmonds said.

‘Music is a very significant part of Helen’s life ” the kitchen radio is practically rusted on to Classic FM, so that is a pretty good indication.’

Mr Edmonds said his wife was a ‘western suburbs girl through and through’ .

‘Both Helen’s parents were stalwarts of the University of WA Choral Society, and now Helen is a life member there,’ he said.

Mrs Edmonds said she was always very happy when making music.

‘There was a piano in my house growing up and my mother used to sing and would sometimes let me tag along to the Oriana Choir in Dalkeith,’ she said.

‘My favourite composer remains Johann Sebastian Bach. Bach always makes me cry.’