Christopher Nicholls - Chief Executive and Co-Founder
Chris is the co-founder and inaugural Executive Director of the Foundation and Board. After a career of over twenty-five years in the ICT industry, (in business development, account management, and product and services marketing), and having witnessed the amazing part music played in his own son’s transformation in his difficult early life, Christopher decided to give back into the community – through music: as a "symphony for life".
In 2010, he developed, self-funded and ran a major music program for children of the Laverton Community in Melbourne – a forerunner program also influenced by the Venezuelan El Sistema music and social action program. While highly successful it was difficult to sustain and grow in the long term. Convinced of its potential and worth, he embarked on a process to create a better model, with a clear intent to make the program not only worthwhile, but sustainable – Symphony For Life Foundation was born.
Christopher is passionately committed to the implementation and long-term development of Symphony For Life programs across Australia.
"I believe in children and young people completely – their incredible resilience, quest for knowing; need of belonging and in their need to be cherished and encouraged as they grow. With this resolute belief in these children – I know that that if we can give them the incredible opportunities they deserve in their lives, self-determination, the ability to fully express themselves, and to ‘belong’ to something incredibly worthwhile, and creative, they will not only positively transform, but flourish – I completely believe Symphony For Life can do this!”
John Hibbard - Director of Programs and Co-Founder
Co-founder and inaugural Director of the Foundation’s music programs John is a passionate senior music educator with a body of work in classroom practice as well as in forming, teaching and conducting school bands, orchestras and choirs. The building of connectedness and creativity are touchstones to his work, along with innovation.
John is an experienced presenter of large-scale music and education events and interviews live, online and interactive online, including social media. Significant additional experiences include directing performing artists in the creation of hundreds of hours of instructional video for Australian music education.
He is also a mentor to young concert artists, freelance musicians, creatives and music educators as well as young people in other arts such as dance and film.
John is currently planning a book which tells the stories of personal transformation of disadvantaged students who have benefited from an intensive community-based music education.
Prior to his involvement with the Foundation, John was National Manager, Teaching and Learning with Musica Viva Australia, where he spear-headed digital innovation. His work included the exploration and application of current and emerging technologies and innovations in digital media, aimed at improving the effectiveness and reach of music education in schools and communities across Australia.