My Story

 
 

Learning music

All seven children in our family learned to play the piano. Later on many also took up a second instrument as well. It was our parents’ firm belief that music is a crucial part of everybody's education, and I agree whole-heartedly with them.

Joining a choir

I joined a choir at ten, singing a solo in my first ever opera at 12 in the opera ‘Tosca’ for the Australian Opera, in 1974 in the Princess Theatre in Melbourne.


Later, when my voice had broken, I was asked to conduct the boys choir. We even won a choral competition once when I was conducting at the Dandenong Eisteddfod!


When the opera came to town


When I was twelve, boys from our choir were employed in the Australian Opera season in Melbourne. I was among those chosen for 'Tosca' and was also chosen to sing the opening solo in act three, the shepherd boy. Being involved in the staging of an opera at such an impressionable age had a very memorable effect on me and for years I wondered whether or not I would ever be an opera singer. To this day I remember the experience and the very thrilling production of 'Tosca' in 1974 and it still remains my favourite opera. It was then that I dreamed of performing Scarpia one day...


Family

My father, born in the Netherlands, is a music-lover. One of his early favourites was the opera 'La traviata'. He met and married my mother, another lover of music, in New Zealand and then started up a business in Australia.

Two of us have become professionals in the music field: I am an opera singer and my sister, Sarah de Jong, is a professional composer. I am living in Melbourne working as a freelance opera soloist and teacher and Sarah works as a freelance composer from Sydney, Australia.

All the others have been sure to give music lessons to their children, many of whom show great promise.

Pursuing music

Through all this I have struggled to achieve a standard of performance to be proud of.

Clearly one cannot do this alone and I acknowledge the love and support given to me by my parents.

My own family

In March 1998 my first daughter Alexandra was born. Since that day she has brought delight into our lives and continues to do so.

On the 17th of July 2000 my son Christopher was born. He is a very interesting boy and a constant joy.

Music Director

In 2007 I was thrilled to be appointed the Musical Director of the Melbourne Welsh Male Choir. The work is exciting and very rewarding.

I love being a singer and conductor all the thrills and challenges that they bring. Each day is different and each job has its rewards.

This is my story

Mary and Ben de Jong - 1996

(Photo - Fred Bakker)

Sarah de Jong

Arts Centre Spire,

Melbourne

(Photo - THE AGE)