Conductor | Accompanist | Musical Theatre | President | Secretary | Treasurer | Vice President | General Committee | Wardrobe Mistress
Patron – Mrs Claire Manning
Conductor – Mrs Toni Dunstan ALCM
Toni’s family arrived in Cairns in the late 1940s when she was 3 years of age. Her mother taught piano and her father taught mainly violin, but also piano, viola, guitar, banjo, piano accordion, mouth organ – basically anything that made a musical sound! Music has been a very large part of Toni’s life from the very beginning – her earliest memories are attending old time dances as a small child while her mother and father provided the music. Toni is one of 4 children and all did music in some form throughout their childhood and beyond.
Her father was involved in the formation of the CAIRNS JUNIOR CHORAL SOCIETY (then known as The Cairns Juvenile Choir) and he was also the Deputy Conductor. Toni is an original member of the CAIRNS JUNIOR CHORAL SOCIETY and this is her second stint as conductor of the choir.
Toni is a highly respected Piano and Theory Teacher here in Cairns and she conducts Theory/Musicianship Classes before choir practice for all interested choristers – please click here for more information on this.
She has also worked with a number of school choirs over the years, on one occasion travelling to Townsville with both the CAIRNS JUNIOR CHORAL SOCIETY and the Good Council School Choir to compete in the Townsville Eisteddfod.
Toni says her love of children and music is her main motivation along with the sentimental connections mentioned above. Hopefully Toni will continue her involvement with the choir for some years to come.
Toni is also the Musical Director at St Monica’s Cathedral.
Margaret has been the CJCS accompanist for many years and thoroughly enjoys her collaboration with the choir.
Margaret has more than 30 years music experience and whose qualifications include a Bachelor of Music and Post Graduate Diploma (both in Violin Performance) from the Queensland Conservatorium of Music.
Since returning to her hometown of Cairns in 1993, Margaret has been dedicated to her performing and teaching career. She runs a private music studio where she is a teacher of Violin, Viola, Cello and Double Bass to students of all ages. As well as an accomplished violinist, she performs regularly as pianist / organist for local weddings and concerts. She is also sought after for her musical arrangements and has produced over 300 arrangements for not only string quartet, but choral music, string orchestral arrangements and music for brass band and marching band. For 8 years she (alongside her husband Trevor) was co founder and Musical Director of Cairns Showband which, under her baton, participated in tours to Guam, China and most memorably was part of the 2000 piece band which performed at the opening ceremony of the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games.
She is thrilled to continue accompanying the choir and most especially working with Toni Dunstan – who is largely ‘musically’ responsible for where she is today. Life has come full-circle as Toni was her piano and theory teacher throughout her childhood and she still inspires Margaret to this day.
Margaret was very honoured in 2018 to be awarded a Life Member of the CJCS.
President – Mrs Theresa Wallwork
Hi. I have lived in Cairns most of my life. My parents are Brian (dec) and Eva Gibbs. Eva is Toni Dunstan’s sister. For the past 30 years I have been the Catholic Bishop of Cairns’ secretary and Administration Assistant for St Monica’s Cathedral parish.
In 2007 Toni asked me if I would be interested in being the secretary of the Society. Toni nominated me and I was duly elected. I have held this position since 2007 and I enjoy my involvement with all the people associated with the Society. I also enjoy watching the children grow in confidence through their years of involvement with the choir.
I am now a Lifetime Member.
I enjoy singing and I am a member of the St Monica’s Cathedral Choir I am married to John and we have 8 children and 17 grandchildren and 1 great-granddaughter. Four of our grandchildren have been part of the choir over the past years. I hope to be able to continue with my involvement on the committee for some time to come so as to be able to support and encourage our young ones as they continue to produce magnificent sounds to enhance their cultural life and that of the community in which they live.
Secretary – Mrs Marina Dunstan
I became involved in the Cairns Junior Choral Society when my eldest daughter, Isabelle joined the choir in 2013. Isabelle has always loved music and I have seen her confidence grow enormously since joining the choir.
I was born and raised in Cairns and have three children. I am married to Toni’s son, so it was probably inevitable that our family would be part of the choir!
I have been secretary of the choir since 2019 and prior to that I was a committee member. We have previously organised annual choir camps and bi-annual trips to Townsville for the children to compete in the Townsville Eisteddfod.
As a small choir who try to keep their fees at a reasonably affordable rate, we do rely on all of our parents and choir members to assist in fundraising. When our family started in 2013, the toilets for the hall could only be accessed from the outside of the building, there was no kitchen and storage inside was minimal. It was through the hard work of the parents, children and choir committee that we were able to achieve the renovations to date, allowing for a safer and improved performance space for the children.
We look forward to welcoming new and returning choir families in the year ahead.
Treasurer – Angela Tsakissiris
Hello, my name is Angela Tsakissiris and I am the treasurer of the Cairns Junior Choral Society. I have lived in Cairns all my life. In 2006 my daughter Katie joined the choir and that was when I first became a committee member. The following year I took on the task of treasurer and I have been doing it ever since!
I have met a lot of wonderful children over the years and made some lifelong friends. I was extremely honoured to be given my Lifetime Membership in 2017. One of my favourite memories from my time with the CJCS was when the choir won their trophy at the Townsville Eisteddfod for their performance of “When You Believe”. I really enjoy being a part of the Cairns Junior Choral Society.
Vice President – Miss Katie Nicholls
Originally from Cairns, Katie moved to Sydney in 2013 to commence her tertiary studies majoring in a Musical Theatre Degree at the Australian Institute of Music. During this time, Katie was lucky enough to work with some of the most influential musical directors, choreographers, actors, and voice teachers in the current Australian music industry. Katie’s major highlight of life in Sydney was when she had the opportunity to sing a duet with Idina Menzel in the concert hall of the Sydney Opera House (Idina is a major Broadway star but is best known to most families as the voice of Elsa in Frozen). When she was not studying Katie spent her time working as a children’s entertainer and face painter.
Now back in Cairns for the foreseeable future, Katie is currently utilising her performance background by dancing for the local Northern Pride football team as a Wildcats Cheerleader. While growing up in Cairns Katie devoted all of her spare time to dance, music, and drama – including being a proud member of the Cairns Junior Choral Society for seven years! She is very excited to be returning to the CJCS in this new role.
General Committee Members
- Barbara Brown
- Angie Rasmussen
- Theresa Wallwork
- Edith Cummings
- Jarred Rassmussen
Wardrobe Mistress – Mrs Carmel Stoy
Hello, I’m Carmel Stoy and my husband Dick and I retired to Cairns from Balina in 2001. Shortly after arriving in Cairns I joined the St Monica’s Diocesan Choir under the direction of Mrs Toni Dunstan. Over the years Toni and I became quite good friends.
When Toni told me she had taken over as Conductor of The Cairns Junior Choral Society (for the second time), and that the committee needed a Treasurer, I gladly agreed to take on the position for eighteen months. “HA HA HA!!!” I have now been a volunteer for The Cairns Junior Choral Society since about 2005.
As the choir grew, making the uniforms plus costumes for the annual musical virtually became a full time job, which naturally meant I had to hand over the Treasurer’s job to one of the parents. I wouldn’t like to count the number of costumes I have made so far, however, I have thoroughly enjoyed the challenge and I get a real kick out of seeing my creations come to life on the stage.
I now look forward to the time when my own three grandchildren will be able to join the choir!