OUR PATRON PROFESSOR THE HONOURABLE DAME MARIE BASHIR
Since 2002 Professor The Honourable Dame Marie Bashir AD CVO, has honoured the Choir by agreeing to act as our patron.
From March 2001 until October 1st, 2014 Professor Bashir was Governor of New South Wales, much loved and respected by the broadest range of the NSW populace, and the second longest-serving Governor after Sir Roden Cutler.
On 2 July 2007 Professor Bashir was officially welcomed as the University’s seventeenth Chancellor at a ceremony in the Great Hall at which the Choir was delighted to participate by presenting two musical items. Professor Bashir concluded her second term as Chancellor on 15th December 2012.
Professor Bashir was awarded Life Membership of the Choir at its last concert of the 2007 season.
Born in Narrandera in the Riverina district of New South Wales, and educated at Narrandera Public School and Sydney Girls High School, Marie Bashir gained her bachelor degrees in medicine and surgery in 1956 from the University of Sydney.
Professor Bashir taught at the Universities of Sydney and New South Wales, increasingly working with children’s services, psychiatry and mental health services, and indigenous health programs. At the time of her appointment as Governor of New South Wales, she was Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Sydney (a post she took up in 1993); Area Director of Mental Health Services Central Sydney (from 1994); and Senior Consultant to the Aboriginal Medical Service, Redfern (from 1996) and to the Aboriginal Medical Service, Kempsey.
She was appointed an Officer of the Order of Australia in 1988 for her services to child and adolescent health and a Companion of the Order of Australia in 2001. In 2006 she was invested by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II as a Commander of the Royal Victorian Order (CVO), and received the Paul Harris Fellow Award from the Rotary Club of Sydney.
Professor Bashir is the first woman to be appointed Governor of NSW, and the first person of Australian Lebanese descent to be Governor of an Australian State.
Professor Bashir has a strong interest in music and studied violin for many years at the NSW Conservatorium of Music where she experienced the joy of playing in the student orchestra and in chamber music classes. She continues to play a major role in the cultural life of the State, and is also a patron of the Sydney Symphony and Opera Australia.
The Choir is honoured by Professor Bashir’s regular presence at our concerts and by her unstinting support for the Choir. In 2011 the Choir commissioned a work by Music Director Christopher Bowen, Songs of the Heart, that was dedicated to Her Excellency at its World Premiere at the Verbrugghen Hall, Sydney Conservatorium of Music.