An Irish chartered accountant and a Tasmanian marketer seeking adventure on the ‘mainland’ found their way to Sydney, where they would join the Australian Youth Orchestra (AYO) staff team within months of each other, commencing a decade-long journey.
Kate O’Beirne started at AYO in March 2013, fresh from a role at Icon Communications, taking up the position of Business Manager in the finance team. Four months later, Candice Wise accepted a maternity leave contract in the AYO marketing and communications team after working at fellow ARTS8 organisation NIDA for four years.
Their first AYO concert experience set the bar high. At the Sydney Opera House for the 2013 AYO International Tour, they were captivated by William Barton’s breath-taking entrance through the audience, followed by the iconic Joshua Bell under the baton of Christoph Eschenbach. That unforgettable night is an enduring highlight for both Kate and Candice.
When asked to reflect on their achievements, they laughed at how mundane most would find their lists. However, the true value they found in their roles was what AYO did for them personally. Kate expressed immense gratitude for the breadth of experience she gained and the opportunity to collaborate with industry icons. Candice agreed, adding that the chance to learn, grow, and take on more responsibilities exceeded her expectations, making it an invaluable experience. Throughout their tenure, both progressed through multiple job titles and roles, with Kate having Rossy Yang by her side in the finance team – a partnership she always emphasises as crucial to her time at AYO.
As they reflect on the reasons that kept them at AYO for so long, they unanimously point to the organisation’s meaningful impact on young musicians and, most importantly, the people who make up the AYO family. The participants, parents, donors, alums, volunteers, board members and staff form a vibrant community that made the highs memorable and the challenging times bearable. Navigating through COVID, enduring long stretches away from home, and weathering multiple office moves, the unwavering strength of the AYO team spirit, rooted in genuine camaraderie fostered across the organisation – regardless of role and position – and the support and trust placed in them by leadership, proved invaluable to their longevity.
A decade later, Kate is now an Australian citizen with two children, while the child initiating Candice’s original maternity leave contract is nearly old enough to audition. Fittingly, they attended their final AYO concert as staff members back at the Sydney Opera House in early July, enjoying an extraordinary line-up of Australian artists for the 2023 AYO Winter Season.
This week we farewell Kate and Candice as they embark on their next adventures. Kate is returning to Ireland with her fiancé and two children, and Candice is taking a break before embracing what the future holds.
To Kate and Candice, we extend our gratitude for a decade of dedication, hard work and fun. Your contributions have left an indelible mark on AYO, and we wish you the very best in your exciting journeys ahead.