The Dandenong Ranges Music Council Inc. serves the community of the Dandenong Ranges and Yarra Valley in the Shire of Yarra Ranges about an hour's drive east of Melbourne, the capital city of Victoria, Australia.

Formed in 1979 by a group of people keen to bring music to the community, the DRMC is now considered to be a model for community music organisations throughout Australia. Go here for a history of the organisation.

The DRMC has made a major contribution to music in the community by providing learning and performance opportunities for musicians of all ages and abilities. Quite a number of members have gone on to become professional performing musicians, teachers, or stage management professionals.

Statement of Purpose and Rules

The Dandenong Ranges Music Council Inc.'s formal Statement of Purpose and Rules required under its incorporation can be read here.

Mission Statement

The Dandenong Ranges Music Council Inc creates and connects communities for people of all ages and abilities through music.

Strategic Plan

Strategic Plan 2016-2019

DRMC International Network

DRMC International Network

Annual Report

Annual Report 2015

Board Structure

Board members may be contacted through the DRMC office on 9754 6566. The current Board members are:

  • Ray Yates - Chair
  • Anne Mallaby - Deputy Chair
  • Helen Willshire - Secretary
  • Kim Engelke - Assistant Secretary
  • Bev McAlister - Treasurer
  • Vinko Rizmal - International Relations
  • Peter Hurley – Creative Development Advisor
  • Heather Maxwell - Members & Ensembles Representative
  • Ted O'Hare - Disability Arts
  • Claire Ransome - Community Representative

Who's Who


Professor Robin Batterham AO, BE, PhD, LLD (Hon. Melb), AMusA (2008-current)

Professor Batterham is an eminent scientist and was Chief Scientist to the Federal Government from 1999 to 2005. He is organist at Scot’s Church in Melbourne and has a deep and diverse interest in music.

Mr Jess Exiner (2010-current)

As a former Board Member of the DRMC and resident of Sherbrooke, Jess has been a keen supporter of the DRMC for many years. Jess has donated many musical instruments, a piano and a pianola to the DRMC in recent times. Jess funds the annual Robert Exiner Recorder Celebration and other one-off programs. He now resides on a farm in Fern Hill, Victoria.


The Hon. WA Borthwick AM (1979-2001)

A one time resident of Kalorama, was the member for Monbulk in the Victorian Legislative Assembly. He was also Deputy Premier and Minister for Health. Chaired the inaugural meeting of the DRMC. Bill Borthwick died in 2001, and a Young Musicians Encouragement Prize is offered annually in his memory.

Emeritus Professor Sir Joseph Burke KBE (1980-92)

A notable professor of Fine Arts at Melbourne University. He was created a Knight in 1980, and offered much support to the DRMC in its early years. Sir Joseph passed away in 1992.


Ray YatesRay Yates ()

Background - Music Education, School Principal, Former Shire Councillor - 21 years, Shire President - 2 yrs, Justice of the Peace. Special interest - keeping music in the Australian curriculum.

Ray has been awarded 'Honarary Freedom of the Shire' (one of only five people to receive the award) in recognition of his services to the community. He is an inaugural member of the Upper Yarra and Dandenongs Planning Authority and Foundation Executive Member of the Local Government Federal Council. He is a passionate believer in music as part of the National Curriculum. Ray was a key driver in the formation of Library service and is closely connected with Murrundindi, Chief of the Wurundjeri tribe, who help him with design suggestions for the Monbulk Living & Learning Centre.


Bev McAlisterBev McAlister ()

DRMC Community Music Coordinator - Bev was a guiding force in the original idea of the Dandenong Ranges Music Council and continues to be so. She has received many accolades for her tireless work in community music including two awards from the Shire of Sherbrooke for her services to community music, an OAM in the Australia Day Honours List in 1994 and a Centenary Medal in 2003. Bev is an honorary life member of the Music Council of Australia and continues to be an advocate for school and community music.

Bev is a fourth generation Dandenong Ranges resident.  Her family's interests have always been involved with local community participation.  Her special interest areas are building a volunteer base, media lobbyist, community representation, community music, health and well-being. She has an interest in facilitating new Australian works for schools and community ensembles and building partnerships between professional artists, music educators and the community.


Vinko RizmalVinko Rizmal ()

Vinko is a long-time resident of The Patch and Monbulk. He emigrated with his wife, Eli, from Slovenia and brings with him a great wealth of experience in the cultural traditions of his country. Vinko was also an active singer and performer and has performed in many local musical productions in the past. He is a frequent visitor to Slovenia and regularly organises cultural activities.

Vinko was instrumental in the incredibly successful Old Vine Project, which involved the gifting of a graft of the oldest grape vine in the world from the Mayor of Maribor to the Shire of Yarra Ranges. The Old Vine project also involved yearly cultural festivals held in the Yarra Ranges, which also drew the participation of many international as well as local musical and cultural performers. Vinko's dream is to host the operetta Mountain Rose in the Ranges.


Heather MaxwellHeather Maxwell

Heather's backgound is teaching maths and science with chemistry as a particular interest. She was the first girl to graduate from Yallourn Technical College in 1969. Heather has lived in the Hills since 1973 and was Secretary Emerald Fire Brigade '81-'88. Heather has been a member of 'Sing Australia' Tecoma from 2004 and has sung at the Dawn Service at Gallipoli with them. She joined the New Horizons Band when it was formed in 2008 and started to learn the clarinet.


Stuart AshburnerStuart Ashburner

Stuart is an active member of the music community in the Hills and wider community.  He sings with Sweet Sassafras and Vokallista and is on the Board of Community Music Victoria.  He enjoys participation in workshops and festivals in the music community.  He also enjoys playing his concertina.


Helen WillsherHelen Willsher ()

Background - B.Com, Dip Ed, Grad Dip and over 40 year career in secondary education specialising in Careers Education with a focus on the issues of transition from school to work or further study. Kallista/The Patch CFA Support Member. Helen joined the Board towards the end of 2015.  She has lived in the Dandenongs for 40 years in Montrose, Olinda and The Patch.  Professional - secondary teacher, in later years at Upwey High School and Monbulk College in the area of Careers counselling. Now retired and enjoying gardening, grandparenting, travelling and activities within the local community.


Peter HurleyPeter Hurley

Background - Peter is currently lecturer in Aural Studies and Topics in Musicology – Music Theatre and Cabaret at the Conservatorium of Music and the VCA at the University of Melbourne. He continues to be involved in curriculum development and as an assessor with the AMEB. Peter has lectured and taught at the VCA, Box Hill Institute, Melba Memroial Conservatorium, the VMTA and run workshops for the Suzuki Talen Education Association and Yamaha Music Foundation. In addition, Peter maintains a small private practice of piano students.


Claire RansomeClaire Ransome

Background - Claire Ransome is a local violin teacher and performer. She has been involved in lessons and orchestras at the DRMC since she took up violin as a child. Claire received a Bachelor of Music with Honours from The University of Melbourne Conservatorium of Music, where she studied violin performance and ethnomusicology. She is passionate about sharing the joy of music with others through performing and teaching.

Claire offers fun and engaging Suzuki Method violin lessons in the Dandenong Ranges and Yarra Valley, Victoria, Australia. In keeping with the philosophy of Dr Shinichi Suzuki, Claire's aim as a teacher is to assist her students in developing beautiful hearts and minds through the study of violin. She encourages sensitivity and mastery in the students as they practise and perform on their instrument. Students are provided with opportunities to share their music withothers at concerts, nursing home performances and community events."



Karen NoonanKaren Noonan ()

Arts Administrator

Karen has been involved in music in the Hills for over 25 years in many roles including choral director, piano teacher, accompanist, classroom teacher and events coordinator. Karen is the conductor of Tecoma Sing Australia and also a member of the Monbulk Fire Brigade.

Karen's role at the DRMC is in project management and office administration. Special interests - choirs, community networking, teaching piano, The Lost Dogs Home, Make a Wish Foundation and gardening. 

    All Ages             All Abilities             All Music    

DRMC Phone: 0424 910 282   |  Email:    |  Mail: PO Box 430, Belgrave VIC 3160

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