Meet Our Musical Directors

Dylan Mcelhone
Samantha Wong
Christopher Long

How did you get involved with The Marching Koalas?

Dylan: I first joined Koalas at the end of 2009 after Mr Gill asked me to come along once I started playing in the bands at Belmont High School. From that day I never looked back, it was one of the greatest opportunities I had ever been given.

Sam: Through teaching music with Mrs Bergin-Brown (Koalas Musical Director).

Chris: Through invitation from John Gill (Koalas Musical Director). Also, the prospect of working alongside Sam Wong and Candece Bergin-Brown (Koalas Musical Directors), who were Practical advisors when I was studying Music Teaching at University.

What enticed you to become a director for The Marching Koalas?

Dylan: I think my passion for the band plays a big role in my decision to take on a director role in the Marching Koalas. Mr Gill and Mrs Bergin have been such amazing mentors my whole time in the band and throughout my musical career, I think this is a great opportunity for me to hold onto their legacy and take it into the future.

Sam: My love of teaching music, conducting bands and working with young people who have a genuine passion for music.

Chris: The prospect of being a part of a large marching band and helping kids to succeed performing in amazing events and arenas around the world. 

Musical directors hopes and dreams for ‘The Marching Koalas’

Dylan: Koalas have been a huge part of my life for such a long time. I have been with the band for 10 years until I left at the end of 2019 to explore different career opportunities. Coming back into the band as Director is a great opportunity to bring back the life of the group, giving many kids and their families opportunities to play music and love being part of such an amazing group of people. The dream would be to uphold the legacies left behind by past directors and integral members of the band and take them forward for many years to come. 

Sam:To continue to build on the rich 39-year history of a Marching Band that has brought with it so many incredible life experiences to so many young people over that time. I would like to give students from the Hunter and Central Coast, the opportunity to continue to develop their practical, musicianship and choreography skills, to enable them to play and perform with like-minded individuals, to give back to their community and to have fun seeing Australia and the World whilst doing so. The Marching Koalas are a musical institution of which I am enormously proud to be part of. 

Chris:To continue the rich history of the Marching Koalas and bring opportunities to students who may not be able to be involved in such positive experiences. To work with experienced directors and facilitators whilst encouraging students to work toward their personal goals in an encouraging environment.  

A tribute and huge thankyou to our previous Musical Directors who have kept the band alive since 1982, without your dedication and commitment, the Marching Koalas wouldn’t be the wonderful institution that it is today. You have positively changed the lives of many and created wonderful lifelong memories to cherish. Your time with the band will always be remembered and recognised,

THANKYOU! ☺