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What kind of person is Cassidy after a childhood of surgery? How is she now? Where is she? What is she doing?
The following assortment of articles, newspaper reports and updates will answer these questions!
Newspaper article, December 2008.
Casterton born Cassidy Hill-Davidson will head to Melbourne next year after successfully auditioning at the Victorian College of the Arts.
Seventeen year old Cassidy will begin tertiary studies in the Foundation Program at Australia’s leading performing arts training institution, the Victorian College of the Arts, which is a faculty of the University of Melbourne.
The panel of auditioning judges were amazed with Cassidy’s proficiency on the harp, given she had only had four lessons.
“They said that it must be a record,” laughed Cassidy, “I practiced the harp for hours every day for 2 months before the audition and my fingers are finally toughening up and recovering from the blisters! But it was all worth it!”
Previously studying piano and music theory locally for two years with a local teacher and via Distance Education at the Casterton Secondary College, Cassidy decided to follow her dream of studying the harp after a visit to the VCA on Open Day in August this year.
“The visit to the VCA inspired me to think about what I really wanted to do with my life,” said Cassidy, “I have always dreamed of playing the harp and with my parents’ and piano teacher's encouragement, I decided to transition from piano to harp and give the audition a go.”
With no harp teacher in the district, Cassidy travelled to Ballarat for intensive lessons with VCA harp teacher Jacinta Dennett, covering years worth of study in just 2 months. The problem of an instrument to practice on was solved when Cassidy’s mum, Catriona located a rare hire harp in Adelaide, with Cassidy eagerly contributing her recent prize-money from the Australian Danny Boy Championships towards the hire costs.
“It went to a good cause,” smiled Cassidy. “I know I’m in for years of hard work, but I love music -this really is a dream come true.”
Cassidy moved to Melbourne at 17 years old, living with her grandparents, and completed her year-long harp study. In 2010, at 18 she stepped into the wide world, moving into her own place near the city and began studies towards a Bachelor of Arts at the University of Melbourne. Literature, creative writing and language studies bring her joy. Her music still has a presence in her life and she sings and plays a folk harp in her rare spare time.
Newspaper article, April 2008.
Cassidy Australian Danny Boy Champion
Casterton girl, Cassidy Hill-Davidson did her Irish heritage proud at the recent Koroit Irish Festival when she became co-winner of the 2008 Danny Boy National Championship.
The competition was so fierce in the event that the panel of judges could not split the top two performers, declaring 16 year old Cassidy and Geelong resident, David Cummings joint champions. The two split the $1000 prize money and will share a plaque on the perpetual trophy, displayed in Mickey Bourke’s hotel in Koroit.
The event required competitors to sing ‘a cappella’ (unaccompanied by music) four verses of the notoriously difficult song, ‘Danny Boy’. Heats were run throughout the day, with 8 finalists competing in the evening for the much revered title.
The Irish/Australian connection makes Cassidy’s win all the more interesting, as her mother, Catriona was born not far from Londonderry in Northern Ireland. The pull of the ‘motherland’ is strong for Cassidy, who is beguiled by all things Irish and plans to visit Ireland within the next couple of years.
Cassidy was born and raised in the small Western Victorian town of Casterton, where the many hospital visits meant long journeys to Melbourne, 6 hours away.
Always a quick and keen learner, Cassy loved make-believe and drawing and taught herself to read and write by the age of 2. She started school at 4 years old after begging her parents not to send her to Kinder as she "Couldn't stand another year of pasting!". She was assessed by a psychologist as having an IQ of 147 and adequate social maturity, so she happily donned her Casterton Primary School uniform and toddled off to class.
Not particularly sporty, Cassidy was still very active, fully participating in the Scouting movement as Patrol Leader and attending many camps which involved hiking, mountaineering, canoeing and abseiling.
Cassidy continued her schooling at Casterton Secondary College, where she graduated as Dux in 2008.
The following excerpt from her MySpace Artist page, 'Casidhe Celtic' describes her musical talents:
"With Australia under her feet and Ireland in her heart, Casidhe (pronounced the same way as her given name -'Cassidy') gives voice to the music of her heartland. That this comes from her heart is clearly evident in her emotive 'A cappella' rendition of the traditional Irish song 'Danny Boy'. The live recording is testament to her deserved title of 'Australian Danny Boy Champion' -an honour bestowed upon her at the Koroit Irish Festival in April of 2008.
Music has been Casidhe's true love since she first had ears, when her Irish mother played a variety of genres to her in the womb. As Casidhe learned to talk, it was second nature for her to use her voice to produce both melody and harmony. These can be heard in her recording of 'My Immortal', where Casidhe sang her own backing harmonies, as well as the lead melody at the tender age of 12.
With a warm, velvety alto tone, Casidhe's voice flows through the listener, weaving its way into their heart, where it belongs and remains.
In complement to her rich voice, piano, harp, guitar, bodhran and any instrument she can lay her hands on all come alive under Casidhe's touch. But it is the harp which has captured Casidhe "
You can listen to recordings of Cassidy singing on 'Casidhe Celtic'. A video of her singing at her 18th birthday can be viewed on YouTube.