QMusic Members Furious At President Strijland’s Tone Deaf Captains Pick

QMusic President, Natalie Strijland
Founder and Publisher. Based in Brisbane.
Howard started Scene Magazine in 1993. Paul Keating was Prime Minister. Whitney, Janet and Mariah all had Aussie #1s and Mark Zuckerberg was 9. He (Howard, not The Zuck) likes Star Trek and a good Oxford Comma – way too much fun at parties.

QMusic President, Natalie Strijland has angered a significant and growing cohort of the QMusic membership for what has been seen as a self-serving and tone deaf ‘Captain’s Pick’ at the QMusic’s recent Annual General Meeting.

Strijland used proxy votes entrusted to the President by Members in absentia to re-appoint disgraced regular member Aaron Dahl. Dahl’s resignation had been earlier demanded for his leading role in terminally suffocating the timely due process of addressing very serious allegations of cronyism within QMusic – presumably under the express direction of President Strijland.

The appointment has been damned in many quarters as denying experienced music industry management talent as well as shoring up numbers in an increasingly cocooned board. 

Aaron Dahl
Aaron Dahl, QMusic board member

Dismay At AGM's (Lack Of) Transparency

Four senior figures in the Queensland music industry (not the candidates themselves) have expressed extreme dismay to this organisation that none of the candidate board members’ credentials and their vision for the organisation was disseminated in any meaningful way prior to the election at the annual general meeting.

Record Attendance

The QMusic AGM was attended by what is believed to be a record attendance of 60 people, many of whom were understood to be looking for a significant change in culture and direction. Members from around the state, unable to make the trip to Brisbane, or even those who entrusted the President with their vote had no knowledge of the candidates due to a helpful outdated regulation in the Constitution – a regulation which can only assist the sitting board in its direction of proxies.

2024 board nominees
QMusic Board Nominees. Clockwise from top left: Maggie Collins, Taitu’uga Kitch Wesche, Dr Sean Foran, Denise Foley

The QMusic Constitution

Section 18.3 of the QMusic Conststitution reads : A list of the Candidates names in alphabetical order, with the names of the Members who nominated each Candidate, must be posted in a conspicuous place in the office or usual place of meeting of the Association for at least seven days immediately preceding the annual general meeting. 

This essentially means a sheet of A4 nailed to the barn door.

The QMusic Constitution, an outdated cookie-cutter template adopted in the organisation’s infancy, has not been meaningfully updated since Strijland’s appearance on the board nine years ago: a damning reflection on someone with a legal background and a claim to progressiveness. Of myriad Constitution updates open to the board, options include:

  • Mandatory fixed terms – common on many progressive boards to excise dead wood and seat warmers – and importantly to allow fresh minds and vision
  • A mechanism for a vote of no confidence – allowing Members to turf compromised and underperforming boards or individual board members
  • And importantly, especially to this article, the wide, timely and effective broadcast of prospective board members' credentials prior to Member elections

Proxy Votes Drowned The Floor

Dahl was re-appointed at the behest of the President – exercising an overwhelming 69 proxy votes – drowning the votes from the floor and blocking elevation to the board of four significantly well-credentialed – and diverse – candidates. The four Candidates eschewed by Strijland were:

Denise Foley

Denise Foley has a history of delivering large events such as BIGSOUND, regional arts development programmes, and stabilising and growing organisations’ financial base and reputation.

Her extensive work history spans social justice and community development through her time at the Catholic Prison Ministry and Mt Gravatt Community Centre, to her work in the contemporary music industry as Executive Officer at QMusic.

Denise is committed to inclusive practice and develops processes that ensure meaningful engagement and connection. She holds a Bachelor of Social Work and has over 20 years’ management experience in the arts and community development sectors.

Maggie Collins

Maggie Collins is a Brisbane-based professional, who has been working in the music industry in a diverse range of roles over the past 17 years. She was a presenter and producer at the triple j network for 10 years. She also founded Morning Belle, an artist management company representing various ARIA Award winning and Gold Record accredited artists such as DZ Deathrays, Odette, Miiesha, Donny Benet and others.

She was Executive Programmer of BIGSOUND from 2016-2019 (incl), but after 7 years on the board of the Association of Artist Managers, she took on the Executive Director role in 2021 where she remains. In 2020 she received The Lighthouse Award, an honour given to Australian female managers who exhibit passion, creativity, advocacy, integrity and commitment to the community.

Dr Sean Foran

Course Director Music and Audio SAE. Award-winning pianist, composer and researcher Sean Foran, is an internationally acclaimed musician with extensive work spanning the spectrum of jazz, improvised and contemporary classical music. His work is highly melodic, and manages to draw stylistic influences together in a vibrant manner utilising acoustic and electronic textures.

He has received the prestigious Brisbane City Council’s Lord Mayors Emerging Artist Fellowship, the APRA Professional Development Award, the AMC/ APRA Art Music Award, and is a 7-time QLD Music award winner.

He has studied at the prestigious Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity in Canada and privately in Australia, Canada, Norway, Sweden, France & the UK with leading musicians including John Taylor and Baptiste Trotignon. A member of the acclaimed trios Trichotomy & Beradi/ Foran/ Karlen he has collaborated with the QLD Symphony Orchestra, Expressions Dance Company, QLD Theatre, plus a wide variety of contemporary and classical musicians around the world.

His recorded output features on labels in the UK, Europe and Japan and his touring experience includes the UK, China, Japan, Europe, Canada, South America and throughout Australia/New Zealand.

He is co-director of the specialist publishing company Prepared Sounds an associate artist of the Australian Music Centre, an AVID certified Sibelius trainer, Board Member of the Wangaratta Jazz Festival and Jazz Councillor for Music Australia.

Taitu’uga Kitch Wesche

Taitu’uga Kitch Wesche is a Samoan High Chief and holder of the Taitu’uga title, originates from Sapunaoa Falealili Aiga Manusamoa and is deeply rooted in his cultural heritage as a songwriter, musician, and performer. 

With over 15 years of industry experience, Kitch has graced stages worldwide, renowned for his captivating live performances as a beatbox MC. Beyond music, he passionately mentors Australian Indigenous and Polynesian youth in rural Queensland, nurturing their talents and creativity. As a cultural liaison, Taitu’uga fosters understanding between Aboriginal communities and his Samoan lineage.

Concurrently, Taitu’uga co-directs the Tato Aiga organisation, leading initiatives that promote cultural creativity. His achievements, which include multiple APRA nominations, two QMA nominations and appearances at prestigious events like TEDx Brisbane and BIGSOUND underscore his profound impact on the local, national and global music scene, leaving an enduring legacy for future generations.

Strijland Not Expected To Last Full Term

For her part in the ever-expanding cronyism saga, Strijland has deftly abrogated responsibility in confronting the allegations, sending no fewer than three substitutes to answer on her behalf over 15 months as she variously found herself “busy with her practice”, “on leave” or simply with unexplained delegations.

Last month's scenestr article alleging endemic cronyism dating back more than a decade has attracted an avalanche of one-way feedback to our offices from the Queensland music industry – our fourth most-read article in 2024. The article also attracted the attention of more than one national media organisation where investigations are understood to be ongoing.

For the second time in as many months, the QMusic President has demonstrated a wanton lack of best practice, and worse – not through lack of understanding, but rather an exact understanding of her conduct. Eyeball Media (scenestr and FROOTY) calls on Natalie Strijland to immediately resign adding to the existing call for Dahl's head. We condemn them for their tactics of delay and obfuscation, their board stacking politics, their lack of transparency in process and more.

scenestr Publisher Condemns QMusic CEO Kris Stewart and Board Over Awarding of Media Contracts

To Come
This is the second aricle in a series of five into QMusic's current, recent and historical practices – in particular into the awarding of lucrative contracts and the ensuing whitewash.

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