Instrumental Music Staff

Macleod College Music Academy has a teaching staff of world class musicians that would be the envy of tertiary institutions




Jim GRIFFITHS - Music Director




















Sam Bates - Drums

Born in Brisbane in 1978, Sam Bates graduated with a Bachelor of Music from the Queensland Conservatorium before moving to Melbourne in 2003. Since then his work with some of the country’s leading improvisers including Scott Tinkler, Julien Wilson, Aaron Choulai and Zac Hurren has earned him recognition within the Australian jazz scene. A recent collaboration with Aria Award winning

singer/song writer Ollie Browne has enjoyed critical praise, as has The Sam Bates Trio’s 2010 release ‘The Singularity’ featuring Marc Hannaford and Philip Rex. In 2011 Bates received a fellowship from The Banff Centre International Workshop in Jazz and Creative Music and was also selected as a finalist in the National Jazz Awards. More recently Bates was awarded the Alan C Rose Memorial Trust

Scholarship from The Victorian College of the Arts. This helped to fund a national tour and a second album for The Sam Bates Trio. Bates has performed and recorded with a variety of artists including Katie Noonan, Christine Anu, Joe Chindamo and Wycliffe Gordon. His drumming can be heard on various releases from ABC, Sound Vault, Shock and Newmarket Music.


Declan Jones

Declan Jones studied jazz and classical trumpet at Victorian College of the Arts and Monash University and is teaching brass instruments at Macleod College. He is a versatile performer and plays regularly with many ensembles including New Orleans Brass Band, Colombian Salsa, Mexican Mariachi, Nigerian Afrobeat, Hawaiian Exotica and Indian Bollywood. 


Declan has toured extensively with the bollywood/Indian funk band Bombay Royale, some highlights include Glastonbury festival, Sziget (Budapest), WOMAD in Australia, New Zealand and England and GlobalFest at Webster Hall (NYC.) He has performed with touring artists including Nashville soul singer Charles Walker, indie rock band from Austin, Texas - Spoon, and the New Jersey metalcore band - Dillinger Escape Plan. Declan’s afrobeat ensemble The Public Opinion Afro Orchestra is collaborating with the Nigerian artist Femi Kuti in August.


John Flanagan

Like many of our music teachers, John Flanagan is not only a fantastic educator, but also a highly regarded performer and recording artist in his own right.

Combining 60s and 70s folk singer/songwriter influences with a contemporary Americana/bluegrass sound, “John Flanagan has proven himself a songwriting force to keep an eye on” (Timber and Steel). John recently released his latest album, ‘There’s Another Way to Where You’re Going’ which was recorded in Nashville with producer Viktor Krauss and he has been playing to full houses around Australia in a double album tour with Sal Kimber. He recorded the album with the best of the best, including grammy award winning engineer Neal Cappellino and musicians who have played on records with Willie Nelson, Robert Plant and Emmylou Harris, to name a few. The album debuted in the top 10 iTunes singer/songwriter charts and has received regular national radio play and rave reviews:




Tony Hicks

Tony, a sought-after saxophonist covering many genres, studied classical saxophone in Melbourne with Dr Peter Clinch, reaching the national finals of the ABC Concerto and Vocal competition in 1984. In 1981 he travelled to New York for further study of composition and improvisation at the Eastman School of Music, saxophone with Joe Allard and Carmine Caruso, and flute with Harold Bennett. Throughout his career he has been involved in numerous jazz groups, classical and avant-garde music ensembles (Peter Clinch Saxophone Quartet 1976-1988, Elision 1993-4, Heretics Brew 2007-), and many commercial music projects including over 70 professional theatre productions, recordings for film, television and major events, and live performances with international artists including Frank Sinatra, Stevie Wonder, Billy Cobham and Randy Brecker. He is also a leading member of the Australian Art Orchestra. Recent post-graduate research at the Victorian College of the Arts has included documentation and analysis of the music of the Wagilak clan, incorporation of microtonality, extended techniques and electronic sound processing into his performance practice with avant-garde Australian sound artists David Tolley, Ren Walters and the Bent Leather Band, and a concurrent examination into the various philosophical perspectives of the emergent improvisation process. Tony teaches in several Melbourne high schools where he is a keen proponent of improvisation within the music curriculum, and tutors at the Victorian College of the Arts, Melbourne University, and NMIT.



Paul Van Ross

Paul has toured and performed around the world. Also studied in New York & Cuba, playing with some of the world's leading musicians including George Garzone, George Coleman, Barry Harris, Dave Valentin, Andrew Sterman, Rob Schepps, Lawrence Feldman, Keith Underwood & Helen Campo. He has played over 25 International Tours & recorded numerous commercial release CDs.




Annette Eldridge

Annette studied at the Conservatorium of Music at the University of Melbourne. She has journeyed to Italy to play early music and improvisation with world renowned violinist, Davide Monti and cellist Gaetano Nasillo. She has also developed her skills in electronic music with The Arts Centre Melbourne, who have asked Annette to present at the Ableton Workshop in April. 

Annette performs regularly with a multitude of ensembles at various venues, radio appearances and festivals around Australia. She co-founded Regional Chamber Ballet, combining a piano trio with a dance duo, touring regional areas in Victoria. Annette has vast experience performing baroque to jazz to contemporary music and owns a traditional cello along with an electric cello.  

She is currently excited to be working on her own compositions, performing with cello, synth, live looping and effects. Annette enjoys melding the classical with contemporary and electronic music in her works, which are beginning to appear on soundcloud. 

Annette conducts Chamber Strings at Macleod College and is looking forward to conducting the String Orchestra again this year for the North Eastern Region concert at Hamer Hall.



Antonio began his professional life as an Electric Bassist at the age of 14 in the Melbourne cabaret scene.  Two years later he also began to perform Original rock bands..  Nemesis .

Then began to explore Latin, World, Jazz and Fusion music…Black Sun 

At 20 he took up Double Bass got into playing Jazz …David Jones, Gary Norman, Virgil Donati, Joe Chindamo etc  and Classical Studies at Victorian College of the Arts for 5 years

Since then he has performed thousands of professional performances at most major venues, festivals, Television and Radio stations in Melbourne and across Australia  ( Hammer Hall, Rod Laver Arena, Victorian Art Centre, Sydney Recital Centre, Channel 7,9,10,31,ABC SBS with local and international artists. Such as Australian Theatre Orchestra, The Australian Showband, Australian Pops Orchestra, Malvern Symphony Orchestra, Lion King at the Regent theatre, Don Burrows Big Band, John Foreman Trio, Yvette Johanson Quintet, The Four Tops, The Drifters, John Farnham, Deborah O’Connor and many others 

Antonio’s enjoys the challenge of performing a large variety of musical styles from Classical through to contemporary styles