Did you know Katie Noonan was a Con Artist?

Australian vocal stars, including Katie Noonan, returned to the Queensland Conservatorium
to take to the stage alongside the Con Artists in 2014.

It’s true!  Singer, and former Griffith student, Katie Noonan was once a member of the Conservatorium’s show piece student jazz band, the Con Artists.

Internationally renowned jazz musician, John Hoffman was employed by the Conservatorium in 1995 to start a Griffith University ‘big band’.

The band was established to provide an opportunity for aspiring Griffith jazz musicians and composers to ‘work’ in a band by collaborating and then publicly performing.

There was some ‘tinkering’ with the name of this ensemble. However, it doesn’t take much imagination to appreciate how the name the Con Artists came about and was eventually settled upon.

After establishing the initial band members and engaging in rehearsal, the band gave their first ever public performance in June of 1996.

Katie Noonan (think Aussie band George) is perhaps the most well-known former member of the Con Artists. Other former members include Megan Washington and Elly Hoyt. We also have two former band members working as lecturers at the Conservatorium – Head of Jazz, Dr Stephen Newcomb and Teacher, Kristin Berardi.

The Con Artists project continues to provide a platform where our music students can experience their first major public performance, first musical collaboration, and record their first CD. The Con Artists have released eight CD’s to date.

Twenty years on, the band is recognised as one of our country’s premiere university musical performance groups.

Check out the Griffith Archives slideshow about this unique Griffith mainstay. The display provides a chronology of the group including interviews with past and present members, live performance footage and some images.

Want more? You can borrow the Con Artists CD’s from Griffith University Library.