Julie Merritt: accordion player, and much more. Photo by Eric Algra.

Rock. Solid.  Always.

Julie Merritt has been part of Stereo Stories from the beginning, from a vague notion mentioned over a kitchen table about seven years ago.

Listener. Office manager. Book-keeper. Stage manager. Harmony singer. Accordion player.

“I’ve always liked the way that Julie runs the stage for Stereo Stories,” said band member Rob Gador. “She is pretty much unflappable. I can see her there with the running sheet in her hands, checking what is coming up next, who needs to be where and doing what. It is lovely having her play accordion too – giving the band another sound to play around with.”

“If we look slick and professional in performance, it is in large part due to Julie’s outstanding organisational abilities in herding cats,” concurred Stephen Andrew.

“The accordion is a baffling instrument,” Stephen noted. “Complex and mysterious, it’s an ever impressive feat to get the lovely sounds that Julie conjures out of its bellows. My favourite moment on stage with Julie was the gasps of delight from the audience in Albury last year when she began playing the introduction to That’s Amore for Toni Jordan’s wedding-day story. You could feel the love.”

Singer Chris Phillips has known Julie since their days in the Willin’ Wimmin choir. “Jules is an absolute pleasure to work with musically. Ever generous and very funny. I remember gig road trips and rehearsals where we laughed so hard we cried and our faces hurt. Jules always has the right harmony to complement any song. She is also the one who looks after us all at rehearsals, ensuring there are supplies of tea and coffee and snacks. An absolute gem!”

At our show at the 2018 Williamstown Literary Festival, Julie was presented with a large bouquet of flowers by festival committee member Hugh Jones.

“The Willy Lit Fest knew that Julie had been a huge part in bringing Stereo Stories to life, since its inception in 2014,” Hugh said. “Without her calm, organised approach to both Vin and the band, the performances would not have become the festival highlight that they did, the audience numbers building year after year.

“Then in 2019 we were delighted to see Julie playing in the band herself — what a talent!”

Peter Maskell has known Julie’s families for many years. “She’s an organiser, an understated motivator. A wise counsel to the director. Quiet achiever, the glue that holds it all together, makes it work. Calming influence and mischief maker!”

Thank you, Julie.

Herding the cool cats at Williamstown Literary Festival. June 2018. Julie, far right (green top). Photo by Eric Algra.

 

The Centre Stage stories profile musicians and writers who have been pivotal to Stereo Stories, including the band’s original accordion player Salvatore Romita.

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Vin is founding editor of Stereo Stories and director/MC of Stereo Stories In Concert.