Dedicated to Clayton

When the unthinkable happens, everything stops, even the music. The other half of Hope Street House, Clayton McDonald, unexpectedly died of illness in mid-2023.  Sara’s partner in love, music and friendship.

‘As I walk towards something new, I feel the pain of every step, with and without you’

In April 2024 Sara releases ‘Song for Clayton’. The music had started again. They had been working on this ‘instrumental’ before he died – she remembers his smile of delight and amusement while mixing the sounds. To go back there and listen to all the music they had made over the 12 years was a dangerous foray in to the darkness of extraordinary grief and loss. But the music, in sonic and gentle waves, brings the memory and presence of their collaboration, his voice, his skin and his words, like a beautiful salvaged piece from a shipwreck.

‘Hope Street House was and still is a collaboration of the heart’

The chatter, sketches of melodies, ideas, spark, quarter ideas, no ideas, trash-able ideas. Moments of humour, learning, frustration and fixing, talking, mixing, smoothing of sounds and rhythms, disagreement, symbiosis and play – accordant, exacting and velvety warm, in a terrain of love and care.

Hope Street House was and is – Sara’s composition, piano and vocals. Was, Clayton’s mixing, mastering, artwork and publishing. It began in 2020 in Canberra. Now in Queensland 2024, Hope Street House is Sara learning and attempting to carry out all aspects of sound, mixing, mastering, artwork, publishing and promotion.

‘For you Clayton, in an infinite nowhere time and in vivid memory of everything that was exquisitely you’

Sara Vancea was born in Melbourne, Australia. As a small girl she discovered the vortex-like suction of music. It would draw her in and transport her to a better place. A friend of the family donated a piano and it was placed in her bedroom as there was nowhere else for it to go. Soon she was making thunderous colossal sounds by lifting the piano top and pressing hard on the sustain pedal while playing the keys. The musical noise would encompass the whole room and she did this for six months. It was anybody’s guess as to why the piano was soon sold and removed from the house. Without the piano she would imagine tunes on her teeth by clicking them together in a rhythm with ascending and descending notes. If she had 88 teeth, she would know music theory. A bridge too far.

Sara moved to Canberra and was part of a vibrant and eclectic arts, music and theatre scene. She bought a guitar and began writing, singing and performing her own songs as a solo artist and then in local bands, one of them called Filthy Lucre.

And later Sara set up a studio in her bedroom, recording and producing songs with instruments and synthesisers. Up to this time she had raised two wonderful and exceptional sons (parents always say this and they are), Oscar and Samuel.  She worked a normal job and performed in bands at night and drank a lot of coffee. When she met Clayton, an extraordinary relationship grew into one of immense love for each other and music. Life was full of music, friendship, vegan food and grass roots activism – for the people – the planet – the animals. Together they formed a loving and dynamic partnership and a band, with Sara’s younger son Sam (the older son is Oscar) who played bass in their band called Non Profit and then later Hope Street. Michael Monaghan later joined on the bass. Incidentally, the name Non Profit caused issues over getting paid for gigs. The name Hope Street was the same name as the street they had lived in for many years. Their friend Robert (partner of Maryanne) suggested it – it had never occurred to them.

Clayton McDonald grew up in Brisbane, Australia, singing in a school choir, playing football and excelling in everything at school. His father, Morris, a Train Guard for the Queensland railways, played the black keys on the piano while at the same time kicking a large floor drum with his foot. He would perform music at community dance halls in remote towns of Queensland.

Clayton taught himself to play drums and joined several grunge punk bands and later realised his love of dance and dance clubs in Brisbane and Melbourne. He worked a normal job while maintaining strong political left affiliations and a vegan diet.

He volunteered to work at 4ZZZ radio station; broadcasting left politics and promoting emerging Australian and international music and bands.

‘Hope Street House exists in the love and memory of that extraordinary human Clayton, who lives in my heart’

Together again.

‘For you my love, for us and for everyone’


Sara is based in Sunshine Coast, Queensland and receives Australian radio airplay and airplay in the UK and USA. The playlist of the songs Ulterior Kinetic (2020), Lilly Pilly Python (2021), Strange Angel (2021), Viridian Sanctuary (2022 – vocals), Somatic Mind (2022), Aqueous Air (2022), Sensory Empathy (2022), Uncanny Chasm (2023), World Mesh (2023 – vocals) and Song for Clayton (2024).

Song for Clayton – Single now available

Song for Clayton Single Artwork

World Mesh – Single now available

Uncanny Chasm – Single

ellipsis earth – Single

Sensory Empathy – Single

Aqueous Air – Single

Somatic Mind – Single

Viridian Sanctuary – Single (vocals)

Lilly Pilly Python – Single

Strange Angel – Single

Teleseismic Violet – Single

Nascent Manoeuvre – Single

Ulterior Kinetic – Single

Lightrail – Single

Dunerun – Single

Firebird – Single

Bioluminescence – Single

flight and formation – Single

Stormwater – Single

Heat Sync Single

Heart Node – preview

Waterway – preview

HOPE  STREET  HOUSE, based in Sunshine Coast, Australia, have been composing and producing melodic, progressive House electronic dance music since 2016. The latest release is the single World Mesh (vocals) following on from Uncanny Chasm, ellipsis earth, Aqueous Air, Somatic Mind, Viridian Sanctuary (vocals), Lilly Pilly Python, Strange Angel, Teleseismic Violet, Nascent Manoeuvre, Ulterior Kinetic, Lightrail, Dunerun, Firebird, Bioluminescence, flight and formation, Stormwater and Heat Sync.


Sara Vancea – composer, producer, singer

Clayton McDonald – post-production

HOPE  STREET  HOUSE also work as another music artist profile – HOPE STREET – composing, producing and releasing avant-pop songs.

Contact Hope Street House

We keep your data private and share your data only with the website hosting service that makes this email service possible. Read our Privacy Policy.