Through active participation in the performing arts, students come in to contact with other cultures and traditions, while learning much about each other and themselves. This semester, Gippsland Grammar students have had many opportunities to engage with the arts. Collectively, our musicians have continued to grow.
At the beginning of February, the School was represented in Suzhou, China by nine students at the International Schools Choral Music Society (ISCMS) Festival. Our students participated in intensive rehearsals with world-renowned practitioners in preparation for the gala concert held at the Suzhou Cultural Arts Centre in front of an audience of 1200+.
It was an awesome sight to see our choristers performing at St Paul's Cathedral in Sale alongside the Trinity College (Melbourne University) Choir. The most pleasing part was that our students rehearsed with, got to know and ultimately performed with university students not that much older than themselves. This was part of our five-day music camp, this year held at Garnsey Campus. The camp was huge success with over 120 students and staff putting in over 40 hours of rehearsal across the five days. Our second camp, focusing on Jazz Bands and Sinfonietta, provided us with our first opportunity to work on a commissioned by young Australian composer, James Mustafa. James's piece premiered at the Autumn concert on Wednesday 9 May at The Wedge.
The Unit 1-2 Drama performance ‘Wouldn’t It be Nice’ was held in the evening on Monday 30 April. It was very well attended and the students involved did a fantastic job. The students were responsible for writing, directing, acting and applying stagecraft to the performance and they tackled some difficult issues through a light-hearted look at choosing ‘Favourites’.
The School production this year is a play called 'Too Much Light Makes the Baby Go Blind'. There are 30 plays performed in 60 minutes and the audience chooses the order of the plays on the night. It is an ensemble experiment in presenting theatre that ranges from comic, tragic, political, personal and, at times, abstract. Performances are at the Stratford Courthouse Theatre on Friday May 11 and Saturday May 12. Tickets are available now through Trybooking.
This week the School celebrated its Autumn Concert at The Wedge on Wednesday night. An audience of around 250 were treated to a wonderful night of music featuring our large ensembles. The Choir opened the show with a spirited rendition of Pompeii by 'Bastille'. We then welcomed an old friend of Gippsland Grammar, Stephen Taberner, to the stage. After another inspirational visit to our music camp, Stephen conducted the choir in a moving rendition of his original composition, Glenda's Song. The choir then finished off with the Scandinavian 'Yoik', Eatunmen Vuelie. Our Schoir then performed a beautiful version of The Water is Wide, accompanied by Emma on cello, followed by an a cappella piece, Title of the Song. Great to see the 'choralography', Schoir!
Sinfonietta performed one of Dvorak's beloved works, Allegro Con Brio from Symphony No 8. Miss Laura Evans made her conducting debut at Gippsland Grammar next with the Intermezzo from Holst's, St. Paul's Suite. Sinfonietta finished with a quirky performance of Matilda Suite by Iain Grandage.
Our Dulcie Holland Band performed two pieces to a very high standard; As Tears Fall On Dawn New Light and X Factor. This band has made excellent progress this year and have really bonded well. It is pleasing to see quite a few St Anne's and Bairnsdale students working alongside our senior students in this band.
The Percy Code Concert Band concluded the first half by taking us on serval musical journeys. Windjammer, featuring a trumpet fanfare opening by Lachy, Tom and Tom. Next, they performed Divinum Mysterium based on a Christmas plainsong hymn and closed out with Fractures In Time.
I'm sure many of the audience members were pleased with the atmosphere created in the foyer by the rock band featuring Josh, Liam, Jack and Maya. Well done!
After interval, we were treated to some classic jazz from the Intermediate Jazz Band (IJB) with Forty-Second Street and a beautiful rendition of Bridge Over Troubled Water featuring Jared on trumpet. IJB closed out with a playful version of Soul Bossa Nova with a great solo from Grace.
Mr Cruikshank always has some useful information on the pieces performed by Senior Jazz Band. It's nice to know the background to the styles the students are performing. Ruby performed a tasteful piano solo introduction to Autumn Leaves. The band then performed the haunting classic, Harlem Nocturne, featuring Cameron on alto saxophone. Senior Jazz got everyone in a dancing mood with Vica Frita and another great alto solo from Cameron.
As previously mentioned, it was wonderful to have James Mustafa as ‘artist in residence’ at our music camp and for him to compose a piece for a Gippsland Grammar combined jazz orchestra. We welcomed back James to conduct the premiere of ‘Braiaklung’. Thank you James for your wonderful composition and for being a great musical role model for our students. It's an inspiration for our students to be so closely involved with an original Australian composition.
Our Autumn Concert would not be complete without a finale from Stephen Taberner. Stephen led the Music Camp Choir in a beautiful arrangement of the African American spiritual, Steal Away. The Music Camp Choir was then joined by many audience volunteers to finish off with Stephen's Michael Jackson Mash Up. It was a load of fun to have so many parents, grandparents and teachers up on stage together. Thank you Stephen for your continued support of the Gippsland Grammar music community.
Thanks and congratulations to our Music Captains, Filly and Ciara, and our Performing Arts Ambassadors, stage managed by Tim, for helping to make the concert a great success.
Finally, thank you to our Friends of Performing Arts (FoPA) for their support of the music department and helping to feed the performers and staff. If any other parents would like to find out more about FoPA, please don't hesitate to contact me. FoPA is a great way to be connected to the Performing Arts community of our School.
See you all at the Stratford Courthouse Theatre for 'Too Much Light Makes the Baby Go Blind'.
Director, Performing Arts