Music Students Shine With Mesmerising Performances

Jazz Night

Our Music students continued to shine last week with mesmerising performances at the Jazz Night held at the Fyrefly in St Kilda last Thursday and the Years 7 & 8 Concert held at School last Tuesday evening.

Fyrefly provided an intimate yet professional atmosphere for 50 of our Senior girls to showcase their musicianship. Head of Music, Mr Tim Collins, garnered the support of three guest artists to perform with the girls throughout the concert. Marty Holoubek (double bass), James McLean (drums) and one of Australia’s most accomplished jazz pianists and composers, Joseph O’Connor, provided a highly professional level of musicianship to the evening, and their sharing of the stage was clearly enjoyable for our girls.

As guest artist at St Catherine’s, Joseph O’Connor worked alongside our musicians for four weeks to assist with their music composition, arrangements and rehearsals. The girls were fortunate to perform with someone so highly regarded in the music industry with Joseph’s extensive list of achievements including national jazz awards, a small reflection of his success.

Thank you to the Creative Arts Auxiliary for sponsoring such a fabulous evening of music. I also wholeheartedly congratulate the 2019 Music Captains, Madison Hunt (Year 12) and Olivia Soong Zi Yuan (Year 12), for their student leadership on the evening.

Years 7 & 8 Concert

The journey towards developing concert skills commences with the opportunities to perform at a range of recitals from a young age. The Years 7 & 8 Music Concert revealed an insight into the Music curriculum and the depth of talent of a number of our younger musicians. The performance of Inanay and I’m Goin Up Yonder by the Sherren Singers, conducted by Ms Liv Cher, Deputy Head of Music, was clearly enjoyed by the audience, as was the heart-stopping, thunderous and rhythmic sound of Taiki and the African Drums directed by Mr James Lewis and Mr Saska Ayris.

In acknowledging the girls’ success at Assembly on Monday, I shared the reflections of Lady Gaga upon receiving her Oscar for Best Original Song this year. Well known to most teenagers, Lady Gaga started her career performing in local talent shows and music concerts at school!

“If you are at home, and you are sitting on your couch and you are watching this right now, all I have to say is that this is hard work. I have worked hard for a long time, and it is not about winning…but what it is about is not giving up. If you have a dream, fight for it. There is a discipline for passion.”

Even though Lady Gaga has exceptional talent, she did not achieve fame and success because of this, she herself says, “this is hard”. Whilst reading music to Lady Gaga came as fluently as reading a book, she described having a passion and talent for something should enable you to charge with confidence and drive.

Co-curricular Successes

Also ‘working hard’ last week was our Cross Country team who successfully qualified in Division One for the GSV (Girls Sport Victoria) Cross Country Championships. In what could only be described as a true cross country running day – wet, cold and with a muddy track – the girls showed true grit and perseverance to finish a credible 7th from 24 schools. Congratulations to Cross Country Captain, Matilda Wolton (Year 12), who has led the team with vigour, humility and enthusiasm throughout the season.

The St Catherine’s Cross Country team finished 7th from 24 schools in the GSV Cross Country Championships.

During Assembly, we also heard of the recent success of the Senior students competing in the Debaters Association of Victoria (DAV) Public Speaking Competition held last Sunday. Congratulations to Madeline Powell (Year 9) who successfully came 3rd overall in the DAV Intermediate Division, with Allegra Dennison (Year 10) finishing a credible 5th and Fleur Anstee (Year 10) finishing in 6th place. The girls have worked diligently to develop their speeches, with training sessions for impromptu speeches also held each lunchtime by Year 12 students Sophie Turnbull, Gabriella Tymms and Emily Sutherland, and Debating and Public Speaking Coordinator, Ms Mary-Anne Keratiotis. Fortunately, Madeline attended several of these training sessions as she needed to present two impromptu speeches on the day.

At Assembly, we also heard Angela Yu (Year 9) present her speech prepared for the Rostrum Voice of Youth Speaking competition. Angela’s brilliantly crafted speech, ‘A Passion for Fashion’, expertly questioned the ethical production of clothing within the fashion industry. Angela was awarded Runner-Up in the competition. Whilst some of our strongest public speakers will complete Year 12 this year, it is great to know there are eager younger students ready to hone their skills and accept the mantle in this thriving co-curricular activity.

Undoubtedly, our students are acutely aware of how to apply themselves to their co-curricular activities with their commitment and diligence clearly visible. Honing skills through repetition, rehearsal and challenging training sessions is exactly the same approach that must also shape their learning in the academic programs and in the coming week, their preparation for exams and SACs.

Equating academic learning with ‘fitness’ conjures up notions of training and practice and is a powerful way to emphasise the control girls can have over their learning; many girls who train for a sport or learn a musical instrument can relate to this. This in turn can motivate them to refine their approach to learning and build more productive study behaviours.

For excellent learning to occur, and be sustained, students need to engage in their learning and to make an effort, even when it is hard to do so. Developing the academic resilience to persevere when things are not easy is also essential. It is important that students understand that learning involves getting things wrong and can often require struggle. The experience of failing or finding something difficult actually allows girls to progress with their learning.

Yesterday, I departed for London for a week. I am looking forward to visiting our Exchange girls currently studying for Term 2 at St Catherine’s School, Bramley and St George’s School, Ascot in addition to also visiting two possible new Exchange schools for our Year 9 program, Culford School, Sulfolk and Royal High School, Bath. I am also looking forward to spending a day at Eton College to learn about their new centre for innovation and research, The Tony Little Centre. Five schools in five days; it will be hectic but professionally fulfilling! In my absence, Ms Merran O’Connor, Deputy Principal, Student Wellbeing, will assume the role of Acting Principal.

Michelle Carroll

Mrs Michelle Carroll