Music Matters

Year 12 students spend their holidays singing on the barricade!

Over the summer holidays, we performed in an amateur production of Les Misérables, which was staged at the National Theatre in St Kilda by the Young Australia Broadway Chorus. Since mid-December, we were working tirelessly and rigorously towards completing a truly amazing show. With constant eight-hour days, we worked alongside over 100 other young, talented performers, as sets were constructed, costumes were designed, and voices were raised towards perfecting one of Musical Theatre’s greatest productions. By the time we made it to the theatre, the hard work had well and truly paid off. We received excellent reviews in the Herald Sun, segments on 9 News, and performed to sell-out audiences, each performance concluding with standing ovations. The show was a critical success. In fact, tickets sold out so quickly that the company ended up adding another show onto the end of the season, postponing the end of what had been a truly magnificent experience. And, just to add to the infinite layers of awesome which encompassed this production, we were accompanied by a student orchestra which included Tintern alumnus Gerard Barclay (YG 2018).

Les Misérables managed to do something which seemed impossible, improving on the already impressive quality of YABC’s last production, Wicked. And it truly will be an experience which lives in our memories for the rest of our lives.

by Jared Nottle & Brayden Stokes, Year 12 Thespians

The MYO Summer School where we met ‘George’.

Taking place from January 7-11, with the performance on Saturday 12 January, the MYO Summer School encourages young musicians of from the age of 7 to 22, to take part in an ensemble with musicians of their own skill level. The four main groups of musicians at the Summer School are the String Ensembles, the Orchestral Ensembles, the Band Program and the Jazz Program. Additionally, conductor’s and arts administration programs are available for musicians thinking of music as a career, for ages 20 to 30.

This year, Tintern students took part in the MYO Summer School, with alumna Holly Fryer (YG 2018) playing flute and myself on viola, being part of the Symphony Orchestra, an ensemble from the orchestral program geared towards students playing at a level higher than AMEB Grade 8. Additionally, Year 10 student Patrick Dean, a percussionist, played in a different ensemble, the Symphonic Wind Band. The Symphony Orchestra was led by Carolyn Watson, an Australian and American conductor, and major prize-winner at the Emmerich Kálmán International Operetta Conducting Competition in Budapest. With her help, the Symphony Orchestra prepared a sophisticated 20-minute orchestral program in just five days, with repertoire including Tchaikovsky’s ‘Marche Slav’ (Slavic March), Kabalevsky’s Overture to the opera, ‘Colas Breugnon’ and excerpts from Britten’s ‘Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra’.

Although five days seems like a short time to get ready a 20-minute long program and co-ordinate over 80 young musicians, the week was surprisingly relaxed. We had frequent breaks and, at the end of the day, occasionally, if we had spare time, we would have a ‘Question Time’ with Carolyn, where we would ask her about the happenings in her life; how she got into a career in conducting, how she once played the violin and where she is now. She also occasionally interrupted rehearsals to tell us a funny story from her conducting life; once, while turning a final page of a long symphony, she was conducting so vigorously that she, accidentally, threw her baton to the back of the stage, more than 10 metres, all the way to the woodwind section. Additionally, she has propelled her baton (named George) backward to the audience on numerous occasions. A combination of her humorous stories and skilful and passionate conducting made her one of the best conductors for a youth orchestra such as this.

Moreover, on Thursday of that week, “TwoSet Violin”, a comedy YouTube channel on a mission to ‘popularise classical music’, led the ‘Summer School Takeover’. They visited all the senior ensembles for a short time, forcing players to take part in their ‘Ling Ling challenge’, where players were asked to play with serious and ridiculous handicaps, such as playing all notes on one string or, for percussionists, playing facing backwards with your hands behind your back. They also performed as a ‘duet’ of a kind during lunchtime, where both of them were contending to be soloists.

In the overall, the MYO Summer School was an amazing musical experience, especially because of the opportunity to play in an ensemble with people of approximately the same standard, getting ready such amazing and technically challenging works in such a short space of time. Personally, I benefitted from the experience due to the unique opportunity of being able to play with an orchestra of such a high calibre, as it gave the feel of a budding professional orchestra. Given the opportunity again, I would participate without hesitation, and I would definitely recommend it to any Tintern student interested in music, as opportunities like this are quite unique and don’t come along often. The next Summer School takes place next year, at around the same time, during the holidays, which is something to consider for Tintern musicians. In the meantime, happy practising!

by Joshua Choong, Year 10, School Pianist 2019

Music ensembles gearing up for rehearsals

Our Years 7-12 Ensembles are starting rehearsals for 2019 over the coming weeks, so now is the time for new students and existing musicians and singers who would like to join a band/orchestra/choir to come along and meet the crowd as they start to learn new songs and pieces. If you are new to Tintern and interested in joining a choir or instrumental ensemble, please check the table below and feel free to come along to try out a group before making a full commitment to it. Even if you are not a new student, you’re still welcome to jump on board! You will be made to feel welcome and you will meet many like-minded musicians who enjoy getting together to rehearse and perform music on a regular basis. All ensembles are welcoming new members, apart from a few auditioned ensembles.

If you are unsure as to which group you should join, please come up and introduce yourself to Mrs Feenane in the Music Office and she will be able to help you, or she will guide you to a music teacher who will be able to advise you.

Music Lockers for hire

There are a limited number of lockable music lockers available for hire in the Senior Music Department corridor at a cost of $10 per term. These are particularly useful for students in ensembles and who have lessons upstairs in the Music Department, allowing them to store instruments securely during the school day. Funds from the hire of these lockers go directly to the Tintern Friends of Music Committee who, in turn, support the musical endeavours of our students through purchases of equipment and funding of special musical experiences. Please email or call our Music Administrator Mrs Feenane, for further details efeenane@tintern.vic.edu.au or 9845 7837.

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