Dave Grohl, artist with both Nirvana and Foo Fighters, is quoted as saying, ‘That’s one of the great things about music: you can sing a song to 85,000 people and they’ll sing it back for 85,000 different reasons.’
Our relationship with music is defined by our own experiences and intentions. For some, music is a vocation, a long-term ambition. For others, it is a short-term goal, for pleasure, a sense of community, a happy place, mindfulness. Whatever the reason, the music staff at Carey are eager to support the musical growth of our students, catering to the specifics of their personal journey and connection to the art form. The past two years have been difficult for the Performing Arts the world over. Our collective hope is that our engagement with the students this year comes closer to a sense of ‘normal’.
While school officially returned on 28 January, the Performing Arts department was already busy with various rehearsals and workshops. The Senior School Musical began its intensive on 18 January, working solidly for five days on singing, choreography and acting. Mamma Mia! is certainly an energetic show and the cast and musicians are embracing the challenges associated with the quantity of songs in a number of different styles – but it is anticipated that the audience will be unable to resist dancing and singing along to these great ABBA tunes!
The Big Band and Stage Band were involved in an afternoon workshop prior to school returning, which saw guest clinicians come in to work with the bands as a whole and in smaller sectionals. This is a great opportunity for the students to focus on specifics of the music and learn more about style and ensemble playing. One student who was unable to attend even dropped in on Teams so he could participate in the trumpet sectional! The Big Band and Stage Band are working towards participation in the Victorian State Jazz Championships in first semester and this has been a really positive start to their preparation.
The Senior Chamber Choir also came in prior to school returning for a rehearsal intensive. Singing though masks is challenging, but the group is still able to achieve authentic outcomes in terms of part singing and vocal skill development. The Carey Performing Arts department is committed to observing all expected protocols for the safety of both staff and students, so all choirs will remain masked for the time being; how joyous it will be when they can finally sing without them again.
Instrumental lessons and ensembles are all back up and running so there is plenty of music emanating from the rooms around the department. As with the choirs, safety for all staff and students is our priority so masks where possible, windows and doors open and distancing in rehearsals is all being observed. I am always impressed by how well the students manage all of this, and the usual enthusiasm for learning music is clearly being demonstrated.
There will be many performances to share with you this term. Our Senior Ensembles present on 16 March at the Senior Ensemble Concert and we look forward to sharing that event with you together in the MGH. Ensemble Presentation week begins on 21 March. During this week, you will be invited to come and hear the groups perform the work they have achieved since the start of term, during their usual rehearsal time. Mamma Mia! will open on 1 April – mark it in the calendar!
The Performing Arts department is looking forward to a great year of music and theatre in 2022 and the opportunity to share it with our Carey community.
Head of Performing Arts