20 July 2023

Reflections on the Senior Ensembles Camp and upcoming musical milestones

Co-curricular
Reflections on the Senior Ensembles Camp and upcoming musical milestones
Reflections on the Senior Ensembles Camp and upcoming musical milestones
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I have spent this past weekend running and listening to sectionals and rehearsals for the Wind Symphony, Symphony Orchestra, Chamber Strings and Symphonic Band at the annual Senior Ensembles Camp.

It occurred to me in the midst of these activities that it really is such a great way to spend a weekend, and caused me to wonder, when was the first music camp? Who thought of it? A google search ‘when was the first ever music camp in Australia’ revealed that the first National Music Camp (now known as Australian Youth Orchestra) was held in Point Lonsdale, Victoria in 1948.

Rather than by the beach, we find ourselves in a beautiful bush setting in Lower Plenty, alongside the Yarra some 75 years later. The musicians we bring to camp work so hard and make impressive progress in the time they are here. This year it is not just the Victorian Schools Band Festival that we are preparing for, but also the Centenary Concert in September. Carey instrumental staff are integral to the process, running sectionals in between full rehearsals. We were very fortunate this year to engage the services of Jeff Ball, Director of Bands at Grand Street Campus High School in New York, and Conductor of the Brooklyn Wind Symphony. The ensembles responded positively to Jeff’s engaging and energetic rehearsal style; it is always beneficial to offer fresh perspectives from international guests and we are grateful to Jeff for the wisdom he offered the groups.

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In early May, a number of our brass players attended the Sound the Trumpet concert, featuring James Fountain, Principal Trumpet in the London Symphony Orchestra. This was a rare opportunity for the students to hear one of the world’s greatest trumpet players perform live, and those that attended gained much inspiration from the experience. Year 10 student Hamish took the opportunity to meet Mr Fountain for a photo and a chat! Students engaging with live performance is really important for their own development as performers and we certainly encourage our Carey musicians to attend such performances, whether formal or more informal in nature.

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Hamish (Year 10) with Principal Trumpeter for the London Symphony Orchestra, James Fountain
Hamish (Year 10) with Principal Trumpeter for the London Symphony Orchestra, James Fountain

This is another big term with preparation for nine of our ensembles who will be performing at the Victorian School Music Festival through July and August. Times and dates will be shared with families in the hope that some might be able to attend and support these performances. There is also much happening behind the scenes preparing for our Centenary Concert at the Melbourne Recital Centre on Monday 4 September. This celebration of music at Carey will feature a work commissioned by Melbourne based composer, Edward Fairlie. Rehearsals have begun for this, generating much excitement.

A final thank you to the Middle School Musical Creative Team, cast, musicians and students who brought us Oliver! in Term 2. It is always such a wonderful way to move into the Term 2 holidays with engaging performances that show case our Middle School students and speak to their love of the Performing Arts. Most of the students on the stage are involved more broadly in the program through bands, string groups and choirs, and manage all of activities with good humour, energy and above all, an incredible sense of commitment.

Sally Davis
Head of Performing Arts and Acting Learning Area Co-ordinator – Music

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