The rising stars of Carey’s ensemble program

It has been great to welcome students back to Term 2 after the break and what was a busy Term 1 in the Performing Arts department. Congratulations firstly must go to the cast and creatives of Mamma Mia! for a wonderful production. In a term where COVID-19 interruptions caused disruptions to rehearsals, we did wait with bated breath to see if there would be a whole cast on opening night. Fortunately, we did for opening and every subsequent night, and were grateful to be able to share the joy of the production with our school community.

There were several performances throughout Term 1 that showcased all of our ensembles, and the ‘Ensemble Week’ was a great success. It is important to be able to share as often as possible with our Carey community and thank you to those families and care givers who joined us at various rehearsals throughout the week to hear the progress the ensembles have made. Commencement Service and formal assessments have also been an opportunity to showcase various groups.

It is not only within the school however that our students enjoy performance opportunities. On Friday 29 April, our String Quintet of Cathy, Benjamin, Samantha, Anton and George performed for the 60th Anniversary of the Eva Tilley Memorial Home. Their performance was met with great enthusiasm from those in attendance and thank you to String Co-ordinator, Chris Kopke, for rehearsing and supervising the group.

On Sunday 1 May, Year 12 student and Music Captain Jamie represented Carey as the featured rising star soloist with the Darryl McKenzie Jazz Orchestra. This is a professional ensemble that performs regularly around Melbourne. Of note for this performance was that Jamie was supported by his Carey Big Band Director, Roger Schmidli, and his saxophone teacher, James Bradley. Jamie’s alto saxophone performance of a beautiful ballad was very well received by the audience and band members, and Jamie’s own enthusiasm for the experience was reflected in the comment he made to me on the evening, that he was ‘living his best life’.

There is much discipline involved in learning an instrument. Practice needs to be engaged with on a regular basis, and young musicians need the patience to keep working when things become more challenging. Ensemble involvement is an important part of the development process, and we are fortunate at Carey to have skilled staff working with the groups and providing authentic and educational musical experiences. Both Jamie and the String Quintet this week demonstrated the results of putting in the hard work, committing to the instrument and being able to collaborate with others. They were fine examples of the excellence that is achieved within the Performing Arts department at Carey.

Sally Davis
Head of Performing Arts

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