A Uniting Church coeducational independent day and boarding school in Marion, South Australia
Early Learning to Year 12

Director of Music - Edition 6 - 2019

Westminster Jazz Night 2019

Well done to all students who took part in the annual Westminster Jazz Night for 2019 which was held at the Governor Hindmarsh Hotel last week. It was a great opportunity for our Jazz Ensemble and three Big Bands to play their chosen repertoire before heading down to Generations in Jazz.

Thanks also to Gata (our most recent Old Scholars jazz ensemble) who played some background music before the school ensembles started. Current students Steve Dinning (drums) and Jasper Cundell (bass) were joined by Dan Wakim ('18), Grant Robertson ('18) and Kiri Gerbi (’18), and played for 45 minutes before heading to their regular gig at the Publishers Hotel on Wednesday night.

Congratulations to all the students for their first public performance for the year, to the Directors of all of the ensembles, and thank you to everyone who came along and supported the students’ performance.

Generations in Jazz

This year’s National Big Band and Vocal Jazz competition attracted over 5200 students from all over Australia and New Zealand. All states in Australia were represented.

On Friday 3 May, before the festival started, Big Band 1 were invited to perform outside the James Morrison Academy on the main corner in Mt Gambier. Big Band 1 were joined by the only student representative from the Northern Territory who played along with the Westminster band as well as some other bands during the day. It attracted some very positive comments from John Morrison (who was our MC and is the brother of James Morrison).

Held in Mt Gambier at the first weekend in May, the festival included a full day’s competition and three professional concerts for the students and the public.

Big Bands 1, 2 and 3 and the Small Jazz Ensemble all performed very well.

My thanks to all the students who not only performed but really gave wonderful support to each other. Thanks also to the staff who attended: Mr McLachlan, Ms Gould, Mrs Dunbar and Mr Taylor. It was lovely to see so many parents and families at Mt Gambier supporting the students.

Autumn Gala

Thursday 16 May, Latvian Hall Wayville

We would warmly invite the Westminster community to our Autumn Gala event. This year we are running a cabaret night with performances by the Senior Concert Band, Big Bands, Prep Concert Band, Senior Orchestra, Jazz Ensemble and Rock Bands. It will be held at the Latvian Hall, 4 Clark Street, Wayville, beginning at 7.00 pm. There are full bar facilities available.

This will be the first performance for many of our bands, and we are looking forward to presenting this to you in a relaxed, cabaret style format.

Tickets are available through www.trybooking.com/BBVQS

Appalachian Spring Project

Towards the end of Term 1, Amy Liew (Year 11 Forder) was accepted to participate in the Appalachian Spring Project, a creative project run by the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra, which brought together fifteen musicians and six dancers between the ages of fifteen and eighteen to compose and choreograph a new work. The work drew inspiration from Appalachian Spring, a 1944 ballet with music by Aaron Copland and choreography by Martha Graham.

In Amy's own words, "Over six days, we were given small snippets of music from the original score, and in small groups, we expanded this to create music of our own. Most of the people participating in the project - including myself - had never really composed music before, but we were joined by several members of the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra who provided us with invaluable advice and helped us expand on our skills.

The project culminated with a concert at Elder Hall showcasing our work. We were joined by thirteen members of the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra who played the original score alongside our music. In total, we composed about twenty minutes of original music, which amazingly, we managed to perform by memory - another thing most of us had never done before. The inclusion of dance was a new one this year, and we had an interesting time combining music and dance (the image of fifteen musicians attempting to dance while playing is one I will never be able to forget!). I know I speak for everyone involved when I say that we all enjoyed ourselves immensely. I know that I personally greatly improved my previously practically non-existent composing skills and gained a fascinating insight into how a professional orchestra works and rehearses".

Government House Performance

The Westminster String Ensemble accepted another invitation this week to provide music for the Duke of Edinburgh's International Gold Award ceremony at Government House. Of the 30 recipients to receive Gold awards, 15 were Westminster students.

The string ensemble played for 20 minutes before the ceremony and then performed the Vice Regal Salute for the Governor. Thank you to Ms Gould and Mrs Symonds for preparing the students.

Congratulations to Josh Gomez (Year 11 Carter), Hannah Gomez (Year 9 Carter), Phoenix Pereira (Year 9 Heaslip) and Isabella Stephenson (Year 9 Fricker) for their involvement in this event.

Michael Degenhart
Director of Music