After months of rehearsals, on Wednesday June 2nd,10 students from Merimbula Public School represented the school, Sapphire Coast Learning Community and the Illawarra South East Region to showcase how fantastic public education and their school is, when they performed within a 600 piece Recorder Ensemble at the Sydney Opera House. Their performance was part of the 2010 Festival Of Instrumental Music, one of the highlights of the many music programs offered by public schools and the Department Of Education's Arts Unit. The Festival took place in the magnificent Concert Hall of the Sydney Opera House, involving over 2000 students from Kindergarten to Year 12 over a four-day duration.
The students from Merimbula performed ‘Jese, Joy Of Man's Desiring' by Bach, ‘Home And The Heartland' by Whelan and ‘Krasniye Saposhki', a Russian Folk Song composed by Tracy Burjan, which they performed together with the 200 piece Combined Public School's String Ensemble. Merimbula Public School Principal Michelle Hulme has commented that the participation of Merimbula Public School students was a memorable experience and that on the night of the performance "there was not a dry eye in the House!". "All of the parents from our school who attended the performance were extremely grateful that their child was given such a valuable learning and performance experience. Some even commented that they would recommend the experience to others and that if offered the opportunity for their child to participate again, they would definitely take up the opportunity".
Participation within the Festival Of Instrumental Music provided staff from Merimbula Public the unique opportunity to access professional learning workshops. Mr Peter Claxton, a Year 5 teacher and the school's Band and Recorder Ensemble Coordinator, attended one of the workshops and returned to the school with a range of skills to teach the students. Peter, a new teacher to the area, came to the school with the idea of participating in the festival and within three months established and developed a skilled recorder ensemble within the school.
Students from Merimbula also participated in development workshops. One of these workshops took place at the Opera House and it included a light and sound demonstration, showcasing many features of the Opera House Concert Hall. Another one of the workshops took place at Merimbula Public School on May 10. This workshop was also attended by students from Candelo and Cobargo Public Schools, who also performed at the Opera House in last Monday night's festival performance.
At the Merimbula workshop, students were supported by the Department's Arts Unit Recorder Ensemble Coordinator, Susan Sukkar. Susan, a music educator who works with all ages of students, has performed professionally with many Australian ensembles both within Australia and overseas. She has also studied recorder at a post-graduate level at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music and at the Royal Conservatorium, Den Haag, in Holland. She will also be performing in Shanghai at the World Expo in September. "Having access to such a renowned educator and performer was an excellent experience for local students in itself" commented Michelle.
The students from Merimbula, Candelo and Cobargo Public Schools have now joined together to establish the Sapphire Coast Learning Community's Combined Schools Recorder Ensemble. They will next be performing together at the Sapphire Coast Learning Community's (SCLC) Performing Arts Festival at Eden Marine High School in August.
All of the students from Merimbula Public School are looking forward to performing with other local students at the SCLC Festival to showcase one of the many performing arts programs the school offers its students. Currently at Merimbula Public School, students are able to participate in: the Recorder Ensemble, a Beginner Guitar Program, Beginner Keyboard Tuition, a Wind Instrument Program, Choir and Choral Groups, the School Band Program, a Boy's Hip Hop Dance Program, the Years 3 to 6 Dance Group and other grade-based musical and performing arts opportunities. "We are lucky to have such a talented and dedicated staff who offer a range of performing arts opportunities to our students" commented Michelle.