My psychic powers must have been finely tuned a couple of months ago. I was driving past St Ives High School on my way to do some private teaching and I casually wondered what was happening in their music department. Did they have a choir? Or a stage band? Or a concert band? The very next day I received an unsolicited email from the St Ives music teacher, Kimberley Lovell asking us to bring our workshops to their school.
St Ives is surrounded by other state high schools with major music programs, and feels that it is time they pulled out all the stops to build music department.
John had a great time with the concert band and stage band. They are all young and enthusiastic players who are keen to have more opportunities to play.
My job was to take a group of talented singers and turn them into a vocal ensemble. 11 singers (10 girls, 1 boy) came to have a go at singing in harmony. After working out who was soprano and who was alto, we got down to business learning 2 choir charts – “Blackbird” by Lennon/McCartney and “Count on Me” by Bruno Mars.
Towards the end of the day, we all came together and performed what we had learned for each other.
In the evening, we were joined by St Ives Public School, lead by Gerald Steinmann, and St Ives North Public School, lead by Peter Blythe, and everyone played for family and friends who came to watch. John joined the stage band for his crazy antics on “Caravan” and even sat in with St Ives North for a little rhumba tune. The high school students helped out by playing in any empty chairs in the primary school bands. Our newly formed vocal group, only 11 hours old and a little short on numbers, did me proud!
John and I surprised the students by inviting 2 young musicians to play a couple of tunes with us. William and Harry Morrison (John’s nephews) brought their guitar and bass and braved the horrendous storm to play “Honeysuckle Rose” and “Pink Champagne”. St Ives trumpeter, Travis Loughhead, even sat in on the blues.
The vocalists have all committed to attending regular rehearsals with Mrs Jodi Thomas, and will actively recruit other singers to build the numbers. And with great bands already at the 2 local primary schools, St Ives High School can look forward to enthusiastic and talented musicians heading their way in the coming years.
It was a great night for all.