Instrumental Music news

Father Daughter Dinner

This week was the sitting of the Father Daughter Dinner, where the winners of the Gillies Chamber Music Competition (Instrumental and Vocal Divisions) provided delightful entertainment for the appreciative audience. Our students delivered professional and polished performances alongside BGGS accompanist, Mrs Kathy Sander. The Instrumental Music department is excited to provide musical support for this wonderful event and we thank our staff and students for all their preparation work.

Isabella Pak (12O), Michelle Jeong (12W), and Irene Shim (11G) entertaining the audience at the Father Daughter Dinner

Isabel Shorrock-Browne (12R), Sally Grice (12E), Sophia Carroll (12L), Sofia Cirino (12O) performing at the Father Daughter Dinner

Music Support Group News

The last couple of years have been difficult for parents—streamed or recorded concerts have given students valuable performance opportunities—but we’ve missed out on connecting with other parents. This has been particularly different for parents new to the School since 2020, many of whom have missed the chance to meet other parents completely. The Music Support Group’s Soiree is your opportunity to socialise with other BGGS Music parents in a relaxed setting, with some amazing musical performances thrown in for your entertainment.

Please join us on Saturday 8 October for Musical Flavours. Tickets are now on sale at https://events.humanitix.com/bggs-music-parents-soiree-2022.

Please contact the Music Support Group at msgbggs@gmail.com if you have any questions.

Australian Honours Ensemble Program (AHEP) and State Honours Ensemble Program (SHEP) Students

Over the approaching school holidays, 15 of our BGGS Instrumental Music students have been selected to participate in one of two Honours ensemble programs at the Queensland Conservatorium. The Australian Honours Ensemble Program (AHEP) and the State Honours Ensemble Program (SHEP) are two of Australia’s most prestigious music events for school-aged musicians. It is quite a privilege to have our School represented in these programs by so many of our wonderfully talented students. At AHEP and SHEP, students will work with some of Australia’s foremost musicians, clinicians, and conductors, culminating in a series of concerts at their conclusion.

Our students representing BGGS at AHEP are:

Emily Chang (7O), Bella Cheng (9B), Eleanor Cowen (12L), Pascal Green (12G), Michelle Jeong (12W), Aurora Lin (7B), Isabella Peters (12E), and Lisa Walsham (10R).

Our students representing BGGS at SHEP are:

Margaret Barrett-Beck (9W), Alyssa Godinho (10B), Samara Kohn (12L), Dorothy Rae (10G), Orli Wachtel (9B), Cate Ward (9B), MeiMei Zhang (9W).

We are very proud of all students’ achievements and wish them well at AHEP and SHEP. Thank you to the Instrumental Music staff who are all pivotal to the development and achievement of our students.

Talent search

We are looking for talented students who may have an interest in playing or finding out more about, one of the more important and rare instruments. We are specifically looking for students who may be interested in discovering more about the Tuba, Double Bass, Viola, or Euphonium. Maybe you are currently playing another instrument and want to accelerate your way through our ensemble structure by playing one of these rarer instruments. Perhaps you are a Trumpet player with braces and would like a similar instrument that is less taxing on the embouchure. Or maybe you just want to be like the cool kids and play an instrument that few others can.

Whatever your reasoning, we would love to meet you to talk through it all. Please see Ms Porter, Mr Zorzetto, or Mr Johnston as soon as possible to find out more.

Jessica Allinson (7B) performing on the Euphonium

Dorothy Rae (10G) with Mrs Kerry Nian rehearsing on the Tuba

Annabel Wang (10R) and Brielle Porter (9O) playing their Double Basses

Gala ‘thank you’ morning tea for CPC and BGGS Facilities staff

We took a moment this week to say our thanks to CPC Production Services and our BGGS Facilities team who were all so integral to the success of this year’s Gala Concert production. Murray and his team at CPC, who have worked on our Gala productions for more than 20 years, were unflustered by the enormity of the event and ensured that everything looked and sounded brilliant from the audience’s perspective. Mr Chris Bailey, Acting Property and Capital Works Manager, and the BGGS Facilities team, as always, were an incredibly supportive force in the movement and transport of the tonnes of equipment that we required for this year’s Gala Concert. We extend our deep appreciation to these wonderful professionals who support us in all the creative endeavours we undertake. The delicious morning tea was graciously provided by the BGGS Music Support Group, who keep the Instrumental Music department so very well looked after and well-resourced throughout the year.

Gala 'thank you' morning tea for CPC and BGGS Facilities

Year 12 Farewell

Each year, we say ‘thank you’ and bid a fond farewell to our Year 12 Instrumental Music students in a special evening celebration at BGGS. This year, on Tuesday 11 October, we will have the opportunity to extend our deep gratitude and best wishes to our wonderful 2022 Year 12 girls. It is a bittersweet moment when we look across the room at all of the students who have made such a long and lasting commitment to their music education at BGGS. It is an evening where we look back fondly at their first steps inside our school, their progression over the years, and their triumphant final moments with us at BGGS. We hope that all our Year 12 students and their families can attend this evening with us. Stay tuned for further details in the coming weeks.

Our 2022 Music Captains: Pascal Green (12G); Maddy Khoo (12E); and Sally Grice (12E)

From the teaching studio

Hearing the dulcet tones emanating from Mrs Dias-Jayasinha’s teaching studio this week, we couldn’t walk by without a chat with Eloise Christie (10H), Molly Cooper (10W), and Isabella Smith (10W) about their involvement in Instrumental Music vocal lessons at BGGS.

As you have recently finished your exam block and are now approaching the holidays, in what way do you plan to use music to help you relax over the break?

Eloise—’Even during exam block I used music regularly in my life to relax as it helped me to focus and tune in for my exams. During the holidays, I will continue to use music just for the love and enjoyment of it by singing just around the house or whenever I have a chance.’

Molly—’I love listening to music over the holidays and in my spare time to help me to relax. I find that listening to music definitely helps me to de-stress and calm down in order to unwind over the holidays and come back to School fully refreshed.’

Isabella—’Now that our Term 3 holidays are within reach, I have more time over the break to develop and memorise my chosen song in preparation for the Term 4 vocal performances. However, listening to my favourite playlists blaring in the car on my way home would be my number one way to relax with music after a tiring Term.’

Try to imagine your School life without Music in it. How would that potentially change your School experience?

Eloise—’I feel like music is such a large aspect of my School life I find it hard to imagine my life without it, but it would definitely be really dull! Music makes my School life more well-rounded and gives me a chance to learn skills that you cannot learn in the classroom.’

Molly—’As I have been involved in the Instrumental Music program for the majority of my time at BGGS, I think my School experience would have changed greatly if there wasn’t a program. It has helped me make connections with others in the School community and I have had the opportunity to attend many amazing concerts that I wouldn’t have been able to attend if I had not been involved in Instrumental Music.’

Isabella—’It would definitely be a lot less eventful! From singing at Gala Concert and Speech Day or attending band workshops and our highly anticipated Movie Magic concerts, Music at Girls Grammar is a great way for me to do what I love surrounded by talented and creative people who enjoy it just as much.’

Your group seems to gel quite well together. What do you see as the benefits of the small group Instrumental Music tuition offered here at BGGS?

Eloise—’I love group lessons at BGGS as it gives us a chance to learn in a fun environment with our friends.’

Molly—’Being in a small group has been great, I like that it allows you to build connections with your peers and teachers in a way that is slightly different to rehearsals, etc.’

Isabella—’It was definitely nerve-wracking when I first decided to signup for singing lessons, so joining a group where we were all just starting to find our own voice was reassuring. Now, knowing the girls in my group for ages, lessons are more fun, and we’ve all become more comfortable not just with each other, but with projecting our voices and really tuning our techniques. It’s a lot more entertaining singing with others anyway!’

Mrs Dias-Jayasinha kindly offered us some of her thoughts on music education.

You spend your professional life performing, teaching, and conducting music. Does it still have a place in your free/recreation time?

Mrs Dias-Jayasinha—’Music certainly holds a place in my free time. I especially enjoy going to concerts and musicals to primarily relax and unwind whilst at the same time filling myself with creative ideas and inspiration.  I do have to say, though, that after a full day of music teaching—silence is golden!’

Thinking back to your own schooling, what do you see as the main similarities and differences between your experience and what is on offer to BGGS students via the Instrumental Music program?

Mrs Dias-Jayasinha—’I attended a Catholic high school with a strong music tradition, so there was a lot of sacred music sung at school assemblies, liturgies, and concerts balanced with secular material.  The Instrumental Music Department was my happy place in high school. I had a sense that I was contributing to the school community and that I belonged. Being a part of the orchestra (playing clarinet back then!) and the choir were my central focus throughout my high school life. I feel that creative expression and belonging are certainly offered here through the BGGS Instrumental Music program. Music students are celebrated and acknowledged for what they contribute.’

Although singing can be a deeply personal/individual experience, there is something particularly stirring about a choir singing beautifully together. What is it about a collection of human voices working together that makes it so special?

Mrs Dias-Jayasinha—’A choir singing beautifully together is a tangible way to experience human connection at its best. Singing in ‘harmony’ with each other is exactly that! The individuals within the choir come together as a collective—the overall sound being the sum of its parts. When this beautiful sound reaches an audience, we are moved—hearts open and we feel connected to each other. That is why it is so special.’

The importance of rest

The approaching holiday period for students is an excellent opportunity to ‘unplug’ from the dynamic world of modern schooling. The hours invested in a BGGS student’s liberal education are considerable and, for some, can be all-encompassing. Possessing the time, space, and inclination to ‘decompress’ is crucial to recovery, consolidation, and energising for the upcoming final Term of the year.

Rest and relaxation can take many forms and a conscious decision needs to be made to take part in restful activities to provide genuine rejuvenation. It is too easy to fill our time with tasks, chores, or jobs in an effort to feel as though we are being ‘productive’. The multiple benefits of rest and relaxation, as well as some tips for achieving this, are contained in this excellent Forbes Women article.

Experiencing regular and meaningful periods of rest and relaxation is healing and regenerative for the human mind and body and, therefore, is worthwhile to pursue as part of a balanced life. We are encouraged when we see our students involved in myriad activities—ones that challenge them, bring them joy, and help them mix with their peers. Balancing this with opportunities to ‘recharge’ is crucial to the benefits of the activities themselves.

We hope our Instrumental Music staff, students, and their families have an opportunity to experience good periods of rest and relaxation over this mid-semester break and that everyone enjoys an enriching and restorative holiday.

Mr Paul Johnston
Assistant Director of Instrumental Music

Looking ahead

  • Music Support Group Meeting—Wednesday 5 October
  • Music Parents Soiree—Saturday 8 October
  • Year 12 Farewell—Tuesday 11 October
  • New Year 7 Auditions—Friday 28 and Saturday 29 October