Some of our more eagle-eyed members may have noticed Carolynn Everett’s unusual absence from rehearsal the other Thursday. Here she tells us why she was absent………
It’s Thursday night, and we are walking into the school grounds for a 7.30 start – but this week we are not at Collaroy Plateau PS, and there will be no choir here. Instead, we are at Epping West PS for the Pre-Tour concert of their award-winning Concert Band.
The school hall is abuzz, with lots of excited families waiting … and then the band, looking very smart in their black pants and black polo shirts, file in, and take their places – almost 40 of them.
And so the concert begins: this is a tight ensemble, and the kids quickly get into the swing of things.
Perennial school band favourites such as ”Gonna Fly Now” (the theme from the movie “Rocky”) and “George of the Jungle” are all played with great style. These children understand that different kinds of music have a different ‘feel’, and they adapt easily to each new chart. We tap our toes as they play “The best of ‘Queen’ ” and a medley of Henry Mancini tunes, “Jai Ho” (from “Slumdog Millionaire”), a calypso medley, and Sia’s “Cheap Thrills”, amongst other musical treats.
There are some outstanding band members, including a fantastic kit-drummer, who is rock-steady, and rarely takes his eyes off the conductor. The girl who leads the trumpet section is another stand-out: a confident player, with a very nice tone.
This band is very fortunate to have a very experienced, highly-skilled musician as their conductor. He shows us the latest trophies the band has won, and these are passed around the audience during the concert for us all to admire.
The conductor tells us about their forthcoming tour, which will take place in the first week after the school holidays. The band will travel to the Blue Mountains, where they will visit four schools: at each school they will do a workshop with the local school band, and then they will do a concert. They will be working hard, but it will be a fantastic experience, and they will learn such a lot.
During each concert the various sections of the band will be introduced, and the members of each section will play a few bars of their part from the band’s next number. Tonight may well be the first time that some of these children have played a ‘solo’ like this, but they all do very well.
After about an hour, it’s all over. With a final reminder that, in spite of tonight’s concert, “There will be band practice tomorrow morning before school!” the band plays their last number. We, the audience, have had a great night, and the band has too.
How lucky these children are to have the opportunity to play in a concert band like this! Not only are they learning to play an instrument, but they are learning how to be team players, and they are being exposed to many different kinds of music. Hopefully they will continue to enjoy music, as players and/or as listeners, throughout their school years, and beyond! Many of them have already performed on the Sydney Opera House stage, so who knows just how far some of them will go …
PS I will, of course, be back at Choir next week!
PPS I should probably ‘confess’ that the conductor mentioned is our younger son, Mike, and our grandson, Harrison, who is 14, was helping out on tuba.