A prefect-led music competition that started in 2011 as a piano-only event has grown into a multi-round event adjudicated by independent professional musicians, with categories for strings, piano, vocal, wind and brass, pop/rock/jazz and, from 2018, world music.
“Each year it has grown, partially due to the growth of the school, but also due to the large numbers of excellent musicians we now have at Parnell College,” said Head of Music Julie Garner. Industry leading professionals are asked to judge each division of the event. “Having this level of adjudication means students are provided with high-quality feedback on their performance.”
Thirty students took part in the event at ACG Parnell College Senior Campus, with eleven making the finals. Performances ranged from beatboxing to jazz, classical Western to classical Eastern. Students ranged in age from Year 7 to Year 13.
Dr Garner said seeing students improve year on year was a highlight.
“I have tremendous admiration for them. Even when small mistakes are made, they’re learning to use music as a vehicle to communicate and express themselves. They are putting themselves in a very uncomfortable situation, and by doing so, learning how to deal with pressure, overcome obstacles and perform at their best under enormous scrutiny. These are immensely valuable, transferable skills that our young performers are developing.”
Prefect Eric Lu, Year 13, helped organise and photograph the event. His highlights were the talented pianists, the judges’ encouragement for those that didn’t make the final, and the student organisers who rushed to help when equipment was malfunctioning.
Events like this are about more than entertainment, he said.
“They strengthen our understanding of each other as well as encouraging us to appreciate the magnificent creativity and spirituality ingrained in humankind.”
Ben Lamb, another prefect, was one of the main organisers.
“The competition gave our talented art and cultural students a chance to perform and show off their incredible talent, which doesn’t always get the recognition it deserves,” he said.
“Events like this provide them the opportunity to shine.”