St Andrew's Cathedral School

Noah shocked to discover joy of singing

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Student profile

Noah Oshiro – 2018 Year 12 graduate and School Captain

Noah Oshiro (OA2018) hated singing as a child. So, when his Mum broke the news that he would be attending St Andrew’s Cathedral School, she was careful to warn Noah that he’d be singing within a few weeks, whether he liked it or not.

“I said to her, ‘no I won’t. I hate singing. I won’t do it’,” Noah confessed. “But Mum knew better.”

Noah’s two older brothers also hated singing. But according to Noah, they were singing everywhere around the house once they started at St Andrew’s. Sure enough, Noah followed suit.

“I was definitely singing within a couple of weeks as well, which Mum thought was hilarious.”

The three Oshiro brothers have since graduated from St Andrew’s Cathedral School. All three entered the school as cellists and, despite their early protests, they left the school as cellists who loved to sing. Noah can even recall a time when his older brother Yoshi passionately talked a student out of giving up singing.  

“My friend had a really nice voice, but he would say I’m never going to sing, it’s embarrassing. And Yoshi literally wouldn’t take no for an answer,” Noah said. “My friend ended up being in a few of the school choirs, he went on the music tours, and he was even the front man in a band I was in. Everyone fell in love with his voice. I think his Mum was very thankful to Yoshi.”

St Andrew’s Cathedral School was established in 1885 as a school for the choir boys of the Cathedral. Much has changed about the school since that time but a deep passion for music remains a strong feature. That passion became quickly apparent to Noah when he first started attending the school.

“At St Andrew’s you’re always surrounded by music. It’s not uncommon to find an environment where people appreciate music. But it’s quite another thing to find a place where people are passionate about it, and it makes such a big difference. You’re going to grow quite differently as a musician but also as a person, depending on which environment you find yourself in.”

One way the school’s passion for music finds expression is on the regular music tours which give students the opportunity to travel and perform overseas. Noah counts his experiences on two separate music tours to the USA and the UK as pivotal moments in his development as a musician.

“On the trip to the US I fell in love with jazz,” Noah said. “We watched the Brubreck brothers play at Dizzy Gillespie’s jazz club next to Central Park and the performance was mind-blowing because I had never really listened to jazz music live. It pushed me outside of the classical world that I was familiar with.

“The UK trip was really special performance wise; we were able to sing at Westminster Abbey. I was proud of the way we sounded by the end of the tour and I realised if you work hard as a group it makes a huge impact on the sound you can make.”

Noah has long held aspirations to pursue a career in music. He’s now in his final year of a Bachelor of Music (Performance) at the Conservatorium of Music and he holds a position within the Sydney Symphony Orchestra’s fellowship programme which provides 10 young pre-professional musicians with a bursary and a year-long contract.

In his final year at school, Noah performed ‘Dance of the Elves’ by David Popper at the school’s commissioning service for the incoming student leadership team.

Aside from music, Noah’s second love has always been Rugby Union. From Year 7 to Year 10, Noah was the captain of his year’s rugby team which was an experience that laid the groundwork for his later selection as School Captain in Year 12.

“I’ve always been a huge footy head,” he said “There’s so much I learnt about myself through rugby but also I learnt how to lead a team. I learnt a lot about what works, what doesn’t, when to be harsh and when to be encouraging, and how to be honest about your own mistakes within the team. There’s something really unique about having that experience and knowing how to deal with tricky situations and making quick decisions.”

Noah considers the sporting field a melting pot of conviction and action. In Year 11 and Year 12, both conviction and action came together for Noah’s rugby team when they made a conscious decision to watch the younger students’ games in the hope that those students would feel encouraged and supported.

It was an initiative Noah felt prepared to take part in thanks to his own experience of feeling encouraged and supported. According to Noah, there were several teachers who consciously decided to invest in him during his years at St Andrew’s.

“I had Selwyn Wu as a teacher in Year 5 or 6 and that particular relationship was important,” he remembered. “I thought I was a bit too cool for school and Mr Wu sat me down and drew this picture telling me about carrying yourself in the same way no matter who you’re hanging out with. Not changing who you are but sticking with your values. I still have that diary with the diagram in it.”

“I feel like I owe a lot to St Andrew’s. It’s not just that I’ve had lots of opportunities, I’ve just had such a good time here. There are definitely feelings I will never forget and moments that I won’t leave behind.”

It’s a life lesson Noah will carry with him as he heads towards a career in the music industry and leaves behind his high school days. Although leaving high school behind may be easier said than done.

“I feel like I owe a lot to St Andrew’s. It’s not just that I’ve had lots of opportunities, I’ve just had such a good time here. There are definitely feelings I will never forget and moments that I won’t leave behind,” he said.

Today, Noah continues to be involved in the school’s music department as a music tutor.