Middle School 7-9

Performing Arts

Students are transformed by participation in our performing arts programmes. Success in music, drama and dance asks for courage and persistence.

St Andrew’s Cathedral School has long been a leader within the independent school sector in Performing Arts. From our beginnings in 1885 as a Choir School, we have a proud history of music education. Music is central to the life of our school. While the Cathedral Choir has a reputation for developing quality vocalists, the School has also played a major role in the development of professional concert musicians and actors. 

Our teaching team across performing arts draws upon professional performance careers, technical knowledge of Performing Arts, and backgrounds in a range of subject-specific specialisations such as acting, conducting, instrumental and vocal pedagogy, ethnomusicology, improvisation, theatre production and musical theatre.

Music 

Music can be experienced in the classroom, in ensembles and through individual tuition on an instrument or voice.

The Music Department engages a large number of visiting instrumental teaching staff, covering a wide range of vocal, string, wind, brass, keyboard and percussion instruments. Individual and group lessons are offered weekly during term time. Each student who is learning privately is encouraged to participate in Music Ensembles. These ensembles are graded so that each student can be placed into a group appropriate to their level of proficiency. These activities are designed to supplement and extend the work that is covered in private lessons and also to provide performance opportunities at various concerts that are arranged during the year.

Classroom Music can be selected as an elective subject in Years 8 and 9, and is studied by all students in Year 7. Opportunities are also available to attend international music and drama tours, and a musical or major drama production takes place in professional venues in alternate years. 

Middle school music ensembles

Alongside the individual and group lessons offered, students are encouraged to participate in an ensemble. These ensembles are graded so that each student can be placed into a group appropriate to their level of proficiency.

The ensembles on offer currently are listed below. Some of these ensembles are auditioned:

  • Cello Ensemble
  • Chamber Choir
  • Chamber Music
  • Chamber Orchestra
  • Concert Band
  • Jazz Band
  • Jazz Orchestra
  • Jazz Combos
  • Middle School and Senior College Chapel Bands
  • Middle School Choir
  • Middle School String Ensemble
  • Rock bands
  • Saxophone Ensemble
  • Senior Choir
  • Symphony Orchestra
  • Boys Vocal Ensemble
  • Girls Vocal Ensemble
  • Wind Quintet
  • Wind Symphony

Concert and performance opportunities

All instrumental students are to perform in at least one concert or assembly each year. 

There are many performance opportunities provided by the School:

  • Public lunch-time concerts in the Cathedral on Mondays
  • Performances at every assembly
  • Weekly Maestros concerts on Thursdays after school
  • Soirées presented by instrumental and singing tutors once a year
  • Showcase Concert held annually
  • Performances (gigs) around the city for charities and business functions
  • End of year Evening of Celebration and Prize-giving and special award assemblies
  • School events such as Christmas carols etc.

Dance

Our Dance Ensembles provide students with opportunities to develop dance technique and performance skills for inclusion in dance competitions across Sydney. Classes are run two days a week after school, where students develop technique and choreograph the performance numbers under the direction of our highly experienced and talented guest dance teachers. 

Dance Ensembles are open to all secondary students as cocurricular options, from Years 7-12, and we run multiple ensembles, divided by age, experience, and desire to compete.

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Drama

A variety of drama groups and ensembles operate throughout the year. 

Drama can also be selected as an elective subject in Years 8 and 9.

A number of drama ensembles are offered as additional co-curricular activities for students across Years 7 to 9 and provide training and performance opportunities for all participants.

These ensembles include:

The goal of these ensembles is to promote confidence and problem-solving skills, increase social and self-awareness, and develop acting and public speaking skills in a dynamic learning environment. Our professional Theatresports coach Mr Dave Callan runs three age-based ensembles. No prior experience is necessary and entry is open to all.

Students learn the improvisation skills required for Theatresports competition and may be selected to represent the School in the Theatresports Schools Challenge.

Theatresports training:

  • Theatresports Juniors Years 7-8 Monday 3.30pm-5pm
  • Theatresports Intermediate Years 9-10 Thursday 3.30pm-5pm

All Year 7 students are welcome to join the Year 7 Drama Club, which runs on Thursdays from 3.30pm-4.30pm. This group will explore the basics of improvisation, drama games and play-building. Early in Term 4, students present a short work to parents in a workshop context after school.

Year 8-9 students are invited to audition for this ensemble, which occurs in late Term 1, with rehearsals beginning in Term 2. The group works towards presenting a piece of scripted drama over a three-night run late in Term 3.

The biennual major drama production is cast from Year 10-12 students by audition. The 2021 production of Mr Burns was directed by Ryan Desauliner and performed in Chapter House. The 2020 production of Jane Eyre was directed by Mrs Ashleigh Chakarovski and performed in the BBC Auditorium.

The biennial school musical is a highly professional extravaganza involving actors, musicians, dancers and singers across the School. It takes place on the alternate year to the major drama production. The 2019 production of Fiddler on the Roof was a huge success, and involved more than 150 students. Auditions for the 2022 production of Annie were held in Term 3, with rehearsals starting in Term 4, 2021.

Recent musicals have included:

  • Annie, Chapter House, 2022
  • Fiddler on the Roof, Parade Theatre, NIDA, 2019
  • The Wizard of Oz, Parade Theatre, NIDA, 2017
  • Peter Pan, Concourse Theatre, Chatswood, 2015
  • Beauty and the Beast, Parade Theatre, NIDA, 2013
  • Children of Eden, Parade Theatre, NIDA, 2011
  • Paris, Seymour Theatre Centre, 2009
  • Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dream Coat, Sydney Square, 2008
  • Guys and Dolls, Seymour Theatre Centre, 2008
  • Les Miserables, St Andrew’s Cathedral Chapter House, 2007
  • Pirates of Penzance, Seymour Theatre Centre, 2006
  • Godspell, St Andrew’s Cathedral, 2005
  • West Side Story, Footbridge Theatre, 2003
  • Oliver, in association with St Vincent’s College, 1998

For more information on St Andrew’s Performing Arts programme

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