Instrumental Music Program
The College music program offers diverse opportunities for students to learn music. There are currently three instrumental music teachers covering the main instrument groups including brass (trumpet, trombone, euphonium, French horn, tuba), woodwind (flute, clarinet, saxophone) percussion (drums, piano, tuned percussion) and voice. Contemporary styles are also catered for with instruments such as guitar, bass guitar, drum kit and keyboard.
The concert band ‘Bandemonium’ is the College’s advanced ensemble, and is the pathway for our brass, wind and percussion students. Given the challenging nature of the musical arrangements this ensemble is generally an option for students who have been playing for at least one full year. A full length program of music is learned and performed over the course of each school year.
‘Bandemonium’ has been on tour most years in recent times both locally and interstate to locations such as Adelaide, Brisbane, Sydney and Gippsland. This gives our students a taste of life as part of a professional band, and provides the chance to meet and perform with many like-minded students from other regions.
Primary School Tour
Most years, ‘Bandemonium’ tours around to our local feeder primary schools which include Alexandra Primary, St Mary’s, Eildon Primary, Buxton Primary and Marysville Primary. This provides a great opportunity for our students to perform and engage with younger students, help with the music education process, entertain and attract these primary aged students into the music program when they enter the Secondary College.
The junior band is a concert band which includes all Year 7 and beginning music students (with the exception of voice students who perform in the choir). This program runs as part of the Year 7/beginner program, and covers the fundamentals of music education including reading notation, tone production, ensemble playing, and provides many of our students’ first performance experiences.
The College choir includes all voice students and focuses on contemporary arrangements of popular music. The choir has performed at many recent events throughout the wider community including the Marysville Jazz Festival and Alexandra’s 150th anniversary celebrations.
The rock band program caters for students wanting to focus on current and contemporary music, on instruments such as guitar, bass, keyboard, drums and voice. Aside from school based performances, the rock bands have many opportunities to perform in the local community and beyond. One such performance is our annual trip to Rock Fest, Battle of the Bands competition held in Wangaratta. In recent years several student have won awards and prizes for their performances.
Calypso, Reggae and Ska music is the focus of our steel pans band “The 44’s”, so named in reference to the instruments’ construction; 44 gallon drums cut to different sizes, with various tuned sections on the top. This instrument originated in Trinidad and Tobego, and our ensemble is aimed to provide a music experience for local primary and secondary students, along with their parents and families.
Every three weeks of the school term the music department holds an hour long radio broadcast, live from our music room, facilitated by UGFM radio’s Peter Weeks. This provides an opportunity for all music students to perform and present musical material on a regular basis. Peter also assists in broadcasting many of our music concerts live to air.
North East Victorian Region Music Camp at Beechworth
All music students are strongly advised to attend the Beechworth Music Camp (currently held during the last week of Term 1) at the historical Old Priory in Beechworth. This is a three day series of rehearsals and workshops in various ensembles, with lots of fun and games including Beechworth has got Talent, student led warm up activities each day, jam sessions and great food. Students from schools from all over our region attend and establish new friendships. Accommodation is dorm style, and the camp concludes with a public concert on the final night.
End of Semester Concerts
A highlight of our program is our two end of semester grand concerts. All students perform in multiple ensembles, and despite the often severe nerves leading up to the event, they finish the night on a great high from conquering their fears and performing the repertoire they have been working hard to produce. Our first semester concert is usually held in Alexandra, whilst recently we have been taking our end of year show on the road to places such as Eildon and Marysville.
Our many ensembles often collaborate with ensembles from other schools both locally and from further afield. In particular, we have long standing links with Euroa Secondary College, and ‘Bandemonium’ engages in several combined rehearsals most years, and often a combined tour.
…And many other opportunities…
Other performance opportunities include school assemblies, the annual recruitment evening, Presentation Night, FREEZA events, Farmstay Festival, visiting school bands, visiting professional artist workshops, Transition Day, the NEVR Reading Day, Primary Schools Fete, Navy Band visits, Alexandra Show, visits to NMIT and other universities, Aged Care performances and more.