Music chases away the Winter chill – Winter Concert MHS/Mac.Rob

Every year the Winter Concert shines brightly through the chill of Winter, and this year it seemed that musical standards were once again transcended by the talent and hard work of students from both Mac.Robertson and Melbourne High School, supported by the equally talented and hard working music staff.

We couldn’t have asked for a better venue than Hamer Hall, and for many it was the first time they experienced this wonderful concert hall. How impressive was the sight of our student cohort gathered on the stage of the vast space, flanked by a glowing, student-designed logo representing both schools. We were treated to a magnificent program which showcased the talents of so many in orchestras, bands, choir and a combination of these in the ambitious final item with full orchestra and massed choir.

A peek into the program:

The Combined Wind Band opened with  El Camino Real (Reed) and Gerschwin! and was followed by the Combined Brass Ensemble performing William Tell Overture (Rossini) and Canzon septime toni No. 2 (Gabrieli). Then followed the music captains’ first address.

Next we were treated to a beautiful performance by the Combined Choirs who sang Choose Something Like A Star (Thompson) with lyrics by Robert Frost:

O Star (the fairest one in sight),
We grant your loftiness the right
To some obscurity of cloud—
It will not do to say of night,
Since dark is what brings out your light.
Some mystery becomes the proud.
But to be wholly taciturn
In your reserve is not allowed.
Say something to us we can learn
By heart and when alone repeat.
Say something! And it says, ‘I burn.’
But say with what degree of heat.
Talk Fahrenheit, talk Centigrade.
Use language we can comprehend.
Tell us what elements you blend.
It gives us strangely little aid,
But does tell something in the end.
And steadfast as Keats’ Eremite,
Not even stooping from its sphere,
It asks a little of us here.
It asks of us a certain height,
So when at times the mob is swayed
To carry praise or blame too far,
We may choose something like a star
To stay our minds on and be staid.

The Combined Choirs also sang Closer my God to Thee (Stevens/Chua) – just as beautifully – and then the Combined Stage Band completed the first half of the program with There’s Only So Much Oil in the Ground (Kupka and Castillo) and Boplicity (Cleo Henry) – which got much of the year 9 cohort in the audience swaying and tapping.

In the second half of the program we heard the Combined String Orchestra perform Emperor Variations (Haydn) and String Sinfonia VII, 1st movement (Mendelssohn) and the Combined Symphony Orchestra performed Waltz from Masquerade (Khachaturian) and Slavonic Dance no. 8 (Dvorak), then the final magnificent item featured the Combined Choral and Orchestra performing Make our Garden Grow from Candide (Bernstein).

Combined Principals (!) thanked everyone involved: music captains and their leadership teams, the musicians themselves, music teachers, instrumental music teachers and administrative staff, Directors of Music, Mr Sonny Chua, Mac.Rob’s Director of Instrumental Music and Music Performance, and Mr Gareth de Korte, Melbourne High School’s Acting Director of Music, backstage crew and parents (for their support and nurturing of the development of musical skill), and we all left feeling inspired and thankful. See you at next year’s Winter concert!

Upcoming musical events at MHS: 17th August 6.30pm Jazz Night; 6th September 6.30pm Spring Concert; 7th September VCE Recitals; 10th October Junior Soiree; 28th November Speech Night.



MHS House Choral Competition 2016

It started with the traditional grilling. Assistant principal, Ms Pelissa Tsilimidos, did a great job.

And then the competition began: the choirs, the soloists, ensembles – all showcasing the talent and hard work of Melbourne High School students. Stage colours changed as the four houses did their best to impress the judges. It was a day of singing, harmonising, playing solo on a variety of instruments, baton waving and cheering.

A short interval to stretch the legs and recharge, and then the second half of the program.

Our staff number this year was a swaying selection of talented teachers singing ‘The lion sleeps tonight’, also featuring the Duke and a surprise guest appearance by ‘the lion’ (rumoured to be our principal, Mr Jeremy Ludowyke). Thank you to Ms Anne-Marie Brownhill for making this happen.

Melbourne High School boys are always up for a competition, regardless of whether it be sport, academics or music. When Waterloo was announced the winner, you would have thought you were at a sporting event. Listen for yourself.

We are so fortunate to host the Chorals Competition in the gorgeous Melbourne Town Hall.

It’s fantastic to see the whole school gathered for a much-loved musical event.

Sincere thanks go to everyone involved – in the weeks leading up to the day, and on the day itself. Thank you to the music staff, in particular, who inspire and train our boys to love music and take the lead in organising, arranging, conducting, etc. Melbourne High School is a wonderful example of what all schools could be in terms of recognising the importance of music and singing for all students. Thanks to  Mr Sloan for organising the event. Thank you to all parents and past students who came to support our students and enjoy the day.

Until next year.

We do music like we do sport – full on!

The annual Melbourne High School Choral and Instrumental house competition held in our grand Melbourne Town Hall is possibly the most anticipated and most enjoyed of all school events by students, teachers, parents and past students. It attracts the enthusiasm normally reserved for sporting events – the cheering following student performances needs to be experienced to be believed. Melbourne High School students are privileged to have a whole school choral program throughout their schooling. Singing is taken very seriously, and despite the hectic curricular and co-curricular schedule, it is never cancelled.

Richard Gill, who has worked as a musician, teacher, conductor and music director,  , has been a passionate campaigner for music for all students for over 50 years.

Music doesn’t describe, narrate or tell stories. What it does best is evoke, suggest and imply. It can open up the mind of a child in extraordinary ways. The abstraction of music allows them into a special world and a unique way of thinking. And that’s why they should make their own, preferably via singing.

While reading about Richard Gill in this ABC article online, I was pleasantly surprised to see a comment by a past student who fondly remembers his musical experiences at Melbourne High School in the 60s.

I attended Melbourne High School in the 1960s, and still have vivid memories of singing experiences there – from small choirs and the annual Gilbert & Sullivan operetta to the entire school singing at speech nights at Melbourne Town Hall and in the annual inter-house choral competitions. Since then I’ve continued singing, in choirs, opera companies and choruses. For the past 20 years I’ve sung with the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra Chorus, a non-professional group associated with a fine professional orchestra. We’re privileged to perform at a high standard under a wide range of internationally-renowned conductors. One of the highlights for the Chorus was the TSO’s performances of “Messiah” conducted by Richard Gill in December 2007. (Tony M.)

Some of our students attend the compulsory singing reluctantly – of course, not everyone loves singing – but by the end of the Choral and Instrumental competition the obvious enthusiasm shared by students in applauding performers or singing as members of their house choir is testament to the value of our commitment towards music for everyone. Listen to Richard Gill’s dedication and passion as he delivers a TED talk on the value of music education.