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.