Music Department Report

By John Dodd (HOD) | Posted: Wednesday November 20, 2013

We are so spoiled in the Music Department, because every school day of the year we are treated to the creative sounds that our wonderful students create, and we get to witness the growth in skills, and the development of the ensembles that we support.

None of this can happen without the staff that support all of the activities, both in and out of the class. I would like to take this opportunity to thank Hana Fahy for her fabulous classroom teaching and work with the choir, and also to thank all of the instrumental teachers who teach the skills required so that the students become capable contributors to the musical offerings. So thanks to Sara Brown (voice and piano), Calder Prescott (jazz band), Nick Cornish (woodwind), David Rowbottom (flute), Beverly Dwan (violin), Mike Smith (bass guitar), Samdrub Dawa (drums), Andy Parsons (the other one) and Leo LaDell (guitars), Sam Vennell (double bass), Anna Peterson (cello), and Bill Henderson (brass). Between them they give weekly instrumental tuition to about 120 students, so the place is always humming!

This year we kicked off with a weekend music camp at Tirohanga, and the event was spectacularly successful. We used the occasion to kick start our three key ensembles (choir, jazz band, orchestra) and this aim was achieved. But there was also plenty of time for more informal music making, and developing friendships. One off-shoot was the beginnings of a great soul/funk band, Funk’s Sake, that have now impressed at a few performances such as the senior prizegiving and the Secondary School’s Music Festival.

Some of the other musical highlights are listed in the articles that follow, but I would like to mention the impressive work of our leading chamber group, SWaMP (Matthew Scadden, Sean Stenhouse and William Kaminger with Paddy Ou from JMC), in winning the Otago final. Matthew and Sean have been in chamber groups together for their five years at LPHS and they have continually impressed the judges, so this was a welcome honour in their final year.

I went on leave for six weeks in term three, and was lucky enough to participate on a musical tour through the south-west of the United States. This would not have been possible without Ms Fahy and Ms Sara Brown covering for me over that time. I am immensely appreciative and came back to find the place in good heart.

Can I also take this opportunity to thank all of the students for their participation in, and commitment to all things musical. In particular my music prefects (Richard Brown, Matthew Scadden and organiser of the Youth Week Music Day, Tane Menzies) and all of the other wonderful Year 13 students who have contributed so much over five years. We are looking forward to hearing your music in the future…

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