2014 was my first year at Mona Vale and what a thriving primary school music program it is.
Led by the phenomenal and very hard working Mrs Jacqui Shaw, the Mona Vale Music Program now consists of:
4 Wind Ensembles
- Training Band (Yr 3)
- Intermediate Band (Yr4)
- Concert Band (Yr 5)
- Performance Band (Yr 6)
2 Jazz Bands
- Big Band (auditioned 17 piece, standard line up)
- Jazz Ensemble (an all welcome band, including flute, clarinet, euphonium, horn etc, which focuses on initial Jazz style and Improvisation)
3 String Ensembles
- Beginner Strings
- String Orchestra
- Symphony Orchestra (yes, a full symphony orchestra including brass, woodwind and percussion)
Barrenjoey Band has it's own website you can check out here:
2015 was my first year at Barrenjoey and it's been quite a ride since. In my opinion they sound fantastic and are a fun and rewarding group of students to work with. Our performance at the Northern Beaches Instrumental Festival earned us an invitation to perform at the Gala concert of the festival in 2016. The tours to Victoria and Tasmania are huge highlights for me. In 2017 we went to the South Coast of NSW via the Blue Mountains and Canberra.
For the size of the school and the size of the band program, I feel Barrenjoey presents an amazing balance of instrumentation as well as performing with wonderful intonation, blend, balance and maturity.
I am incredibly honoured and excited to have been working at Pittwater High since 2016.
The Pittwater High Music program is overseen by Dr Martin Hardy, who is one of the very top music educators and school band conductors in the country. I am thrilled to get to work with Dr Hardy and I am trying to learn as much from him as I possibly can.
One big highlight for me was getting to conduct the band on tour in China in 2016, which included a performance on the Great Wall and concluded with the great honour of performing at the ANZAC dawn service in Beijing.
A brand new initiative, I'm starting my own Big Band.
The initial reason was that some of my 2017 Mona Vale Big Band students are moving on to high schools which don't have a Jazz Program.
Add to that other students I know or have taught at Bilgola Plateau in the same boat and it became apparent something needed to be done.
I'm following the model and example set by James Hill with his Brass Baton bands. James has set such an amazing example of how it can be done and his bands are absolutely incredible. He has given me his blessing to blatantly copy his concept and so the Northern Beaches Big Band is born.