Schools orchestrating the moves

'A good way to hook students into orchestral music is through pop music'

'A good way to hook students into orchestral music is through pop music'

MAD ABOUT MUSIC: Under an initiative led by Lytton High School music teacher Alison Barclay (top left), Campion College’s Anna Marie Fenn (second left), and Jane Egan and Anna Logue of Gisborne Girls’ High School, students from Gisborne’s secondary schools have come together to form a combined school orchestra.

Picture by Rebecca Grunwell
SONIC YOUTH: Armed with instruments such as double bass, violin, flute, saxhorn and piano, musicians from Gisborne’s secondary schools met yesterday to discuss the direction of the newly-formed combined schools orchestra. The initiative is driven Gisborne Girls’ High School’s new drama teacher and conductor Anna Logue, head of music Jane Egan and Campion College’s Anna Marie Fenn.

Picture by Rebecca Grunwell

A consignment of scores of Michael Jackson’s music is on its way from the US to Gisborne for a newly-formed combined school orchestra.

Made up of musicians from Gisborne’s secondary schools, the combined orchestra is the brainchild of the schools’ music teachers. The idea is to rejuvenate interest in instruments such as cello, violin, viola, flute, piano and brass used traditionally in performances of classical music. The combined schools orchestra is also another string, to coin a phrase, among options for students.

“We realised there were kids who weren’t into sport and wanted to offer them an alternative opportunity,” says Gisborne Girls’ High School head of music Jane Egan. “Other schools struggled to get a balanced sound through a range of instruments so we had a meeting with other music teachers. Our orchestra is run by our new head of drama, Anna Logue who is a classically trained pianist.”

Also on board at this stage are music teachers Anna Marie Fenn of Campion College and Lytton High School’s Alison Barclay. Community musicians will help mentor members of the combined orchestra.

Although teachers and students got together yesterday for a meet and greet, and to discuss what direction they would like to see the orchestra go in, orchestra organisers are happy for other secondary school students who play classical instruments, or are interested in learning how to play, to join.

“We crack into playing next week,” says Egan. “We’ll start with The Final Countdown by Europe and we have just bought Michael Jackson scores.”

The scores are orchestral arrangements for a medley of the pop-rocker’s songs.

“We have to think about our target audience,” says Egan. “If we play to a school assembly, a good way to hook students into orchestral music is through pop music.”

The late Gordon Gregory “did a huge job” in teaching classical music, she says.

“He ran the youth orchestra which was made up of students from all schools. It was a massive undertaking but that was his job and his passion. They played a range of stuff. When Gordon retired there was no one to take over.”

Until now.

“We’re really excited about this,” says Egan. “The potential is huge.”

A consignment of scores of Michael Jackson’s music is on its way from the US to Gisborne for a newly-formed combined school orchestra.

Made up of musicians from Gisborne’s secondary schools, the combined orchestra is the brainchild of the schools’ music teachers. The idea is to rejuvenate interest in instruments such as cello, violin, viola, flute, piano and brass used traditionally in performances of classical music. The combined schools orchestra is also another string, to coin a phrase, among options for students.

“We realised there were kids who weren’t into sport and wanted to offer them an alternative opportunity,” says Gisborne Girls’ High School head of music Jane Egan. “Other schools struggled to get a balanced sound through a range of instruments so we had a meeting with other music teachers. Our orchestra is run by our new head of drama, Anna Logue who is a classically trained pianist.”

Also on board at this stage are music teachers Anna Marie Fenn of Campion College and Lytton High School’s Alison Barclay. Community musicians will help mentor members of the combined orchestra.

Although teachers and students got together yesterday for a meet and greet, and to discuss what direction they would like to see the orchestra go in, orchestra organisers are happy for other secondary school students who play classical instruments, or are interested in learning how to play, to join.

“We crack into playing next week,” says Egan. “We’ll start with The Final Countdown by Europe and we have just bought Michael Jackson scores.”

The scores are orchestral arrangements for a medley of the pop-rocker’s songs.

“We have to think about our target audience,” says Egan. “If we play to a school assembly, a good way to hook students into orchestral music is through pop music.”

The late Gordon Gregory “did a huge job” in teaching classical music, she says.

“He ran the youth orchestra which was made up of students from all schools. It was a massive undertaking but that was his job and his passion. They played a range of stuff. When Gordon retired there was no one to take over.”

Until now.

“We’re really excited about this,” says Egan. “The potential is huge.”

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