High Notes, Vol 17 No 36, November 18 2016
Music Awards Assembly 2016
"Special guest James Mackay (SHS2007), Old Boys Michael Walder (SHS2002), Adam Booth (SHS 2012) and Steve Comninos (SHS 2014), members of the Music Committee, staff and students, welcome to our 11th annual Music Awards Assembly. This morning’s assembly is convened to recognise and honour the accomplishments of our performance music program participants. We have over 150 students in our performance music program. They come together in a variety of ensembles to perfect and perform an eclectic collection of compositions in a range of styles. High has produced many good musicians, some of whom will perform for you today, and the purpose of the assembly is about honouring those current students who are upholding that fine tradition. I congratulate those boys being acknowledged today and urge them to continue their efforts in musical training and performance.
"Our performance music staff comprises Sarah Kim, Suzanna Lim and Rita Miller. Louise Graul has provided administrative assistance to the program for a decade. I thank you for your work on behalf of the boys. Specialist tutors of high quality, such as Rebecca Irwin on violin, provide expert mentoring for our aspiring musicians. The Music Committee raises money to purchase large instruments and sheet music to refresh our performance repertoire. Our boys are given many opportunities to perform.
"‘Music is a piece of art that goes in the ears and straight to the heart’. Some people are moved as they play, others as they listen. ‘Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination and life to everything’. The inspiration of music is a mood changer, a revitaliser and common intellectual and emotional milieu for people to commit to. It provides a reason for living and a philosophy to believe in.
"Music as a co-curricular program has an elevated status in GPS schools because musical performances are integral to many assemblies, formal occasions and special events that define and build school culture. Musical performance is vertically integrated and access to ensembles is based on merit. It is a uniting activity and it provides opportunities for students to perform for an audience, which is one important reason why people learn to play instruments. Musical performance showcases the talents of our students to the wider community.
"Today’s guest speaker is a well credentialed musical person. James Mackay is currently a full-time musician. He has performed everywhere from Sydney’s iconic jazz venues like The Basement, to large stadium concerts, to broadcast television, including the ARIAS. He has recorded for Universal and SONY Music. He has shared the stage with James Morrison, James Muller, Taylor Swift, Jessica Mauboy, Nathaniel, Kim Churchill and Ms Murphy. One of his own projects, the Hot Potato Band tours Australia regularly. Having played to critical acclaim at last year’s Woodford Folk Festival, the band was invited back this year to play the festival’s main stages.
"James attended High (2002-2007) and was heavily involved in school life. He played rugby and rowed. He represented High musically for many years in the NSW Arts Unit, whose flagship ‘State Schools Symphonic Wind Ensemble’ won first place in the open division of the National Band Championships in Adelaide in 2005. He was selected to play at Encore after his HSC in 2007. James studied at the University of Sydney, graduating with a Bachelor of Arts (Media + Communications) and Bachelor of Laws last year. He won the King & Wood Mallesons Prize for First Place in Banking and Financial Instruments.
"His passion for music (particularly jazz) started at High. He had inspiring teachers and tutors,
and Friday afternoon jam sessions in room 201. Please give a High welcome to Mr James
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