New Zealand Music Tour
By Dr James Cuskelly, Antoni Bonetti, Carla Trott and Betty Yanardasis
In the first week of the Easter holidays 30 students and 4 teachers from St Aidan’s embarked on a Music Tour to New Zealand. This tour was both challenging and stimulating but all returned with a deep sense of achievement and a renewed understanding of the role and power of music in society.
Students from St Aidan’s were given the opportunity to work with students from three different high schools on a collaborative music project and to perform for students in four different school contexts. The chance to work with outstanding music groups in New Zealand was very challenging and our girls demonstrated sustained focus, discipline and effort. Through these various performances, students were also able to gain insight into the rich cultural experience of students like themselves in a range of educational settings in New Zealand.
Our partner schools in New Zealand–St Cuthbert’s College, Westlake Girls and Westlake Boys High Schools–are renowned for their musical prowess, and working collaboratively with these musicians was a wonderfully enriching activity for St Aidan’s students.
The students of Volar Ensembles-Choir, String Quartet and Harp, with their teachers Dr James Cuskelly, Antoni Bonetti and Carla Trott worked intensively and over an extended period of time to ensure that a very high standard of music was performed. The reaction of the audience at performances is a testament to the high quality of their work.
Another particularly moving moment for the students was the opportunity to visit the very heart of the Anglican Diocese of Auckland, the Holy Trinity Cathedral. Students were given permission to perform in the middle of the grand space and singing two pieces with religious text reinforced the connection between the purpose and context of much sacred music.
The tour was very demanding and students were required to demonstrate high levels of commitment and focus to cope with the intensity of rehearsals and performances. This inaugural tour has been a wonderful opportunity both musically and culturally for our girls. We are honoured to have been able to establish such deeply respectful and mutual relationships and we look forward to future opportunities to make music together.