Boys Dance Workshops

The first in a series of 'Boys Only' Dance Workshops was held in the David Jarman Room, during lunchtime on Thursday 5 April. 12 of the 18 boys currently participating in the co-curricular dance program attended a workshop taught by 2018 Dance Captain Luke Rigden. The workshop included a group warm up and learning contemporary and hip-hop movement sequences. It was designed to provide opportunity for students to build connections across year levels with others who share the same interest in dance.

Participants of the workshop had the following feedback:

“Can we do that again?!” Krish, Year 2
“I enjoyed dancing in the big space (David Jarman Room).” Henry, Year 2
“I enjoyed meeting all of the boys who do dance” Zach, Year 3
“I had two things I enjoyed, how we got to dance with Luke and meeting all the boys.”  Lachlan, Year 3
“I loved doing all the exercises with all of us and doing the hip hop” Zach, Year 3
“I thought it was awesome, seeing all the younger boys coming through and the next  generation of dancers.” Kit, Year 10
“It was great to do something with just the guys.” Callum, Year 10
“I thought it was good way to show the Prep students that there are boys in the Senior School doing dance, so that … they know when they move to the Senior School there are boys doing dance.” Luke, Year 12
“It was really fun! It was amazing! You should have come!” Ethan, Year 4

Due to the success of the first workshop and strong interest within the Westminster community, the next Boys Dance Workshop will be held on Friday 22 June (Week 8) in the David Jarman Room. More details are to follow.

Any male students from Years 2-12 interested in opportunities such as this within the Dance program are welcome to contact me via Email an expression of interest. No prior experience necessary.

Westminster Dance Collective and Indigenous Students Reconciliation Collaboration

During Term 1 the Westminster Dance Collective has worked with Independent Indigenous Contemporary Dance Artist and teacher, Adrianne Semmens. The audition based ensemble gained their first experience of an Indigenous style of contemporary dance, and workshopped movement for dance work. In Weeks 10 and 11 it was wonderful to have a large number of the Indigenous students join in the creative process, collaborating with the Collective. The work created on this combined ensemble will be performed in Week 6 of this term at both the Reconciliation Assembly, and the Dance Allsorts Performance on Thursday 7 June in the MMC.

Students involved in this collaborative process gained new awareness, appreciation and skills:

The dance showed tremendous exposure to culture and understanding of the art behind Aboriginal dance and movement. I believe we were all able to connect and come together to make the dance very moving. Reconciliation means coming together and I think that the dance really showcases the value and beauty of the culture through the dance moves. It was a great idea to have some of the Indigenous students involved and we were all more than happy to be a part of this experience. Ms Semmens did a fantastic job with choreographing the dance and making all of us feel welcome. I believe that the piece will add a reconciled and uplifting feeling to the Reconciliation Assembly - Doreena Hansen, Captain of Indigenous Students

Working with Ms Semmens in Collective has exposed me to Indigenous culture, and opened my mind and body to the dance style of Indigenous contemporary dance. Learning about Aboriginal history and beliefs through the movement, as well as collaborating with the Indigenous students of Westminster School, helped form our dance piece which focuses on Reconciliation. The collaboration and connection between the dancers and Indigenous students, highlights Westminster’s inclusive community and broad cultural backgrounds - Olivia Hoffmann, Year 11 Collective Member

Many thanks to choreographer Adrianne Semmens, Indigenous Students Coordinator Nahla Baroudi, and Captain of Indigenous Students Doreena Hansen for their support in organising this collaboration.

Sophie Wilson
Co-curricular Dance Coordinator

All Blood Runs Red

2018. The Centenary of the some of the most important events on the Western Front.

2018. The Centenary of Armistice (Remembrance Day), the day it all final ceased.

All Blood Runs Red.

It is 1918, the Great War almost over.

Harry and Sam, World War 1 Diggers, enjoy aperitifs, conversation, and the company of a local girl, Marie, and Nurse, Alice, in a small café near Pozières, France.

Something is odd.

The customers possess a cheerful demeanour, unusual to find so close to the Western Front.

The ear-splitting roar of exploding shells close by, coincides with the arrival of new patrons.

Stories, some oddly humorous, others poignantly sad, unfold as the characters, eleven of them based on real people, share their experiences of war.

Some speak of the war as the present, others, the past.

Their lives behind them, all tell of enlistment, optimism, and, ultimately, truths and hopes.

Germans, Ernst, Manfred, and Gretha, bring the perspective of the “other side” into stark focus.

The stories, whether French, Australian or German are touching in their ordinariness, telling of lost loves, found loves, the inevitability of separation, and the challenges of a world at war.

All Blood Runs Red, an after-life place where the stories of the fallen and those who lived, are brought together in this commemoration of World War 1, the war to end all wars.

Wednesday 30 May to Friday 1 June, 7.00 pm sharp, Drama Theatre, Drama Theatre
Adults       $15.00
Students   $10.00
Warning: Loud explosions, flashes and smoke.
Please ensure early arrival as, due to safety constraints, entry to the auditorium is not permitted after 7.00 pm

Written by myself in 2014, All Blood Runs Red is based loosely on the experiences of the diary entries of many service men and women, among them, Francis Bonner, whose letters, provided by Rosemary Milisits OAM, inspired its writing.

This production is supported by an exhibition kindly organised by Andrew Beecher (Senior School History Teacher), and Natalie Ziedas (Head of Visual Arts), with memorabilia kindly supplied by Russell Ellis.

John Doherty
Head of Drama

Music Notes

Congratulations to Christy Zhang (Year 11 Jeffries) who achieved 99% for her Grade 2 AMEB theory exam.

Westminster Jazz Night 2018

Well done to all students who took part in the annual Westminster Jazz night for 2018 which was held at the Governor Hindmarsh Hotel during Week 11 of Term 1. Both Jazz Ensembles, four Big Bands (including the 2018 Music Tour Big Band), and two Vocal Jazz groups all performed to a full and appreciative audience.

Congratulations to all the students for their first public performance for the year, to the Directors of all of the ensembles, and especially everyone who came along and supported the students’ performance.

Vocal Jazz 1 sound checking before the gig

Jazz Ensemble performs for royalty!

The Westminster Senior Jazz Ensemble performed for His Royal Highness The Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex KG GCVO during the school holidays as a part of the Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award Program Presentations. His Royal Highness took some time to listen to our performance and speak with some of the members of the band.

The Senior Jazz Ensemble just before meeting HRH Prince Edward

Westminster Senior Jazz Ensemble in action

Generations in Jazz 2018

This year’s National Big Band and Vocal Jazz competition attracted over 5000 students from all over Australia, that formed more than 220 bands and more than 120 choirs.

Held in Mt Gambier at the first weekend in May, this years festival was one of the best ever. On Friday night we were treated to an all-star big band with the best players in Australia, along with special guests James Morrison, Ross Irwin, Shannon Barnett, Jeff Clayton, Nasrine Rahmani, and Patti Austin.

After competing all day on Saturday, the Saturday night concert was a two hour gig by the Cat Empire!

Our ensembles once again competed and performed very well. Our results were as follows:

  • Vocal Jazz 1 finished 7th in Division 1 - our only ensemble to perform in the Div 1 category.
  • Vocal Jazz 2 finished 6th out of 21 choirs, and received an honourable mention.
  • Big Band 1 finished 2nd in Division 2 for the second year in a row.
  • Big Band 2 finished 15th out of 25 bands in Division 3.
  • Our Small Jazz Ensemble finished 4th out of 23 bands in the Open Category - our best ever result for this group.

This is a national competition, so these results are wonderful for our school.

As well as all this, Kyle Chenoweth (Year 12 Jeffries) made the GiJ Superband for the third year in a row. The last two years he played bass trombone, and this year played lead trombone. This effectively means he is the top trombonist of 110 trombone players that could be in this band, a fantastic achievement.

Well done to all students who took part in this years Generations in Jazz.

Big Band 1 - the rehearsal after another successful weekend at GiJ. Thanks and a special mention to Alex Lake for
filling in (lead trombone Big Band 2) as Lizzie Williamson was on national netball duty!

Three in a row! Congratulations to Kyle Chenoweth for making the Division 2 Superband
for the third year running - previously on Bass trombone, this time on lead!

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Bandstand 2018

Bandstand 2018 will take place on Thursday 17 May starting at 6.00 pm. It will involve the Percussion Ensemble, Rock Bands, Big Bands, Jazz Ensemble, Preparatory Concert Band, and Senior Concert Band. The concert will be held in the MMC, and should conclude by 7.30 pm.

The Friends of Music will provide drinks and nibbles from 5.00 pm, while the Senior Jazz Ensemble will entertain you. There is a gold coin donation for this concert.

Please follow the link to download the Bandstand 2018 poster.

Japan Music Tour 2018

On Saturday 21 April, 17 Music students departed for Japan on a 10 day music tour, visiting and performing in Tokyo at our sister school Tamagawa Gakuen, and taking part in the ANZAC Day ceremonies at the Yokohama Commonwealth War Cemetery. The tour also included visits to Hiroshima, Osaka, and Kyoto. The students formed a big band, rock band, and jazz ensemble for the tour.

After a long flight to Singapore, a long stop-over in Singapore, and another long flight to Japan, all the tiredness seemed to disappear when the Westminster group arrived at Tokyo Disney Sea and spent the day there!

Our first concert was at Kokobunji, the sister council of Marion City council. We performed to the whole school and were well received, getting many audience members up dancing!

Two indoor concerts at Tamagawa, again to enthusiastic audiences, were performed the following day. We were joined by Willie Murillo, LA trumpeter and member of the Gordon Goodwin Big Phat Band. Willie performed at Westminster at the 2016 Music Night.

Willie joined us for four concerts and added another level of excitement and flair to our performances.

All the staff and students were delighted to have Willie join the tour.

Old Scholar Emily Johns ('09) is teaching at Tamagawa, and joined us for the concerts. Emily revisited her old music days by singing “Valerie” with the Rock Band, which was greatly appreciated by our students and the students of Tamagawa.

On Wednesday 25 April we were honoured to perform at the ANZAC Day ceremony for Australia and New Zealand. While ANZAC day in Adelaide was dry and warm, in Tokyo it rained consistently for five hours. Students were manning umbrellas, while the brass players were performing during the downpour. Emily Nolis (Year 10 Clark) and Daisy Jury (Year 9 Clark) both laid a wreath in the New Zealand section, while Alex Lam (Year 12 Fereday) and Grant Robertson (Year 12 Dunstan) handed out wreaths to the various representatives of many countries. Grant also laid a wreath on behalf of Westminster. It was a moving and poignant moment for all involved, and the weather, while miserable, added to the occasion.

The following day we performed in Osaka, a long but fast train ride on the Shinkansen. Our trip included a visit to the Yamaha piano factory in a very interesting tour.

The tour included a good deal of sight-seeing as well as visits to various temples, and engaging in a Japanese cultural experience including music, kimono fitting, tea ceremony, puppetry, and a visit to a music museum. A trip to Mt Fuji and Hiroshima was also part of our experience.

Our final concert was at the sister city of Adelaide, Himeji, where we also visited a castle, had a traditional Japanese lunch, and learnt how to play Taiko drums, which also became a part of our concert. That was about as much as you could cram in to 10 days!

My thanks to the 17 students who took part in extra rehearsals to prepare for the tour, not only for their musicianship but the way they embraced a very different culture to what we are used to.

Thanks to the parents who came along for their help and assistance, Gail Eustis, Sharon McLachlan, and Cheryl Wilson.

Thanks also to Ms Gould, Ms Kamei, and Mr McLachlan for all of their time and effort in making the tour possible.

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In our correspondence we came across an Old Scholar, Dr Damon Drummond ('76) who played drums on the first record Westminster produced in the late 1970s, under the direction of David Jarman.

Dr Drummond lives in Japan and teaches at a leading University there, and has been since 1982.

Dr Drummond took a week off from his busy schedule to drive us around Japan, help with our gear, show us through his University (where we also had lunch), and spend time with the staff and students from Westminster.

I have found this typical of the Westminster spirit that resonates all over the world, and is a great example for current scholars. We thank Dr Drummond for spending time with the staff and students of the Westminster Music Tour in Japan - his knowledge and engagement were invaluable for all of us.

Michael Degenhart
Head of Performing Arts