Rebecca Casson

REACHING NEW HEIGHTS: Renowned choir conductor Rachel Hore lifts 130 voices in a workshop to remember.

REACHING NEW HEIGHTS: Renowned choir conductor Rachel Hore lifts 130 voices in a workshop to remember.

THERE is an audible hum currently buzzing through homes and schools as students from the Great Lakes region ready themselves for their moment in the spotlight.

Shine On is a performance spectacular held every two years to showcase the performing arts talents of students in the area.  

Whether it is through the sparkle of their brass instruments, their vocal harmonies, their acting convictions, or their dance rhythms, every child has the opportunity to shine. 

“It gives students involved the opportunity to perform on a professional stage in front of a large audience. This is an experience that is not always afforded to students in regional areas,” music and head teacher Vincent Jensen from Great Lakes College said.

“Students develop increased confidence and improved self-esteem. This has benefits beyond the classroom and school environment.”

The performance features a combined schools choir of 130 students as well as a combined schools concert band with 50 students. Along with individual and smaller group items for music, drama, and dance, a total of 250 students will participate in the event. 

To this end, student groups across the nine schools of the Great Lakes Learning Community have been getting together en masse to rehearse, with two workshops for the vocal and band ensembles conducted over the last two terms in readiness for the dress rehearsal, and finally the 

performance, scheduled for  Thursday 11am and 6.30pm at Club Forster on September 18. 

Whilst scheduling rehearsals, workshops and the final event to fit within each school’s calendar will always a challenge, the benefits related to the performing arts are multiple, and are not just about increased academic success.

 Events such as Shine On take music outside the classroom, providing an opportunity for creative expression and risk taking by students. 

“It is a wonderful affirmation of the power of working together to achieve common goals. Schools, staff and students from all schools can exchange ideas, share best practice and learn from each other’s experiences,” Mr Jensen said.

Funded by the Great Lakes Learning Community, the event enjoys a community grant for its vocal section, and funding by the NSW Band Association for the instrumental workshops. 

Brass tutors from the Great Lakes Band have lent their ears and advice, and the Conservatorium Mid North Coast has also lent its support.

Shine On first hit the stage in 2005. Many students have performed in multiple shows since then. 

One such student is Great Lakes College Senior Campus student Markala Johnson who performed in 2005 as a vocal soloist in Year 4, 

and will perform for a final time this year as she completes her HSC studies.

Performances are being held at 11am and 6.30pm at Club Forster on Thursday September 18. Tickets are available from the offices of participating schools: Great Lakes College (all three campuses), Tuncurry Public School, Forster Public School, Hallidays Point Public School, Pacific Palms Public School, Nabiac Public School and Bungwahl Public School. $8 adult and $6 children/concession. 

The event is alcohol free and tickets usually sell out fast.

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