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Music Festival and Not Just Jazz

From the strings in unison to the magic of the music performances and more ‑ Wesley College truly celebrated the range and diversity of its musical expression with two of the major concerts of this year: the Music Festival at the prestigious Hamer Hall, Arts Centre on Wednesday 19 May, and Not Just Jazz at the picturesque Leonda by the Yarra on Monday 24 May.

With 17 ensembles performing, it was a night to remember and a pure sensory experience at one of Victoria’s premier performing spaces, Hamer Hall at the Arts Centre. Presenting a wide range of repertoire, over 400 students from the St Kilda Road Campus took to the stage, ranging from Years 2 to 12 and mesmerising the 1000-strong audience. The concert was a showcase of the hard work and dedication of our students and the leadership and guidance of our wonderful music staff all working towards producing outstanding music for all to enjoy.

Adding another feather to our cap, the Music Festival was the first school concert to be held at Hamer Hall since 2019 and how amazing it was to be back at this truly world class venue! For just over two hours, the 19 ensembles comprising five String Ensembles, seven Choirs, two Big Bands, four Concert Bands and the Symphony Orchestra entertained, engaged, and delighted the audience. Thank you also to our eight Ensembles leaders who performed the roles of comperes for the evening in such a professional and engaging manner.

Days later, on Monday 24 May, Not Just Jazz took place at the elegant Leonda by the Yarra, with the picturesque views of the tree-lined Yarra River as backdrop. The concert featured performances from around 120 students from Years 6 to Year 12 across 11 ensembles, including Big Bands, Rock Bands, Guitar ensembles, Jazz Combos, Choir, Jazz Orchestra and more. Five Year 12 soloists auditioned and performed various songs with the Jazz Orchestra.

Keeping everyone grooving, the audience included nearly 200 parents enjoying a scrumptious three-course meal while listening to the foot-tapping ensembles. The highlight of the evening was the parents and students coming together to shake a leg with the Soul Band at the end of the evening.

From ‘awesome’ to ‘the best night of the year!’ to ‘such a special experience for my children’ to ‘love how much the students were enjoying themselves’, the feedback from parents and the audience was inspiring. ‘That was truly an amazing night. Thank you to all the music staff and organisers for the wonderful effort, care and love you put into your work, and the gift of the musical world you have created for our child,’ other parents said.

The level at which students performed was exceptional, with pieces at the two concerts ranging from Stravinsky's The Firebird to Stevie Wonder's Signed, Sealed, Delivered, I'm Yours to The Rolling Stones' Gimme Shelter, highlighting the depth and breadth of musical talent and skill.