Generations in Jazz is a very big musical event; not just because the largest marquee in the southern hemisphere houses its main stage amidst the wide Mt Gambier paddocks!

Head of Music at St Kilda Road Campus, Philip Walsh, conducts the Big Band

Held over a single weekend in May, it attracts around 6,000 young musicians in bands and choirs from around Australia and New Zealand, as well as internationally renowned jazz players from around the globe.

All the more exciting then that our student musicians, so ably supported by our passionate music department staff, have performed so well this year:

  • Seven-member Cawaya, directed by Belinda Parsons, won the Division 1 Small Jazz Vocal section for the second year in a row
  • The Intermediate Choir, directed by Heather Michael, won the Division 3 Large Vocal Ensemble section
  • The Senior Choir, directed by Belinda Parsons, came 4th in the Division 1 Large Vocal Ensemble section
  • The Big Band, directed by Philip Walsh, came 4th in the Division 1 Stage Band section

Three students were selected for the Division 1 Big Band Super Band: Satch Anstee (Year 12) on double and electric bass (recognised as the Number 1 bass player in the competition), Sara Lindstrom (Year 11) on tenor saxophone (recognised as the Number 2 tenor saxophone player in the competition), and Eric Wang (Year 11) on vibraphone (recognised as Number 1 vibes player in the competition).

All ready to play: Music teacher Emily Brice with Glen Waverley’s Show Band

The good vibes continued with Year 8 vibes player Xin Ni Zhang selected for the Division 3 Jazz Band Super Band. Having started out playing the piano, Xin Ni said, ‘I really love vibraphone because it sounds great and the layout is like a piano keyboard, so I know where all the notes are… But the best thing was definitely watching our bands and choirs perform and win because I could be as loud as I wanted cheering them on. That was fun!’

Year 11 saxophonist Jacqueline Aracosta from Big Band was also nominated for the Future Finalists award for musicians demonstrating great potential in improvisation.

The value in the competition comes not just from playing, but also from listening. As Intermediate Choir Director Heather Michael explained, ‘It’s inspiring hearing other schools’ bands and ensembles present their programs and discover new and contrasting repertoire. It’s an excellent way for younger students to listen and learn the stylistic features of jazz.'

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