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Music Festival through the eyes of an ex-student/conductor, year 6 student and year 7 student

By Abigail Roberts, Kimia Degani and Sofia Cordina- with special thanks to Julia Gretton-Roberts, Elina Degani and Disha Gautam

With Music festival now just under a week away, the spirit and excitement for the event has continued to grow, with acts preparing for their performances and the house choirs making their final adjustments. Not only is it an opportunity for the Loreto community to come together and celebrate our musical talents, but it also demonstrates the strength of our school spirit and the power of women. The below interviews shine a light on the perspectives of different members of our Loreto community and expresses their opinions on this wonderful day.

Interview with ex-student and conductor, Julia Gretton-Roberts:

What year were you a conductor for Music Festival, what house did you conduct and which awards did you win?

I was conductor of Barry House in 1987. We sang One Singular Sensation and a Latin Hymn called Cantata Domina. We won best choir, best conductor and overall winning house (Barry).

From attending Music Festivals in the past few years, what do you think has changed about Music Festival since you were an ex-student? Was it as valued as it is today?

We had Music festival in the school hall (where the DRC is today). I additionally used to sing solos at Music Festival. In contrast, today’s Music Festival is in a huge glamourous auditorium in the city. The quality of performance in terms of solos etc. is probably higher, and I think the teachers spend more time ensuring the acts are of a higher quality. The school is lucky to have many more resources than it did in the 1980s! Back then, the choirs performed one popular song as well as a hymn. The teachers didn’t help with the choirs at all…to the point that I taught my choir to sing the acapella hymn at a fast pace, when actually it should have been sung very slowly. Nobody seemed to notice…ha ha. Additionally, there are now 8 houses, and we used to have only 4 houses (Barry, Mornane, Ward, Mulhall). Like today, all students had to practice several times a week which was a great opportunity for everyone to learn to sing and be part of a team. My house was so proud and excited to win. It was pretty competitive between houses and music captains.

What is your best memory of Music Festival, and what were some funny moments?

I loved choosing the songs for Barry Choir and getting 250 girls to learn the songs and eventually win. With no teacher involvement, we had to be totally responsible and in charge. I once sang a solo called, “Hey Big Spender”. I wore a sequin dress and feather boa and the drama teacher told me to vamp it up. I was told that a few people in the audience who were nearly asleep all woke up in surprise when I sang…it was probably not expected at a school girl’s concert.

Another year me and my friends in year 9 all auditioned to dance to the Village People’s ‘Do the Milkshake’. We all were wearing our black jazz ballet leotards and white sandshoes. What a treat for the audience.

When I was in year 7 or 8, a friend and I auditioned to sing a song called Inchworm (about worms and maths…a classic obviously). We had to pretend to be little worms and do the actions waving our arms…our singing teacher had coached us. We got up in front of all of year 7, 8 and 9 to sing it, and some people started giggling at us…and then everyone started laughing at us, not with us. It was so embarrassing, I went bright red…but we survived it, and went on to audition for lots of acts over the years!

Interview with year 6 student, Elina Degani:

What do you remember about your first Music Festival experience?

Before we were on stage, I remember everyone being super nervous and excited. It was actually fun, I kind of like performing in front of people. Sure, it’s nerve racking but it’s fun because you’re a part of a big crowd.

How do you prepare for Music Festival?

We practice in the Curran theatre every Friday with our conductor Mrs McIntyre. The groups we practice in are harmony and melody, and it’s divided into classes. This year we’re doing one class in harmony (6B - which is my class) and everyone else in melody. We do this in a period after sport called choir. Our conductor picks the songs but we get to give our opinion and this year everyone was really happy because we’re performing the song we preferred out of our options.

What is your favourite part of Music Festival? Was there a particular performance you remember liking?

I really like watching the solo acts because they’re always really unique with how they dress up and put on makeup. I just find it really cool. I also love gathering in the city because I love the feel of the city. It wasn’t when I was a Loreto girl but there was a flute performance by Morgan Ridley-Smith where she was playing the flute and beatboxing, and it was so cool.

What do you think of the venue?

I actually really like the ICC and I think we should be having Music Festival there every year because it’s in the city and I know whenever we’re on the Harbour Bridge in the bus all the girls get so excited. I like the venue; it’s big, and it feels more real when you’re on the stage because of all the levels.

How do you feel about this year’s Music Festival? Are you excited to be performing in the primary choir?

I’m just really excited because I love the Music Festival (it’s my favourite time of the year) and all the big traditions Loreto have. I think it’s important because it’s a really big thing for Loreto - it’s empowering girls through music and symbolises women and how we can do anything. There’s a lot of spirit because all the houses get together and cheer for their house and everyone has good sportsmanship.

Interview with year 7 student, Disha Gautam

How do you feel about this year’s Music festival? Are you excited? What are you expecting?

I am super excited for this year’s Music Festival because I have been told by my buddy that this year’s Music Festival is going to be great like all the other years. I am also very excited because this is my very first Music Festival and I don’t how it is going be but I am very sure it is going to be fantastic because all the houses are going to be a part of it.

Would you consider going for conductor or accompanist?

When I will be in Year 12 I would love to conduct the Kendall Music Festival choir. I have seen Alice, our Kendall Conductor, and she has inspired me to conduct.


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