Centre of Music Excellence officially open
The $6.8million Saint Stephen’s College Centre of Music Excellence was officially opened to a mix of classical and funk music played by the College Orchestra, Vivace Strings and Senior Stage Band, a blessing and plaque unveiling in the Recital Hall.
Headmaster Jamie Dorrington said the Centre was built with the support of Friends of the Arts, families past and present, and a State Government commitment of $465,000 toward the project cost. He thanked Member for Macalister Melissa McMahon, who represented Education Minister Grace Grace, to unveil the plaque at the ceremony.
He said, the building – comprising a 220-seat state-of-the art recital hall, rehearsal studios, classrooms, specialised instrumental teaching spaces, percussion studio and flexible learning areas – is used by more than 350 students from Prep to Year 12.
“The Centre of Music Excellence is a stunning addition to the College campus. It was completed at the end of last year and has been warmly welcomed by the students, staff and parents. The acoustics, soundproofing, technology and overall design is superior and already, I believe, other schools are looking to replicate it,” said Dr Dorrington.
“I would also like to acknowledge the College architects from Burling Brown who worked with Wiley (the builders) and other consultants to develop this state-of-the-art facility.
“At Saint Stephen’s more than one third of our students are immersed in the Performing Arts program including academic music, Chamber Music Excellence programs, bands, orchestras, drumlines, choirs, ensembles, dance, speech and drama. Our new Centre, will certainly encourage up-and-coming musicians and performers and enhance our renowned reputation.
“We are proud of our Performing Arts program which has produced exceptional musicians and performers. In fact, we have many Old Scholars whose careers grace the stage and concert halls around the world – including opera, theatre, musicals, orchestras, bands and dance.
“On a regional, state and national level we have had countless eisteddfod wins over the years for our Drumlines, String Quartets, Junior and Senior Stage Bands, Symphony Orchestra, vocal ensembles and speech and drama.
“Each year our students are invited to take part in the Griffith University Queensland Conservatorium State Honours Ensemble Program which brings together the state’s highest achievers (instruments and vocals) for an intensive music program with world-renowned composers/tutors that culminates in a finale concert.
“Our amazing musicals over the years have won many award and accolades, including the recent Senior College productions ‘Into the Woods’ which was nominated for a record 42 awards in the Gold Coast Area Theatre Awards, and most recently ‘Spamalot’ which won three awards including best actor/actress.
“These awards and opportunities speak volumes about the talent and commitment of our students and staff.”
Dr Dorrington said although the Centre was already well-used by the College he envisaged broader community involvement via professional musicians seeking a quality performance and rehearsal space.
“The Centre was completed at the end of last year when we hosted a number of special occasions in the specially designed Recital Hall which features a Clair Brothers audio system, HD large format projection system, impressive lighting and moving fixtures from event light technology. Parents, friends and Old Scholars attended the Chamber Music Concert in the recital hall and the Class of 2018 graduates recorded the College Hymn and National Anthem. I was pleased to give them the opportunity to record there.
“Most adults wish they had learned to play an instrument or a language. Students at Saint Stephen’s have the opportunity to do both in contemporary learning spaces, with the best technology and under an umbrella of pastoral care.”