Optima Performing Arts


The Performing Arts Optima Program commences with the Chamber of Music Excellence Program.

This Program features our most talented senior strings students alongside other musicians. Duos, quartets, and quintets all audition for a place in the program. The aim of the program is for students to strive for a pursuit of excellence with their preferred instrument and compete at the highest level.

Recent performances include:

  • Mozart’s Clarinet Quintet in A Major,
  • Tchaikovsky’s String Quartet No. 1 and
  • String Quartet No. 14 ‘Death and the Maiden’ by Schubert.

Our Senior String Quartet has consistently placed at the Gold Coast Eisteddfod, competing in the ‘open’ category and often as the only group with members all from the same school.

Students strive to be part of the Chamber Music Excellence Program by taking part in the Emerging Chamber Music Program. As part of this program, students from Years 5 to 8 participate in junior and intermediate quartets to learn the craft of chamber music and develop their ensemble skills.

The Chamber Music Excellence Program is led by our Strings Coordinator, Mr Sam Konise. Sam is a violinist originally from New Zealand. He has completed his studies at the University of Canterbury, San Fransisco Conservatory of Music and also Schola Music, the training ground for members of the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra.

Alongside the Chamber Music Excellence Program, Saint Stephen’s College has delivered industry specific courses, enabling students to complete qualifications relevant to the music industry. Traditionally only available through external providers, the Certificate III in Music (Performance) course is delivered on campus by our qualified teachers. Students in Year 10 undertake this course to hone their performance skills, learn about the music industry and develop their musical careers. As well as rehearsing and performing in our purpose-built Recital Hall, students have access to a working recording studio and learn how to set up for sessions and record their class band. In partnership with the Queensland College of Music, the Certificate III in Music (Performance) encourages to spread their wings and prepare for a life in the music industry.

Alongside the Optima Chamber Music Excellence Program, we have also begun development of the Optima Voices. This program features a small group of our most talented Senior College vocal students, who learn and perform repertoire with a focus on musical theatre. Students audition for places within the Optima Voices and must be a minimum equivalent AMEB grade requirement. They will learn and perform repertoire with a focus on musical theatre and contemporary music, participating in extra choral rehearsals each week as well as undertaking specific vocal technique sessions to develop their skills. As part of our Optima pathways, students in Years 4 to 6 will also be invited to audition for our Optima Emerging Voices. These students will learn and rehearse alongside those in the Optima Voices who will also act as mentors for our younger singers.

The Optima Vocal Program is led by our vocal tutor and Senior College Musical Director Caroline Taylor. Caroline studied Musical Theatre at Central Queensland University and later obtained her Master of Music Studies (Voice) from the Queensland Conservatorium Griffith University. She has been a regular performer and vocal coach on the Gold Coast for a number of years and has worked on musicals such as Grease, Mamma Mia, Joseph, and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat and many more.