Posted by Kerry Martin
on 6 October 2020
During the COVID-19 lockdown, the De La Salle College Malvern's Music Department responded quickly to the challenges of adapting to a remote model of education. Both the junior band program classes and private instrumental lessons were conducted via Microsoft Teams and despite the change in format, students made excellent progress, culminating in some excellent band performances and individual recitals when classes resumed at the end of May.
The Music Coordinator, Mr Luke Serrano said lockdown had given rise to many opportunities. "Staff and students embraced new online music education technologies, audio/video recording programs and equipment making the closure period a time of growth for the College's music community, which will no doubt lead to many positive educational outcomes in the years to come."
One exciting opportunity is the Department's decision to release an album, Music of De La Salle 2020, showcasing the talents of the music students and staff.
"It is intended that the album will be an annual production which will forge the cultural memory of performed music at De La Salle. Links to the album tracks will be provided free to the College community," Serrano said.
When students returned some small scale performances recommenced with several lunchtime concerts, including the Battle of the Bands, won this year by a predominantly Year 10 outfit called The Leftovers. They will go on to represent the College in September at the ACC Battle of the Bands.
"One unique project, which I am very much looking forward to bringing back to life, is the De La Salle/OLSH co-production of Typhoid Mary, which is now planned for performance in 2021."
Serrano came on board the project in mid-2019 as co-composer and musical director. "I worked in my spare hours over four months to revise Andrew Murrell's original music for the show, writing 90 minutes of new arrangements and orchestrations that intensify the drama and take advantage of the specific individual skills of De La Salle's senior musicians and music staff."
"With composition being my primary focus as a musician, it has been particularly satisfying to be able to make a contribution of this nature to the College's performing arts program. Typhoid Mary is a brilliant show, and perfectly suited to our complicated times. Through the lens of a tale that's 100 years old, the play raises many pertinent issues of our times; the battle between group think and expert (scientific) opinion, the immigrant experience, gender equity issues, and of course life in a time of contagion. Hopefully the current social distancing requirements in Victoria will be able to be sufficiently relaxed in time, so that we may tell this entertaining story. After what we have all been through so far in 2020 I believe will be a truly cathartic experience."
Click HERE to download the September issue of 'Roll Call' showcases some of their stories, updates the reader on student and community activities and how our De La Salle community is coping in our new normal.