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As well as being a wonderful experience, singing in the Festival has also enabled my students to develop necessary life-long skills. (Janine, Choir Trainer)
 

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"As an aspiring performer, being able to perform in such a professional environment was amazing". (Maria, Year 9, Girls' Vocal Ensemble)

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"I love seeing the expressions on the students' faces and how the performance comes to life. Awesome!" (Alison, Choir Trainer)

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2014 warming up

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2015 Festival Theatre

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2016 Twilight Concert, St Michael's College

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2017 AEC Arena

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2018 AEC Theatre

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2019 Foyer Act, AFC

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2020 Film Recordings, St Michael's College

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2021 Foyer Act, AEC "Orb"

About the Festival

What is the Catholic Schools Music Festival?

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The Catholic Schools Music Festival is the premier Arts Event for Catholic Education in South Australia. It is a not-for-profit event which relies on the generous support of school communities and volunteers to make it a great success.

The CSMF is a showcase of talent from students within upper primary and secondary Catholic schools involving approximately 2000 students who spend 7 months preparing for their moment on stage. Performances are held each September, with each evening featuring a massed choir, instrumental ensembles, vocal groups and solo artists.

The musical program consists of a 374-voice Combined Schools Upper Primary Choir formed by different schools each evening. All of the 65 schools involved in the massed choir rehearse weekly with their Choir Trainer, and then come together for their combined rehearsal one month prior to the event.

The choral program is supported by many other performers.  The music team write arrangements of the choral songs to involve both primary and secondary school soloists chosen by audition. The massed choir is complemented by a Secondary Girls Choir and a Secondary Boys Vocal Ensemble. The whole sound is accompanied by selected secondary students who form a string ensemble, and a 4-piece rhythm section which includes the Festival accompanists who work with the choirs year-round.

A variety of high calibre Support Acts selected by audition comprising solo, duet, small and large ensemble items provide entertainment throughout the evening both on stage interspersed throughout the choral program and as foyer entertainment prior to the concert.

Auditions are held to select four students in Years 7 & 8 to host an evening performance each with an adult compere. These students work together with their adult mentor across a series of workshops and individual sessions and are coached in public speaking skills.

The Festival is more than just a week of performances. It is a year of education. Students from differing backgrounds come together and share social and emotional interaction in a positive learning environment. To be able to experience the journey involving a large-scale professional performance in one of Adelaide’s most prestigious venues is very significant and beneficial to our young people on so many levels.

The first performance was held in St Peter’s College Memorial Hall on August 16, 1989. On that occasion, 16 schools participated in the festival choir and five support acts performed. The following year it moved venue to the Adelaide Festival Theatre and in 1991 was performed across two nights. In 1998 this was extended to three nights, then in 2001 it grew to four nights where it has remained to date.  2022 marks the 34th annual festival with 80 schools now participating.

The Music Festival embraces our country communities, with representation from approximately 5 or 6 country schools each year (Clare, Yorketown, Whyalla, Wallaroo & Murray Bridge). As with most extra-curricular activities for schools, travel costs are the biggest barrier for our regional areas.

Choir Trainers attend 3 teacher-training sessions during the first half of the year to learn choral techniques and to help students develop the skills required to memorise their repertoire and choreography. In addition, the Music Director visits each school throughout terms 1 & 2 to provide support.

The CSMF sits in the Catholic Identity section of Catholic Education South Australia within the SA Commission for Catholic Schools. Key personnel comprise a Production Coordinator and a Music Director, with a volunteer committee of 10 members who meet 6 times a year consisting of teachers, music coordinators and leadership within our schools.

 About the Music Festival Information Brochure.pdf

...testimonials from the teachers...

"...The CSMF experience is like no other available to our students. It is special, unique and wonderful. Those students who participate continue to talk about it for years to come and reflect on it as one of the highlights of their primary schooling..."

"...Students are displaying initiative, dedication and creativity through participation...."

"...All students are required to be disciplined to commit to an ensemble for the entire year and to challenge themselves intellectually to learn new repertoire and musical skills. They are all developing impulse control and executive function skills through musical learning and the CSMF facilitates this..."

"...Students are developing confidence through performance opportunities. We see each year, the high achievers of our school are often those who have been involved with music and CSMF at some stage throughout their schooling. I do not think this is a coincidence and much data would agree..."

"...My choir students were high achievers, showing that they are capable learners in all aspects of the process during choir training. They all grew in their knowledge of music, especially those who did not know how to follow the notes on the page, as well as developing their 'ear' for music and ensuring to practice to make sure the pitch was accurate. The choir were all enthusiastic to learn the words to the songs, but then recognised that this was only the beginning because becoming ONE VOICE is much harder than they originally anticipated..."

"...The CSMF provides students with a forum where they become responsible for their own preparations and get to 'own' their performance. It provides them with a wonderfully unique and uplifting experience - a performance experience that they may not otherwise encounter. They are able to self-reflect on their knowledge/understanding of the songs and identify within themselves areas for improvement. They develop organisational skills and life-long qualities such as cooperation, patience, collaboration and responsibility..."

...from the students...

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What did you learn about performing that you didn’t know before?

…Boys vs girls voice range…

…Having your hands by your side and opening your jaw more…

…how fun singing is…

…how still you have to stand…

…I didn’t know that there would be that many kids there…

…I learned how to sing in harmony…

…I learnt how to be louder with my voice and that if you did forget a word you can stop and join and that when you drop your jaw the sound is more vibrant…

…I learnt that hard work pays off and if you put your heart into it you will feel proud of yourself once it all finished…

…I learnt that people have to be still at the end of every song and that there are many people behind the scenes…

…Singing with everyone in a mass choir you can sing as much as you want…

 

Describe something that you were really proud of this year:

…I was really proud of memorising my words…

…getting involved in choir…

…our harmonies…

…I was really proud for joining in on the choir and learning the ways around being a performer…

…Standing and performing all the songs and actions we work so hard to perform and practice but still having fun and it was all an awesome experience…

…I was really proud of my friend for getting a solo. I'm also very proud of everyone who participated and gave it go…

…I am super proud for having the courage and determination to participate in the choir…

…I am really proud of how everyone came together and created a wonderful harmony…

…Well I was really proud of getting a solo it really meant a lot to me… I was so happy and overwhelmed I was scared at first and thought that I would get stage fright but all my peers helped me through that and I just sung. When I sung the feeling was beautiful…

…Giving it a go, and getting out of my comfort zone….

 

What advice would you give to next year’s students?

…Just relax and breathe and practice a lot…

…To be determined to practice as much as they can and to also always have fun!...

…Remember to come to the rehearsals and try to remember your words…

…To give choir a go because it’s really fun and you don’t need to be an excellent singer because we’re all learning…

…I would advise that they come well prepared, as well as being ready for the nerves that may come with it…

…Join in and listen to all the songs in-between choir practices and really enjoy the hard work put in and the result of it…

…keep practising and follow your dreams…

…don’t be nervous, it’s really fun! If you have the slight feeling of joining the choir, do it! You won’t regret it…

Catholic Schools Music Festival Sept 26-29, 2022
Adelaide Festival Theatre