High Notes, Vol 16 No 36, November 13 2015

Attention: open in a new window. E-mail

From the Principal

High Talent
It was great that the Year 10 PDC debating team captured the Teasdale Trophy by persuading the adjudicators that weight loss programs should not be banned from television. Akeed Ahamed Ramzi, Hugh Bartley, Louis Saunders and David Wu were convincing winners over Killara High School.  Congratulations to our 15s basketball team who finished third behind Westfields Sports High in the CHS NSW basketball Knockout Competition : Nirvand Chan, Ben Coan, Oscar Dumas, Archibald Fox, Daniel Hamilton, Joshua Hua, Sam Merrick, Carter Opperman, Kobe Shannon and Norton Wu.

Orientation Day 2015
Thank you to our staff, students and parents who worked so well together to make the orientation / enrolment process as smooth and efficient as possible. The enrolment processes were completed in good time thanks to the SAS staff. They had to process  c. 213  new students.  The Great Hall was full for the assembly 4:00-4:45. Many new students and their parents were shown around the school by Prefects. These boys also did a wonderful job assisting the SAS staff in the Common Room as they processed applications. Volunteers who attended the various activity stalls did a great job too, as did the parents who gave up their time. Thank you also to the P & C organised by Dora Shapiro for providing refreshments. Mr Aldous organised the day very efficiently again. Thank you to everyone involved.

Year 11 Reports
Too many students have not yet discussed their progress with me. Clearance Forms have been issued to all boys and they should be meeting their commitments. The boys are deciding on their courses for the HSC and it is imperative that I speak to them all before Tuesday, 17 November. Please ask your son for his report and his plans for courses for 2016. Boys need to start focussing on the important months of HSC learning ahead! As from 19 November, strong negative consequences will have to be applied to force boys to comply with school policy.

Student Award Scheme
Last points for the Student Award Scheme can be earned up to the end of this month. If you check your participation file and detect that something is missing, it is up to you to notify the MIC in charge of the activity to have the text file of successful participants compiled and sent to Mr Dowdell. Awards have to be determined and medallions/ plaques ordered before the end of the school year so that they will be ready in time for our awards assemblies early next year.

Music Awards Assembly
Paul Pang flew over from Auckland especially for this assembly to honour his old school and reprise the performance that had such an impression on us in 2006. He played the piece at the Opera House in 2007 and the composer lauded it as the best interpretation of his music that he had ever heard. Paul spoke about ‘creative persuasion’ as a life skill he learned from studying music. He believes that engaging with your audience is the key to effective communication and from there to persuasion of an argument, proposition or point of view. Just as he manipulated the notes in the score to surprise and delight the audience through his piano, he used his expressions and allusions to surprise and engage his clients in architecture and more recently, judges in Auckland where he works as a litigation lawyer. His discursive speech engaged the audience and left them with a strong impression of the value of studying music. My speech to the assembly is reprinted below:

"Special guest Paul Pang (SHS2006), members of the Music Committee, staff and students, welcome to our 10th annual Music Awards Assembly. This morning’s assembly is an occasion to recognise and acknowledge the accomplishments of our performance music program participants.  It was in Mr Pang’s graduating year when we first held a special assembly to honour the accomplishments of our performance music students. Back then, our acceleration program was only just producing more senior students who not only studied Music 2 and extension at the HSC in greater numbers, but also continued on playing in school ensembles even in their final year. Their participation as performers and role models has had a lasting influence on the quality and depth of the performance music program at High. I remember distinctly the passion with which Paul infused his piano playing at assemblies and how it engaged the audience in a shared appreciation of the joy of music.

"Musical performances are integral to many assemblies, formal occasions and special events that define and build school culture. Musical performance is vertically integrated and access to ensembles is based on merit. It is a uniting activity and it provides opportunities for students to perform for an audience, which is one important reason why people learn to play instruments. The prospect of instant feedback in response to something we do is always motivating for performers.

"Musical performance showcases the talents of our students to the wider community. Our Marching Band has built up a strong reputation at Anzac Day marches. Our periodic tours are legendary. Performance music is a major co-curricular activity at High. Your programs indicate the depth and breadth of musical performance opportunities at High.

"Neuroscience is discovering many beneficial effects from music programs. Children with a year of music classes had higher empathy scores and decoded emotional information better than the control group without any music teaching. Musicians can detect sadness and fear better than non-musicians when listening to utterances in a language unknown to them. Singing communally releases dopamine, cortisol and oxytocin – the ‘feel good’ chemicals in the brain. Even when faced with surgery, those who listened to music were less stressed than those given a stress depressant drug. So, performing or listening to music has mental health benefits for students.

"Our programs cannot function without the strenuous involvement of our staff. I want to thank the Music teachers, Ms Miller, Ms Lim and Ms Kim, as well as our professional tutors, for the time they have devoted to training ensembles for performance.  Thank you to Ms Graul for her regular administrative support and to the resurrected music committee. I hope we can restore direction in our use of parking proceeds to provide big instruments, sheet music and support for public performances for our students.

"High has produced many good musicians and the purpose of the assembly is about honouring those current students who are upholding that fine tradition. I congratulate those boys being acknowledged today and urge them to continue their efforts in musical training and performance. "
Dr K A Jaggar

Return to Index

Continue reading in PDF format

This complete issue of High Notes is available in PDF format.