Captivate String Orchestra Places 1st in Penrith Eisteddfod

Last Thursday 22nd August, the Captivate String Orchestra performed at the Penrith Eisteddfod and gained 1st place in the High School Orchestra section with 96 marks. The Captivate String Orchestra was formed in the term one school holidays in 2011. There are now 45 members of the orchestra which includes a full double bass and cello section, violas and violins. All of the students in the orchestra have come through our classroom strings program across 12 Catholic Primary Schools . The orchestra rehearses in 2 separate halves; the Penrith/Mountains Orchestra rehearses every 2nd Tuesday at St Mary MacKillop Primary School, South Penrith and the Blacktown Orchestra rehearses every 2nd Wednesday at St Andrew’s Primary, Marayong.

Increasingly, our orchestra members are moving through to our Catholic Secondary Schools and providing that our orchestra members are enrolled in a Catholic Secondary School in the Diocese of Parramatta, then they can remain in the Orchestra and continue to attend rehearsals, workshops and performances. There is no membership fee to belong to the Captivate String Orchestra and members are also able to attend free weekend workshops held a few times a year with expert tuition from our wonderful team of Captivate Classroom and Specialist teachers and occasionally with guest teachers of very high standing.

Although the majority of students in the Captivate String Orchestra are primary school, they are already playing High School level repertoire. In the Eisteddfod, we performed the St Anthony Chorale (Attributed Haydn, Arr. Rooke) and also the 1st Movement from Winter – the Four Seasons. (Vivaldi, Arr. Rooke) The solo for the 1st Movement of Winter was performed by Daniel Katafono of Delany College.

As the orchestra members move through to our Catholic Secondary Schools, so too will the level of repertoire increase. In term 4, the orchestras will be continuing to increase repertoire from our own teaching method used in our Captivate Strings Program; String Things Level 2. Our own published teaching method contains ensemble repertoire and helps to motivate students to practice at home with quality full orchestral backing tracks on the CD and detailed instructional video from our very talented specialist teachers on the DVD. Additionally, our higher level orchestral arrangements have QR codes on each part so that students can access a detailed tutorial video for their part; eg Cello part for Winter 1st movement. Access to online tutorials for our Captivate orchestra members increases motivation and makes our rehearsals much more efficient and enjoyable.

In term 4, we have a weekend workshop in the planning where we will work in sectional tutorials with our very talented team of specialist teachers on new repertoire and we will also be recording this year’s repertoire for a CD to be released next year. On Sunday afternoon, November 10th at 3 PM, both the Captivate String Orchestras and our Staff Chamber Orchestra will present a very exciting concert at St Finbar’s Catholic Church, Glenbrook.

The Blacktown Captivate String Orchestra performing Winter at the Captivate BEST OF Showcase at the Dame Joan Sutherland Performing Arts Centre – Jun 2013

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About captivatestrings

Phil Rooke is a Teacher Educator, specializing in Music Education for the Catholic Education Office - Diocese of Parramatta, authoring & implementing teaching programs and leading music learning across a system of 78 schools in Western Sydney. "I am on a learning journey to find and invent better ways to motivate students and teachers in music making."
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