While perhaps better known for its sporting traditions, Waverley College celebrates its artists and performers in equal measure with its sportsmen and academics. With a dedicated Performing Arts Centre and a head of college who is himself a musician and composer, a well-rounded arts program is strongly supported, and all boys are encouraged to participate.
The boys are inherently musical. They all have the ability to enjoy music. In the band we have students that have been playing for years and others who’ve only been playing for a couple of months.
It takes a lot of patience to get this out of the students. Being able to coax it out of some, others you have to say ‘hold on’ and wait for everyone else to catch up. There are boys ready to fly and I want them to fly, but I don’t want to leave anyone else behind. If we’re all moving at the same time you’ll hear it.
We have kids here that sometimes don’t fit the stereotype. Usually when you think co-curricular there is an emphasis on the physical side of things, on sport culture. Not everyone has these strengths. At Waverley, we’re just as musically or academically strong. It shows a balance of talents throughout the school.
The trick to a great band performance is having a balanced band program: making it exciting for the audience, and challenging enough for the players. This band will grow over the next few months before we go on tour to Europe. We’ll have workshops, Old Boys assisting, all different students working at different levels to prepare for the tour.
I love to show people what the Waverley College band can do. There are a lot of stereotypes around junior bands, but potentially there is no difference between what a school choir or band can do and what a professional group does. It is a matter of working consistently as a group and as individuals to improve the performance. The important thing is that the musicality of the performance has to transcend the technical difficulties.