Archive for November, 2011

Our 21st Birthday Bash!

November 28, 2011

We had a wonderful time at our 21st Birthday Party! It was a picnic in the park and we invited all our AMS families – past and present. We had 400 RSVPs. The weather kept a few frail folks away but we still had plenty of people and plenty of fun! 

This was the event I knew we SHOULD have – but I just couldnt get my head around fitting it in at this time of the year. Cue my 2 close friends and colleagues, Lindi & Samanatha – who talked me into it (made it sound easy!) and then  proceeded to help with all the organising. I am so glad we did it – it was lots of fun and wonderful to see everyone ‘on the outside’….

So here is my 21st picnic report:

It was a really hot day but looking a bit gray. Miss Lindi had become obsessed with the weather forecast  (apparently there was a 47% chance of rain at 3pm – or was that 74%?) but we kept telling each other it was not going to rain and neither of us would look at the sky. (As the day went on several parents attempted to show us the weather on their fancy phones but we were not looking at those either.) 

We started off with lolly bags, fairy bread, chips & bottles of water. Miss Samantha had the brilliant idea of a ‘fairy bread production line’ which was lots of fun. It was lovely to see all our families arriving! There were a few visits from some ‘old’ AMS students – some of them now married and working as professional musicians. 

There were guest books to sign and the Gumball guessing competition – as well as the check-in desk for our ‘Make Your Own Musical Instrument Competition’. 

Bill had the megaphone and Rafi had the medals all ready to hand out –  so it was clearly time for some fun & games. We got going with some egg & spoon relays  – we used our percussion egg shakers – and the staff actually won one! (Our enthusiasm was not diminished by the fact that the other teams were mostly under the age of 10.) The 3 legged race was hilarious to say the least. Mr Jake decided to carry Luke (is that cheating?) and Miss Chiara & Caleb almost won but crashed & burned badly right at the finish line. We had to disqualify Patricia and Ruby who came apart & ran the whole race ‘unattached’….

 The Hoola Hooping competition was next – and some of the kids are amazing. The last ones standing could keep the hoop going with their hands on their head, their tongues out, clapping their hands, and whatever else we could dream up. There were also a couple of Mums who showed some serious talent! 

Our last athletic event was the Water Bomb Toss. Find a partner, grab a water bomb and gently toss. Take a step back each time you catch one until the balloon finally breaks….quite a few spectacular ‘splats’. I am happy to report that George and I were the clear winners in this event – and we enjoyed getting our well deserved medals. 

Off we went to our ‘Make your own Musical Instrument’ competition. Miss Samantha & Mr Jake did a wonderful job of collecting, recording & judging it – and some of the instruments were amazing! There were prizes distributed amongst the most musical , the prettiest, the most parental collaboration and other wonderful categories. Our 2 big winners went home with a $50 gist voucher from ‘Woodwind and Brass’ at Bondi Junction. 

Then it was time for Ice Blocks, cake and just enough time to sing Happy Birthday before it started to rain. (And then there was the Polyphonic water fight…)

And a lovely afternoon was had by all!

We have had a few parents suggest it was so much fun that it should be an annual event. Yes. Dont hold your breath but we are considering it….

AMS Camp 2011

November 22, 2011

Each year we open up the design of our camp t-shirts to our students. The winning artist has their design plastered all over our shirts for the end of camp concert. This year our winner was Courtney Coates – and her quirky ‘eye chart’ design basically summed up our camp: ‘AMS camp is so much fun I would not miss it for anything in the world’…

We had a wonderful time on camp again this year. 82 students and lots of staff enjoyed a huge range of musical activities. It was so wet that we had to cancel kayaking but we had plenty of fun indoors! In fact, some of our kids voted that it was better because we got time for extra musical activities.

We happily replaced our kayaking session with some technology based music making. We broke into small groups and devised some groovy compositions using the ‘madpad’ app. There were car, clothing & kitchen compositions. Very creative! We had some demos of various ‘looping stations’ from Oscar & Guy which was really inspiring.

Choir was great. We sang 3 different rounds as well as a Glee mash-up and ‘Pure Imagination’ from Willy Wonka. We learned some new warm-ups and sang in lots of parts. The thing that gets me every year is just how fast our campers pick up new material. With such wonderful ears, they almost teach themselves. We sing it once – and there you go – only some musical tweaking required. Once again we all enjoyed singing with ‘the band’ – our regular combo of Mr Jake with Caleb and Oscar kept us all feeling groovy and Miss Chiara & I took turns playig piano with the band. Always fun!

Everyone performed in an ensemble group: Hands, Tubes or Percussion. We only had 3 rehearsals of 30 or 40 minutes each and then a performance for our parents. These groups might look like fun and games but the skills here are big. Musical memory (and developing it quickly!) is imperative. So is learning to WAIT (very hard) and come in at exactly the right time. The truth is it doesnt take much to muck these ensembles up – but our groups did a terrific job of listening and working together.

Mr Guy was amazing – he showed us all sorts of instruments including a ‘theramin’ – which was incredible! Liam Strang was so impressed with it, he did some research for us:

Hi AMS, Thanks for having me at camp again. The aspect that I enjoyed the most was the intricate instrument that Guy Gross showed us and that I wished I had was the Theremin. It got me thinking, I wondered why someone would design and build such a weird but wonderful instrument where you don’t even need to touch it to make the ghostly sound effect. I figured out the name of the inventor was Léon Theremin he was born in Saint Petersburg and died in Moscow Russia he was an extremely serious man who had a dream to make the first instrument that didn’t use a strength of any kind. From Liam.

We played games and did some dancing…. and our dress up night was the letter ‘F’. There were fairies, florists, a fork (!!), some freaks, some frenchmen and a pretty cool ‘Friday’ performance. The staff were ‘Fairy lights’ and were either plugged in or solar powered for the evening. (We also wore our matching polka dot PJ pants!)

This year was also our trial run of ‘POLYPHONIC’ – an additional 24 hours of camp for our keen teens. I think it deserves it’s own blog post actually…but let’s just say it will now be a permanent feature of AMS camp.

As always, its the kids & the staff that make camp so special. Thankyou to our wonderful teachers who spent the weekend doubling as counsellors, phramacists, conductors, crowd control, hairdressers, mover-on-ers and the like. Thanks to the parent helpers who transformed themselves into food cutters & bed makers amongst other things.

Another very special year at camp. Another opportunity to get to know our families better and to get the very best from each of our students. Already planning the next one…..

Outstanding Student Results!

November 22, 2011

Ah yes, sorry for the delay – but here is a belated update on our term 1 & 2 results this year. We will try to do an ‘end of year’ update ASAP.

As always, we are very proud…

Congratulations to:
Jack Symonds – Jack is a former AMS student who was in Miss Samantha’s class at Randwick for many years. He recently received his Bachelor of Music degree with First Class Honours at the Sydney Conservatorium and has been offered a full scholarship to the Royal College of Music in London to complete his Masters in Composition. Jack is the 2nd AMS student in recent years to win the University Medal. It was awarded to Tristan Coelho (Miss Michelle & Miss Samantha’s classes) a few years ago for Bachelor of Music, also at the Sydney Conservatorium

Yenlamtam Clark has been accepted into year 7 at the Conservatorium High School for 2012 on French Horn & Piano. Yen is in Mr Jake’s Spectrum class at AMS Dulwich Hill and has his private lessons with Miss Laura

Brendan Stuart placed 1st in Music in year 7 at The Shore School. Brendan is in Miss Keryn’s Extension class at AMS Narrabeen

Rafi Owen placed first in his music class in year 7 at Sydney Grammar School. Rafi is in Miss Michelle’s Advanced class at AMS Randwick

Harley Koltai placed first in his music class in year 7 at Cranbrook. Harley is in Miss Michelle’s Advanced class at AMS Randwick

Remi Owen received a High Distinction in his 1st semester music exam in year 8 at Sydney Grammar School. Remi would also like his starring role as a Munchkin in the ASCHAM Musical production noted here. Remi is in Miss Michelle’s Advanced class at AMS Randwick

Ruby Learoyd received full marks for her music composition in year 8 at St Vincents College. Ruby is in Miss Michelle’s Advanced class and Miss Elisha’s Viva Voice class at AMS Randwick

Eden Dorra received 120% in his school music exam (due to the fact that he not only got full marks but also completed the test in record time!) Eden is in Miss Lindi’s Advanced class at AMS Randwick

Hannah Paul won 1st Place in the Vocal Solo Ballad & 2nd Place in Character Song in Costume in the Northern Beaches Eisteddfod. Hannah is in Mr Jake’s Viva Voice class at AMS Narrabeen

Liam Patterson performed in the Scholars recital at Cranbrook, where he is on a full music scholarship for Bassoon. Liam attends Miss Michelle’s advanced class at AMS Randwick

Jessica Franke has been awarded a part in the Regals Musical Society production of ‘Annie’. Jess is in Miss Elisha’s Viva Voice class at AMS Randwick

Chloe Marshall has a call-back from her audition for the upcoming major production of ‘Annie the Musical’. Chloe is in Miss Elisha’s Extension class at AMS Randwick

Jay Newman & James Laver were both awarded parts in their school musical productions

Harley Koltai & Liam Strang were awarded an A+ grading for their piano exam. Harley and Liam are both in Advanced course at AMS Randwick

The following students all received an A grading for their AMS or AMEB piano exams;
Dylan O’Connor, Melissa Yahghoglu, Ee-shyan Balnave, He-shyan Balnave, Orlando Janschek, Auvro Adhikari, Amber Boyden, Ruby Goldman, Ruby Learoyd, Ruby Newman,

We are still awaiting results from some of our written theory exams and will report back as soon as the results appear. We do know that Miss Michelle’s grade 2 theory class did extremely well – these students all with marks of 95% or higher;
Patricia Lapinski, Isaac Madder, Courtney Coates, Cato Ayyar, Rafi Owen, Ruby Learoyd, Henrietta Burns

A busy, busy year…

November 22, 2011

We have been busy! (It has been great!!) So busy in fact that there has not been a second to update here or wax lyrical on anything for quite a while. Looking forward to writing about so many things we have done recently:

Our 21st Birthday party! We had a big picnic in the park last weekend with old fashioned games & races, lolly bags, fairy bread and a whole lot of cake… but the highlight was definitely our ‘make your own musical instrument’ competition. What a clever, industrious bunch of students we have at AMS!

Another AMAZING AMS camp – this year with ‘POLYPHONIC’ –  an additional 24 hours for our keen teens. A wonderful experience for all of us! Stand by for some gory details…

Another fantastic AMS Piano Eisteddfod – with gorgeous George Machado taking out the big award… and some new insights from our brilliant adjudicator Kate Lidbetter…

Another round of AMS Piano exams. Well done all you clever pianists out there!

More outstanding results from our AMEB written exams. They just keep coming!

And right now we are gearing up for AMS COMPOSERS DAY – only a few weeks away. And after that (and our end of year party time) I really will write & catch you all up on our big year!