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13 Aug 2019
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Small school. Big opportunities.

St Columba’s Memorial School is taking to the stage to showcase its students’ talents at this year’s Catholic Schools Music Festival.

There’s music in the air in Yorketown. For the first time ever, Years 5, 6 and 7 students at St Columba’s Memorial School, Yorketown, are set to participate in the Catholic Schools Music Festival, an annual celebration of the musical talents of students in Catholic Education across South Australia. The school might be more than 200km from the music festival’s home base in Adelaide but that will be no barrier to its students singing their hearts out on stage in front of thousands of people when the event takes place in September this year.

The driving force behind this exciting project is St Columba’s principal Scott March, who himself participated in the event as a Year 7 student at St Joseph’s School in Murray Bridge back in 2000. It may have been almost two decades ago but the experience still holds fond memories for March, who took over as principal of the Yorketown school at the beginning of this year.

“Not many people in their lives get to stand on a stage in front of an audience of 2000- 3000 – that’s something you don’t forget,” March says. “It’s just an amazing night. I was part of the choir – I wouldn’t say I’m a great singer but you don’t have to be one to be part of the choir; it’s about being part of something bigger than yourself, I guess. It’s such a great event and a good way to showcase what children in Catholic Education can do.”

Showcasing talent and giving every one of its 81 students the opportunity to be the best they can be is key to March’s education philosophy, which is why students at the school are afforded opportunities to attend a number of state and regional events across the academic year, including Catholic Schools Athletics in Adelaide, Interschool Athletics in the Yorke Peninsula, the GRIP Leadership Conference and Dream Big Festival, as well as the school’s own Junior Choir and Senior Choir.

“We’re a small school but we try to provide big opportunities for children of all different abilities and aspirations,” March says. “Education has to be diverse; it has to be about more than just reading, writing and maths. It has to educate the whole child, whether it’s the child who wants to dig or create or build, or the child who wants to sing and dance.”

As well as traditional faith-based songs, this year’s festival setlist includes favourites such as Walking on Sunshine and a Wizard of Oz medley to celebrate the 80th anniversary of the iconic movie. “Then they all come together and stand on the stage and sing, up to 400 children on the four nights it runs,” March says. “When the curtain comes up and all the children are there, all singing in harmony and doing the same movements even though they’re all in different Catholic schools in different parts of South Australia, it’s pretty cool.

“It’s hard to put into words how it’s going to feel but I’m certainly going to be very proud seeing the children from our school up there on stage.”

 

Source: 2019/20 South Australian Catholic Schools, Advertiser Feature (Fourth Edition)
Words: Lynn Cameron
Photography: Russell Millard

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