Catholic Education South Australia
20 Oct 2023
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Catholic Schools Music Festival hits all the right notes!

The Catholic Schools Music Festival (CSMF) has wrapped for another year.

Now in its 35th year, the Catholic Education SA festival brought together more than 2000 students from 71 regional and metropolitan Catholic schools from across South Australia to showcase their vast musical gifts.

Held in the Festival Theatre at the Adelaide Festival Centre across four nights from September 26 to 29, each performance comprised a carefully crafted medley of talented youth.

The 2023 theme ‘Where Dreams Begin’ was in recognition of 100 years since the Walt Disney Company was founded. Included in the program was popular hits from Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Pinocchio, Cinderella, The Mickey Mouse Club, The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin, The Lion King and Toy Story.

Each of the performances involved a 400-voice choir of students in Years 5 to 7 from approximately 67 Catholic primary schools. The massed choirs were accompanied by Loreto College Senior Choir and a Combined Secondary Boys Vocal Ensemble providing a rich baritone element.

The arrangements of the choral songs involved soloists chosen by audition and this year were complemented by selected secondary students in a string ensemble, brass ensembled and a rhythm section.

Throughout the evening, the choral brackets were interspersed with performances by support acts which consisted of soloists and ensembles who are selected by audition from Catholic secondary schools.

Catholic Education SA Executive Director Dr Neil McGoran said the music festival, produced and managed by the small team of Music Director Denise Rothall and Production Coordinator Samantha Taylor, continues to be a highlight of the South Australian Catholic Education calendar.

“We are so proud of these students who are a part of the festival. It is a wonderful celebration of musical talent, joy and life in our students who come from right across our Catholic school communities.”

Festival director Denise Rothall said the festival was “much more” than just a week of performances.

“It is a year of education, bringing together students from differing backgrounds to share social and emotional interaction in a positive learning environment, with music as the focus,” she said.

“The culmination of months of hard work and rehearsals is a large-scale professional performance in one of Adelaide’s most prestigious venues – something the young people will remember for a lifetime.”

The festival held its first performance in St Peter’s College Memorial Hall in 1989, with 16 schools participating. Over the years it has grown to now include four concerts, bringing together thousands of students, parents, school staff, parishes and members of the public in celebrating the extraordinary talents of young people within Catholic schools across South Australia.

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