Personalities and voices shone at St Brendan’s Catholic Primary Annandale as students farewelled their music teacher Emily Maguire with a whole school performance.
Places, friendship and popular musicals were themes of the concert, held on Monday. Each grade performed a song, while the school’s musical theatre group drew from Aladdin and The Wizard of Oz for their acts.
Ms Maguire has taught at the school for two years. Her time there has included guiding a musical theatre group of 24 students and school band of 18 students who play a range of instruments including piano, percussion, flute, clarinet, and saxophone. Ms Maguire said she had enjoyed being part of the school community and would miss it.
“It’s a lovely school, with beautiful leadership, beautiful staff and a lovely community as well. It makes for happy teaching,” she said.
“It has been a beautiful place to work. It’s so wonderful that music and the arts are valued by this school. There is a lot of ongoing research about the benefits of music education on the brain and the cognitive development of young people particularly. Music is a very essential part of developing higher order thinking and of developing the whole child.”
Principal Louise Maguire said the school motto ‘Inspiring hearts and minds, one child at a time’ recognised each student’s gifts and talents, including those who were musically inclined.
“Performance is a great road for learning and building students’ self-esteem and confidence,” she said.
“To raise broad children we have to give them options in life, and music is a vital one for a really balanced education.”
The school’s Year 6 music leaders Gabriel Dillon, Levi Collins, and Veronica Vedovato worked with school captains Mason Trentini and Maggie Mulherin to help the performances run smoothly. Mason and Maggie shared the Master of Ceremonies role at the event. Gabriel, a member of the Sydney Children’s Choir, said he asked for the music leader role to be introduced.
“The school was looking to make more leadership positions and I thought there should be a music leader because often the music teacher needs help,” he said.
“With the younger students that come along, like the Kindy kids and Year 1s we often encourage and help them, not because we have to, but because we want to.”
Each grade was asked to describe Ms Maguire in three words and they shared these at the end of the concert, naming qualities such as dedicated, creative, kind, cheerful, smart, brilliant, talented, encouraging, and inspiring.
To raise broad children we have to give them options in life, and music is a vital one for a really balanced education.
Gabriel said Ms Maguire had made music fun. “I loved how she would always smile and how everything was always fun,” he said.
“We don’t find it boring to go to music. Every Monday we’re excited to be there.”
Levi, who sings and plays drums, said he grew to like Ms Maguire quickly after joining the school in Year 5. “I could never have had a better teacher,” he said.
Year 6 students performed a Beatles medley, and Year 5 ‘Little shop of horrors’. Year 4 students sang ‘Put on a happy face’ from the musical Bye Bye Birdie, and Year 3 recited the tongue-twisting Australian town names in ‘I’ve been everywhere’. Year 2 dressed in fluorescent sunglasses and caps and included retro dance moves in their rendition of ‘Funky Town’. Year 1 performed ‘You’ve got a friend in me’ from the animated film Toy Story, and Kindergarten sang Sesame Street song ‘Rubber Duckie’.