Marist College Ashgrove offers an ensemble-based program, providing opportunities for students to be involved in a wide variety of choral and instrumental activities. Over twenty small and large ensembles operate within the program each week and cater for students of all levels from beginners through to advanced students. The choral and instrumental ensemble program at Marist College Ashgrove is inclusive to all. Students will participate in one or more of the following core and extension ensembles.

Strings & Symphony

The College has a full Symphony Orchestra and four String Ensembles. Both Chamber Strings and Symphony Orchestra are comprised of students of the highest standard. However, the College caters for students of all abilities, including beginner and intermediate ensembles as well. 

Strings & Symphony provides students with advanced musical development in an orchestral context and numerous performance opportunities throughout the year. Highlights for Strings & Symphony include the Cathedral Concert in Brisbane’s St Stephen’s Cathedral. As well as the biennial Blue & Gold Concert, featuring guest ensemble members from the Ashgrove community.

Guitar Ensembles

The College has a large guitar cohort, over 150 students and four ensembles. Ranging from beginner groups, starting as young as grade five and progressing into senior year levels, featuring some great talent fostered here at Marist.

Including diverse genres in both contemporary and classical styles, our Guitar Ensembles provide students with advanced musical development, including reading skills and numerous performance opportunities throughout the year. Noting the annual Cathedral and Chapel Concerts which provide a great acoustic setting for these ensembles.

Choral Ensembles

There are currently two core choral ensembles at the College: Marist Voices and Performance Choir. Marist Voices is a group catering for unchanged voices and Performance Choir consists of changed voice types (including Bass, Baritone and Tenor). Performance Choir also forms part of the liturgy ensemble, involved in various College masses throughout the year.

Many boys may experience challenges with singing as their voice changes. Joining a choral ensemble is a great way to navigate through this and enjoy many performance opportunities throughout the year while developing their musical skills. Some highlights include the local Ashgrove ANZAC Day Ceremony, as well as Annual Concerts held in the Molly & Len Draney Theatre.

Wind Ensembles

The College currently has three Wind Bands (Wind Orchestra 1, Wind Orchestra 2 and Wind Ensemble). These range across all levels of ability and cater for the large number of students who learn a woodwind, brass or percussion instruments across Years 5 to 12.

Wind Ensembles provide students with advanced musical development in an orchestral context. Each group is afforded a number of performing opportunities in the Molly & Len Draney Theatre throughout the year. Some of which are combined with other schools and musical entities. Some highlights include the Winds and Percussion Concert in Semester Two. 

Please note that to be involved in an extension ensemble, students must be participating in at least one of the College’s Core Ensembles.

Jazz Ensembles

The College currently has three Big Bands and several small Jazz Ensembles that cater for a wide level of skills, from basic through to advanced. There is a focus in the program on developing improvisational and listening skills that are integral to the development of a good understanding of the jazz idiom.

Our Jazz Ensembles incorporate styles from traditional Big Band, Swing and Jazz through to more contemporary works. With a strong focus on improvisation and technique, students have the opportunity to develop advanced music skills and perform at many key events throughout the year. Some highlights include the Queensland Youth Big Band Festival at Brisbane Jazz Club and the Essentially Ellington Jazz Festival, featuring guest mentors from NYC’s Jazz at the Lincoln Centre.

Percussion Ensembles

The College has three percussion ensembles which feature students across all levels. With a focus on both tuned and non-tuned percussion, these ensembles cover a diverse range of styles and showcase some great talent within the department.

These ensembles allow students to develop advanced musical skills under direction by our specialist percussion staff; with a focus on reading, improvisation and exposure to contemporary works. There are many performance opportunities for these groups throughout the year, including highlights such as the Winds & Percussion Concert in Semester 2 and the Percussion Spectacular, featuring other combined ensembles with other schools and workshops.

Chamber Choir

The College Chamber Choir is an auditioned group that features some of the College’s most regarded singers. With very limited places available, this ensemble truly showcases students who have honed in on their craft.

Chamber Choir allows students to further develop advanced choral skills through diverse repertoire, showcasing all voice types within the ensemble, as well as featured soloists. There is a strong emphasis on listening and aural skills for vocal technique, as well as performance skills which are demonstrated through many events throughout the year. Some highlights for Chamber Choir include the Cathedral Concert in Brisbane’s St Stephen’s Cathedral – a great acoustic setting for this ensemble.

Other Small Ensembles

The College also offers a wide variety of other small and chamber ensembles that rehearse each week, including string quartets, liturgy ensemble, percussion ensembles, vocal groups and contemporary ensembles. There are many unique performance opportunities for these groups throughout the year.

Marist College Ashgrove invites all new members of the College Community to participate in Co-Curricular Music, which aims to involve students in our vast musical culture and develop skills that are transferable to all aspects of college life.

Every student has the opportunity to learn an instrument, with tuition by a number of full-time instrumental staff, as well as seventeen specialist tutors. Whilst being able to cater to advanced musicians, the College also provides the opportunity for students to commence tuition at any time, even with no prior musical instruction.

Students will further develop their musical skills through the opportunity to play in one or more of the College’s twenty ensembles. Our vibrant, practical approach is key to the success of the Music Program here at Marist, which leaves a lasting impression with those involved and some who have progressed to professional careers in music.

Strings

The College’s Strings department includes both Orchestral Strings and Guitar/Bass Guitar. Offering students experience in a variety of genres, through both private and group tuition, as well as ensembles. Our tutors include three high and lower strings specialists, including double bass and bass guitar. As well as two guitar tutors who cover jazz, classical and contemporary styles.

Woodwind

The College’s Woodwind Department offers Flute, Oboe, Bassoon, Clarinet, Bass Clarinet, Alto, Tenor and Baritone Saxophone lessons. Our woodwind tutors include both full-time staff and a number of specialist tutors with noted professional experience, including members of Queensland Symphony Orchestra. Contributing to a large portion of the College’s Wind Orchestras, Jazz Bands and Symphony Orchestra, there is no shortage of ensembles available to these students.

Brass

The Brass Department forms a large contribution to many of the Wind and Jazz Ensembles, as well as Symphony Orchestra. Brass tuition at Marist includes; Trumpet, French Horn, Trombone, Tuba & Euphonium/Baritone. Our brass tutors include both high and lower brass specialists, offering both small group and individual lessons. All with noted professional experience, including members of Queensland Symphony Orchestra.

Percussion

Marist College Ashgrove offers a diverse percussion program, which incorporates both Tuned and Un-tuned Percussion, as well as Drum-Kit. This combined method of tuition sets Marist students up with a range of skills, which can be applied to all areas of music. Including the numerous ensembles available to percussion students here at Marist. Our specialist tutors provide both group and individual lessons to students at all levels.

DJ/Electronic Music

DJ and Electronic Music lessons provide students with the opportunity to develop performance skills through music technology. Including traditional DJ’ing with industry standard equipment, as well as skills in Electronic Music Software. There are a number of performance opportunities throughout the year, including DJ sets in the yard, school dances and studio concerts. Students from Years 7 onwards are eligible to enroll in small group or individual DJ/Electronic Music Tuition with our specialist tutors.

Vocal

Voice lessons at Marist provide the opportunity for boys to develop their singing voices. Our specialist tutors cater for all voice ranges and offer professional experience, including Opera Queensland and other international productions. Small group and individual voice lessons are a great way to navigate through a changing voice, as well as develop musical and performance skills. Our core choral ensembles; Marist Voices and Performances Choir are open to all students.

Piano

Piano tuition is available to students at all levels, incorporating a range of genres and styles. Piano lessons are offered on an individual basis only. Marist has four specialist Piano tutors, who offer a range of expertise, as well as professional performing and accompanying experience. There are limited ensemble opportunities available to Piano students, including Symphony Orchestra and Jazz Ensembles. All students have the opportunity to perform at the Studio Concerts, held once per semester.

Theory and Other

Marist also offers group Theory lessons, these are a great addition to any instrumental tuition and also provide the opportunity for boys to sit AMEB theory exams. AMEB exams are also available to take on all instruments.

Marist also offers Pipe Organ and Harp lessons by enquiry, which have seen use of the Chapel’s Pipe Organ and our very own Concert Harp, which often makes an appearance at the biennial Blue and Gold Concert. This major event involves the wider Ashgrove Community, including guest ensemble members from Queensland Symphony Orchestra, many old-boys and families of the College.

In Year Five, students participate in a special instrumental program, which aims to involve students in the vast music culture of the College from the very beginning of their school life at Marist. Every student will be assigned a band or string instrument and participate in small group lessons with specialist teachers. Students with prior tuition can continue to learn their instrument (with individual lessons being available at an additional cost). 

Tuition is available on the following instruments in Year 5:

  • Orchestral Strings: violin, viola, cello, double bass.
  • Woodwind: flute, oboe, bassoon, clarinet, bass clarinet, saxophone.
  • Brass: trumpet, French horn, trombone, euphonium/baritone, tuba.
  • Percussion: students learn both tuned and un-tuned percussion concurrently.
  • Voice: Primary Group Voice Lessons and Individual Tuition.
  • Other*: piano, guitar, bass guitar, pipe organ, harp & music theory.

*Year 5 Enrolments will only be accepted for students who have had prior tuition in these instruments. Beginner tuition is offered from Year 6 onwards.

Music Concerts

Concerts are held both at the College and also at various venues in the Brisbane area. On occasion, these concerts are combined with other musical institutions. Sometimes featuring ensembles from other schools or groups such as, Queensland Conservatorium of Music and the Queensland Youth Orchestra. Throughout the year, each College ensemble performs at least once per term. Each year the major concerts are published in the College Calendar, Student Diaries and College Website. In addition to this, all concerts are outlined in the music concert calendar, published by the department each semester. This is available online, from the Music Department Reception, on the College Website and College Reception.

To view the latest Concert calendar click here

TOURS/CAMPS 

The College’s ‘first ensembles’ begin each year with the department’s annual Music Camp. This opportunity not only provides these ensembles with an intensive weekend of musical development for the year ahead, but also an opportunity for students to enjoy some non-musical activities together and connect in their newly allocated ensembles.

These ensembles also aim to tour every two years. Over the last decade, the College has toured to Far North Queensland, China, Sydney (performing in the Concert Hall of the Sydney Opera House), Melbourne, New Zealand, Western Queensland and Fiji.

The Music Program at Marist College Ashgrove has a strong influence and presence within the College. All students from Years 5 to 12 are encouraged to be involved in a variety of musical activities encompassing many standards, musical styles and genres. Over the last thirty years, Marist Ashgrove has been at the forefront of Music Education in Queensland, with students successfully participating in numerous performances, national and international tours, camps and competitions, as well as playing a vital role in the cultural and liturgical life of the College. The curricular music program offers state of the art facilities in recording, technology and performance. The cohort is one of the largest in the state, with up to six classes of Senior Music including Music Extension each year.

The co-curricular program runs in conjunction with an extensive and nationally recognised curricular music program, also involving many students from Years 5 to 12. Old Boys of the College have gone on to perform, record and compose professionally, both nationally and internationally in a variety of genres and ensembles. Some of these include the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra, The Paris Opera Orchestra, Nigel Kennedy, The Sydney Symphony Orchestra, The Queensland Symphony Orchestra, The Ten Tenors, James Morrison and rock group Ball Park Music. There have also been multiple Queensland Music Award and Aria Award nominees and winners. 

Marist College Ashgrove’s Music Co-Curricular Music Program involves more than 600 boys from Years 5 to 12 in and comprises of two distinct areas; Ensembles and Instrumental Tuition.

To view, the latest Concert calendar click here

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