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Catholic Schools Music Festival Catholic Schools Music Festival

About us

The Catholic Schools Music Festival is the premier Arts Event for Catholic Education in South Australia. It is a not-for-profit event which relies on the generous support of school communities and volunteers to make it a great success. The first performance was held in St Peter’s College Memorial Hall on August 16 1989. On that occasion, 16 schools participated in the festival choir and five support acts performed. The following year it moved venue to the Adelaide Festival Theatre and in 1991 was performed across two nights. In 1998 this was extended to three nights, then in 2001 it grew to four nights where it has remained to date. 2021 marks the 33rd annual music festival with around 80 of the 101 Catholic schools now participating. The CSMF is a showcase of talent from students within upper primary and secondary Catholic schools involving approximately 2000 students who spend 7 months preparing for their moment on stage. Performances are held each September, with each evening featuring a massed choir, instrumental ensembles, vocal groups and solo artists. The musical program consists of a 374-voice Combined Schools Upper Primary Choir formed by different schools each evening. All 65 schools involved in the massed choir rehearse weekly with their Choir Trainer, and then come together for their combined rehearsal one month prior to the event. The Choir Trainers attend 3 teacher-training sessions during the first half of the year to learn choral techniques and to help students develop the skills required to memorise the repertoire and choreography. In addition, the Music Director visits each school 3 times throughout terms 1 & 2 to provide support. The choral program is supported by many other performers. The music team write arrangements of the choral songs to involve both primary and secondary school soloists chosen by audition. The massed choir is complemented by a Secondary Girls Choir and a Secondary Boys Vocal Ensemble. The whole sound is accompanied by selected secondary students who form a string ensemble, and a 4-piece rhythm section which includes the Festival Accompanists who work with the choirs year-round. The Festival is more than just a week of performances. It is a year of education. Students from differing backgrounds come together and share social and emotional interaction in a positive learning environment. To be able to experience the journey involving a large-scale professional style performance in one of Adelaide’s most prestigious venues is very significant and beneficial to our young people on so many levels. The CSMF sits in the Catholic Identity section of Catholic Education SA, under the SA Commission for Catholic Schools. Key personnel comprise a Production Coordinator and an Artistic Director, and a volunteer committee of 10 members who meet 6 times a year consisting of teachers, music coordinators and leadership within our schools.

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