Review: Drumkit, String Stream & JMO perform

June 28, 2016

Saturday 25th & Sunday 26th June 2016

Saturday 25th & Sunday 26th June proved to be our busiest weekend yet in the end-of-term-2 schedule of concerts and performances.

JMO open doors to rehearsal

Lots of dancing, a movie and a touch of Beethoven – doesn’t sound like your average orchestral rehearsal? Well James McCusker Orchestra aren’t your average youth orchestra! They opened the doors of their Saturday 25th rehearsal, and performed with great enthusiasm under the baton of conductor Shilong Ye.

CEO & Artistic Director Kathleen Grant says: “I am impressed with the sense of ensemble and a lovely lyrical quality that has been developed in the orchestra in such a short time this year. I was particularly impressed with the expertly executed endings of both the Beethoven and the Brahms Hungarian Dance #5, the sense of lightness in the Tchaikovsky Swan Lake excerpts, and the lovely storytelling in the theme music to Forrest Gump. The ensemble had good command of tone to fit the space well and was clearly comfortable in sharing sweeping dynamics a clear hallmark of this concert!   The audience was impressed with the next installment of the Beethoven’s famous 5th Symphony (second movement) known to be quite deceptively difficult in its original state, and handled without fear by the orchestra.

Congratulations to the JMO players, and thank you Shilong and [volunteer manager] Dot!”

For more pictures of the James McCusker Orchestra’s open rehearsal, please see our photo album on Facebook.

Drumkit students in annual ‘Crash!’ presentation

Our creative drumkit tutor, Michelle Forman, initiated the concept of the annual ‘Crash!’ drumkit presentation, as drumkit and hand drumming students rarely get the chance to perform in front of an audience (apart from the few who go on to join bands or percussion groups). Motivated by MFC’s belief that public performance enhances the confidence and musical skills of all students, Michelle devised ‘Crash!’ as a way for our drumkit students to be able to play for an audience, and impress family & friends with what they’ve been working on throughout terms 1 & 2.

Staff member Kate Firkins, who assisted Michelle in putting on the event, said: “all of the students played really well. There was a LOT of enthusiasm and volume from the little djembe players! All of the drummers wrote their own pieces, without any drum-kit lines so that their live playing was the only drums the audience could hear. This is pretty cool technology and not something we’ve done before at MFC; they used Garage band to write their own tracks with guidance from Michelle. A great accomplishment they can all be proud of!”

For more pictures of the ‘Crash!’ drumkit performance, please see our photo album on Facebook.

String Stream students perform at Orana

Our CEO & Artistic Director Kathleen Grant writes:

“The thought crossed my mind on Sunday morning that if I took everything out of my fridge and hopped in, it just might be warmer in there than waiting for my home to heat up.  Well later in the day I was so glad to have got out to another outstanding MFC performance – the String Stream end of term 2 concert – and had nothing but amazing thanks and pride for the staff, students, parents and friends of our String Stream participants. With great sense of humour (and resilience in bitter cold due to an unfortunate heater malfunction), Camerata, Sinfonietta, String Ensemble and Peg Mantle Strings delighted our audience again with some happy and energetic performances.

In six months all ensembles have shown admirable improvement in watching their conductors, learning all their notes, following dynamics and working at communicating style. Camerata’s “Wednesday Workout” concluded their set with lovely dynamics and lots of energy that helped us feel warmer, beautifully followed by Sinfonietta’s amazing cello twirling performance of Jillaroo Jump. String Ensemble communicated beautiful tone and colour in their performance of Warlock’s “Basse Dance”, and Peg Mantle Strings concluded the concert with three favourites including the Radetzky March and Handel’s “Passacaile”.  A lovely warming performance! Thank you to our conductors, and of course to our fantastic volunteer managers.”

String Stream parents – Kathleen was only able to take some shots from the wings between sets, so if anyone got photographs from the front of the stage, please email them to so that we can create a photo album! Or you can post your own photos to our Facebook page.