The North Sydney Girls High School Co-Curricular Music Program began in 1989 and since that time has grown and developed, and currently comprises of over 240 girls from Years 7-12 making up nine ensembles – 4 concert bands (Junior Band, Concert Band, Symphonic Winds and Wind Orchestra), 2 string ensembles (Junior Strings and Camerata), 2 orchestras (Chamber Orchestra and Symphony Orchestra) and Big Band. All ensembles rehearse either before or after school for approximately 70 minutes each week.
The aims of the NSGHS Music Program are multi-fold. Music is one of the most intellectually stimulating activities a child can partake in and such we help to: promote superior working memory, cultivate better thinking skills and broaden our students’ communication palate. Our expert staff achieve this by developing the musical skills of the girls, by giving them the chance to experience the thrill of performing and rehearsing in an ensemble, by helping to foster friendships across school year groups and by providing learning opportunities for all students at varying ability levels. The tremendous public success and acclaim enjoyed by our ensembles in recent years is a testimony to the enthusiasm and dedication of the girls.
Throughout the year, all the ensembles participate in a number of performances, both in school as well as out in the wider community. Competitions are an important part of the year, with most groups participating annually in the Sydney Eisteddfod and the NSW School Band Festival. This gives the girls a wonderful opportunity to hear orchestras and bands made up of their peers from other schools and other music networks. In addition, the ensembles regularly take part in combined workshops and concerts with other schools, attend performances of visiting and guest musicians, participate in master classes and perform at school events such as Orientation Day, Presentation Day, Music Assemblies and our two annual showcase events (Gala Concert and Year 12 Farewell Concert).
Touring locally, nationally and internationally is another major part of our calendar. Most ensembles take part in annual tours through the greater Sydney region and throughout regional NSW. Touring provides wonderful opportunities for our students to experience music making in a broad range of contexts allowing our girls to forge new networks with schools, communities, and fellow music students. Many regional tours have helped to inspire the next generation of music students and have helped members of the community connect with music and with each other. A touching example of this is when two of our ensembles performed at Newcastle Middle School, whose students (having moderate to severe levels of disability) made for a very appreciative audience.
In March 2005 sixty-nine girls from the Symphony Orchestra and Wind Orchestra travelled to China, after receiving an invitation to take part in the Beijing International Orchestral / Symphonic Bands Festival for Secondary High Schools. After the weeklong festival, the two ensembles toured to Xi’an, Hangzhou and Shanghai. As well as visiting and performing concerts with a number of schools and conservatoria, the girls also had the wonderful opportunity to observe, understand, appreciate and respect the differences that exist between individuals, communities, cultures and customs. In 2009 the Symphony Orchestra undertook its second tour to Europe, once again performing in The Czech Republic, Hungary, Austria and Germany.