The music ensembles are designed for students demonstrating enthusiasm and experience in music. All students are encouraged to participate in the various ensembles offered, these aim to nurture and develop the talent of students who pursue music in stage 5 and stage 6.
Students are provided opportunities throughout the year to perform at the school and in the wider school community, including the Menai showcase and the common room concert.
Menai High has five extra-curricular music ensembles and rehearsals occur before school and during sport:
The Menai Singers are a choral ensemble who perform a broad range of repertoire at school and community events across the city. Members of the ensemble are invited to participate in events run by the Arts Unit including InConcert and Schools Spectacular and these excursions and events incur an additional fee. The group rehearses on Friday at lunchtime.
The school String Ensemble provides opportunities for students to perform string quartet and string orchestra repertoire across a broad range of styles and genres. Students enjoy exploring repertoire including tangos, jigs, film music, and significant pieces from the classical canon. The ensemble rehearses on Tuesdays mornings from 8am and is open to any student from Years 7-12 who plays an orchestral string instrument (violin, viola, violincello, double bass and harp).
The Menai High School Concert Band rehearses at school on Friday mornings from 8 - 9am, and currently has 38 members from Year 7 to Year 12.
The band program aims to:
- provide students with an opportunity to learn a musical instrument and experience playing in a musical ensemble.
- provide the school with an ensemble which can perform at functions representing the school.
- teach students social skills such as teamwork, organisation, leadership, self discipline, personal development and self confidence.
- provide a continuation of band from the well established local primary school band programs, through high school and into community bands.
- raise the profile of the school and encourage enrolment.
The cost per student is $100 per Term. This pays for the conductor, new music, and repair and purchase of instruments/equipment and all costs associated with the program.
The band endeavours to cover the widest range of repertoire possible in order to give the students experience in as many styles as possible. These include film scores, popular songs, big band/jazz, orchestral transcriptions, ballads, marches, waltzes, music from different cultures, as well as works written specifically for concert band.
Each year, students from Stage Four have the opportunity to apply for the school's band scholarship. The two students each year who are chosen as recipients of this scholarship are awarded $250 each, which is to be used to assist their musical development.
There are many regular performance opportunities offered to the band which include playing for the school's ANZAC and Remembrance Day Services, school Formal Assemblies, the Year 7 Orientation Dinner, the school's Open Night, CAPA Showcase Nights, a Common Room concert and for the Presentation Night Award Ceremony. The band has also participated in the Engadine Music BandFest, held an overnight band camp at school, toured the Dubbo district and played at the local Sir Thomas Mitchell Nursing Home.
Menai High School provides to rock ensembles for enthusiastic and talented musicians, these include the junior rock ensemble and the senior rock ensemble. These ensembles perform a range of popular rock songs from the 1960s to the 1990s.
The Stage Band performs a diverse repertoire of swing, jazz and blues music. Band director Mr Alan Bradney leads students in a variety of performance opportunities including the year 7 dinner and formal assemblies.
* Students in the Concert Band can join the Stage Band and/or the Rock Ensembles at no further cost.