St Joey’s sing in nationwide experience

The entire St Joseph’s Catholic Primary School got together to sing “Shine Together” for Music: Count Us In.

The students of St Joseph’s Catholic Primary School took part in a nation-wide musical experience last Thursday.

Music: Count Us In was created by Music Australia to involve students from all over the country.

Now in its tenth year, the students have spent weeks learning a song which was specially written for the event by other school students.

Led by local musician Lizzie Walsh, the students of St Joseph’s sang “Shine Together” at the same time as students in over 3400 different schools across Australia.

Ms Walsh said it was important that children had the chance to engage with music.

“It’s about 600,000 students that take part. There is a band in Melbourne, in Federation Square. They play the song and it is then streamed live all over Australia.”

The students were also filmed by their teachers as they sang along.

There were a few technical issues when the stream dropped out in the first verse, leaving the St Joseph’s students to bravely sing along by themselves, but the technology and the voices quickly recovered.

“Shine Together” was written in a single day by other students from all over Australia; Sadie Mustoe, from Victoria, Makayla Forbes, New South Wales, Elliena Escott, Marcus and Tiffany Yeo, all from Queensland. Musician Taylor Henderson and John Foreman OAM also helped the students to write and workshop the song.

At the moment in Australia, only 23 per cent of government schools are able to provide a comprehensive music education to their students. Music: Count Us In aims to bridge some of the gaps between students.

Music is one of the rare studies that boosts both sides of the brain, and increases students’ skills in both literacy and numeracy, making it a valuable tool to boost a child’s overall academic performance.

Currently St Joseph’s, alongside the Wagga Diocese, is making the effort to create more musical opportunities for their students. Alongside the chance to sing with Music: Count Us In, St Joseph’s students also went to a music festival held in Wagga for Catholic schools in the Wagga Diocese.

“It was a music festival organised around the Count Us In event,” Ms Walsh said.

“The Count Us In crew came and filmed the kids singing for the event later.”

Nearly 1200 children from 14 schools came from across the Wagga Diocese to participate in the music festival, which was an opportunity for children who are participating in the Diocese music program to get together and foster friendships.

“It was just a way for the band kids to collaborate. They do band camps, concerts between schools; there’s a lot of effort made to build friendships between schools,” Ms Walsh sad.

“The instrumental program is now across the whole Diocese. It’s free lessons for all the students through video conferencing, and then tutors come once or twice a term for face to face lessons with
the students.”

Currently, any student at a Catholic school across the Wagga Diocese has the chance to learn percussion, trumpet, saxophone, trombone, tuba, flute or clarinet. Students who don’t have their own
instruments can hire them for $100 a year, or less than $8.35 a month.

There is also a choir for students to join.

“Miranda Tate at the moment is conducting the band. She’s both in Leeton and here.

“It’s just a great opportunity for kids to have a go at music. Because if you’ve got that in your blood, and it never gets a chance to come out, it’s such a shame,” Ms Walsh said.

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