Overseas Tours

Instrumental Tour to Hong Kong and China : April 2015

Firbank Grammar and Brighton Grammar Schools are combining to take an Instrumental Tour to Hong Kong and China in the 2015 Easter school holidays.

A group of fifty students will commence rehearsals in September to prepare for this tour.  The standard of students and the range of instruments participating is very exciting and will provide plenty of scope for the orchestra.

The tour will visit Hong Kong, Shanghai and Beijing with performances in all three cities, as well as time for sightseeing.

It is not too late to join this tour!  We encourage those still considering participating to become involved with what will be a very exciting and rewarding experience.  For further information please contact the Firbank Music Department on 9591 5151 or email ssaunders@firbank.vic.edu.au 

For those already on board, please remember the second instalment and paperwork is due to the Firbank Music Office by Friday 22 August.


Vocal Tour to Munich & Austria : 2014

A highly successful tour to Munich, Salzburg and Vienna was enjoyed by the twenty students in the Bel Canto Touring Choir in the June/July school holidays.  The trip included many highlights with rehearsals, performances and tourist sights.  A rehearsal in Munich at the Hunting and Fishing Museum was one such highlight.  A glorious old church in the centre of Munich had been converted into this museum, and the girls experienced for the first time the wonderful acoustics such a venue provides. The Sound of Music Tour in Salzburg was, of course, another highlight as was performing at Kajatanerchurch (the oldest church in Salzburg) and Wohnstift Mozart.  A day trip to Hungary (while staying in Vienna) to perform in Kapuvar was another warm and engaging experience for the girls. They were treated as celebrities with Hungarian television present to film the performance and interview Philippa Jones!

The main purpose of the tour was to attend the 2014 Summa Cum Laude International Youth Music Festival in Vienna.  The annual Festival, staged in Vienna's main classical concert venue, the Golden Hall of the Musikverein and the Vienna Konzerthaus, is Austria's premiere global youth musical festival for choirs, bands and orchestras.  There were thirty-two ensembles participating from 16 countries including Canada, Israel, South Africa, Spain and, of course, Australia.

Bel Canto, directed by Philippa Jones, and accompanied by Jerome Walles, achieved 1st Place with Oustanding Success in the Category Treble Choir.

The standard of music performed at this Festival is world class, and Firbank was thrilled with the result after a lot of hard work in preparation for the Festival.  As part of their competition repertoire, the Choir was required to sing a piece of music representing the country that they are from.  For this, Bel Canto commissioned a work from Australian composer, Todd McNeal.  The poem, 'Gifts', selected for the piece is written by Oodgeroo of the Tribe Noonuccal.  It is an absolutely fantastic poem which really tells a story through its extraordinarily vivid descriptions.  The composition enthralled the Competition Jury and the girls received a standing ovation from one member after their competition performance. This win meant that the Choir was invited to perform at the Gala Winners Concert on the final night of the Festival at the Wiener Konzerthaus.  Bel Canto was the smallest group at the Gala Concert but commanded absolute stillness through the Konzerthaus as they performed 'Gifts'.  An incredible experience for those twenty girls!

This Vocal Tour has been one that will be laid down in the history of Firbank.

Hong Kong and Shanghai Music Tour April 2012

52 students and 6 staff enjoyed a wonderful and amazing two weeks in Hong Kong and Shanghai as part of a combined Firbank Grammar and Brighton Grammar Orchestra.

The tour gave all involved an opportunity to learn more about the two cities visited as well as undertake 7 performances in 11 days. Musically, this was a challenge that the performers overcame with skill and good humour and the students represented themselves and their schools with pride.

The opportunity to visit significant buildings and areas of Hong Kong and Shanghai provided a glimpse of the history and life in these two dynamic cities. 

With the school visits came a chance to meet new people and find new friends. Many participants returned with contact details and promises to email and facebook.