Held in the iconic Civic Theatre in Newcastle, over 400 students from 11 schools presented an amazing array of music and dance numbers to the theme of Music through the Decades.
I have attended all but the first concert, which was held at lunchtime in St Francis Xavier’s College Hall, and can testify that the standard of the various items has just continued to improve each year.
The 2016 concert was, in my mind, the best ever and that is certainly saying something as each concert has had its memorable performances.
On Thursday night, the standard of instrumental music, the solo and ensemble singing, and the precision of the dance routines were of a very high level.
The array of musical items included such all-time favourites as Ain’t She Sweet, Somewhere, Over the Rainbow, Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy, Sounds of Silence, Xanadu and Material Girl, along with a host of modern day favourites.
To witness such a high standard of performance only reinforced for me the quality of performing arts talent we have in our schools both in our students and in the dedicated staff who encourage, teach and support these amazing young people.
This year’s DioSounds also featured the largest audiences we have attracted to date, with 900 students and adults attending the matinee performance and similar numbers for the evening performance. They were certainly well entertained.
A real highlight of the concert was the contribution of the four Masters of Ceremonies who, whilst introducing each of the acts, kept the audience entertained with their wit and repartee. It was also interesting to hear each one speak of their involvement in DioSounds over the years, highlighting the various roles that they have filled and what they have gained through their participation in the program.
Another particularly significant aspect of the concert was the number and quality of male vocalists. I have certainly witnessed in my many years in education a reluctance of many young talented males to express their gifts in a public forum whether it be at school or in a concert such as this. To see the performances from so many of them on Thursday night spoke volumes for how the teachers and principals of our schools have encouraged them to utilise their many gifts and talents.
To all involved, I extend my deep appreciation for all the very hard work that is involved in developing a quality program like this year’s DioSounds. In particular, I thank Mrs Michelle Burgess, Ms Geraldine Hook, Mrs Carmel Tapley and Mrs Louiza Mavros who were instrumental in ensuring that such a high quality production was delivered to an appreciative fully engaged audience. I also express my congratulations to the Creative and Performing Arts Coordinators and teachers in our schools for all they do to foster such creativity and passion for music, singing and dance.
The Catholic system of schools in the Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle can be very proud of the quality of performing arts being undertaken in every school.