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Worshipping Holistic Development

Billy Joel was quoted as saying “I think music in itself is healing. It’s an explosive expression of humanity. It’s something we are all touched by. No matter what culture we’re from, everyone loves music.” As obvious as this may seem, music and boys, don’t always go hand in hand in our Australian culture – which is a pity.

Here at ATC I think we are very fortunate to have a culture where boys can embrace music and they can proudly develop and showcase their music talents. I am always proud of a culture that breaks down the typical Australian male stereotype of a single mindedness around sport and the outdoors. Don’t get me wrong, anyone who knows me knows that I am not anti-sport, I’m just against any focus that precludes other activities from the worship of the sporting ‘God’. It is great that our boys love their sport but they also love other things like music and both can go hand in hand and contribute to the holistic development of our students.

As mentioned last week, the 26th Queensland Catholic Music Festival was held last weekend at Villanova College. This year’s Festival was the biggest yet, and it attracted over 110 Catholic schools from throughout Queensland and across the eastern States. In total these schools provided opportunities for over 14,300 student performances across the three and a half days of the Festival. This year we entered 19 bands, ensembles and choirs, catering for over 280 students to perform. For many of our students starting their musical journey this was their first public performance. The QCMF is a celebration of all things musical and students perform in a non-competitive structure. The emphasis on the Festival is on having fun, participating and improving your performance. All groups performing are adjudicated against a set criteria for their performance level and are awarded either a gold, silver or bronze level of achievement. The feedback that the adjudicators give is invaluable for the group’s development and improvement.

As has been my experience at the fourteen festivals I have attended to-date, I walked away enormously proud of not only how our students performed but how they conducted themselves throughout the Festival. I received numerous compliments from people outside our school on how impressed they were with our students. The people I spoke to mentioned how impressed they were in how the boys presented themselves, their manners and their levels of performance. But perhaps the most satisfying were the reports on how they felt our boys just seemed to love their music and loved performing. I couldn’t agree more with this assessment. Many of our boys just seemed to come alight on stage and certainly never gave the impression that they were up on stage under sufferance. The fact that our boys love their music comes from the passion of their teachers. The fact that our boys perform at such a high standard is due to the fact that we have teachers who can not only teach at a high standard but also inspire their students to put in the practice necessary to develop these skills. Over the weekend our various groups were awarded 10 gold, 6 silver and 3 bronze level awards.

I would like to congratulate all our musical staff on the great work they are doing to develop the boys to such a high standard and develop such a passion around music at the College. In many all boys schools, music can often take a distant back seat to sport; I am proud to be able to say that this is certainly not the case at ATC. Getting 19 groups and ensembles and over 280 boys ready for numerous performances is not an easy task and I would like to thank Nat Scalia, Jonathon Bolt, Cath Esbensen, Jason Goopy, Kate Thompson, Barb McGeever, Brijette Tubb, Darren Skaar, Michael Bannon, Nick Laganin, Andrea Vocaturo, Mark Jozinovich, Billy Richardson, Mary McGuiness, Joel Aspinall, Liam Bond and all our staff for the organisation that goes into such a big logistical event. I would like to also acknowledge the remarkable job that the Villanova College community continues to do to facilitate such a great event for our students; the commitment from their community is extraordinary and a key to the success of QCMF. Well done it was a great weekend for ATC and in particular the ATC music program.

It was great to hear the news of the birth of Alice May Marsh on August 4, a younger sister for Ethan Marsh (5 Lynch) and Will Bosci (7 Treacy). Both Ethan and Will are very proud big brothers and Alice came to her first ATC rugby game last weekend. Both Alice and mum Dimity are going well and we look forward to seeing Alice at more ATC community events.

I would ask the community to please keep Adrian Cullen (one of our year 7 homeroom teachers) and his family in your thoughts and prayers following the recent passing of his maternal grandfather. We hope that the passage of time will help ease the pain of his sudden passing and that they are able to celebrate the gift of life that he has brought to them all. Eternal rest grant unto him O Lord and may perpetual light shine upon him. May he rest in peace. Amen.

Upcoming Event
I wrote to our school community in July 2014 to inform of very serious allegations of misconduct against a staff member at Nudgee Junior College. I promised at the time to keep you updated on developments in this matter. The re-trial of this former staff member will begin on August 22 in the Brisbane District Court. We expect that the trial will last for up to four days. At this stage, we expect some former members of our school community to be called to provide evidence in court. This will not be an easy week for them. During these times, I ask for your prayers and support for those involved with this trial. They remain at the forefront of our thoughts. If you or your sons wish to seek support at any time, please contact the school office on (07) 3878 0500 and we can arrange for one of our school counsellors or a staff member to make contact.

As indicated last week I will be on leave from the College from Friday for the next seven weeks. I am looking forward to taking this break from the busyness of school life for a while and recharging my batteries. I look forward to reconnecting with the community in the second week of term 4.

With best wishes
Michael Senior