Firbank Grammar Bel Canto - Australia
Firbank Grammar School was founded in 1909 and is located in the bayside suburb of Brighton, Melbourne, Australia. Firbank's vision is based on creating a school where all students find their place, now and for the future. The school's values are compassion, courage, curiosity, integrity and respect. Firbank has a long tradition of excellence in music and provides a dynamic and varied music program which includes regular church and concert performances. An appreciation of music in all its forms is encouraged at all levels of the school.
Bel Canto is the senior auditioned choir within the school. Over the past few years the choir has performed in concert at the Melbourne Recital Centre, featured in the Anglican Schools' Conference Service. In 2014 Bel Canto competed at the Summa Cum Laude International Youth Music Festival at the Musikverein, where they won first place, with 'outstanding success.' They then performed in Vienna's coveted Konzerthalle as part of the winners gala concert. In 2015 they were selected to perform at the Australian National Choral Association's ChoralFest as one of only two high school choirs.
This is the second international tour for the group in its current formation under the direction of Philippa Jones.
The choir is accompanied by Jerome Walles.
Conductor Philippa Jones
Philippa Jones is from New Zealand, and has Bachelor of Arts from Otago University, with a Music Major. Her passion for Music has been apparent since she was young, and throughout her schooling participated in a huge range of musical experiences.
Philippa's teaching career began in 2006 at Whangaparaoa College, north of Auckland, New Zealand. She progressed to be Head of Music, and established the classroom and choral programs at the school. In 2009 the senior auditioned choir, Bellissimo, made the final the The Big Sing, a national choral competition for high schools. In 2011 Bellissimo achieved a Silver Award, and were also awarded the Youth Ambassadors Award for the choir that embodied the spirit of The Big Sing.
In 2012 Philippa moved to Melbourne, Australia, to become Co-Director of Music (Curriculum and Choral) at Firbank Grammar School, where she oversees the choral program and the school's music curriculum. A highlight of the Music Calendar is the annual Choral Concert which has over 350 students, from years 3 - 12, participating. Over the past few years her choirs have performed in concert at the Melbourne Recital Centre, as guest choirs at the Kodaly National Conference, as well as other performances in and around Melbourne. The senior auditioned choir Bel Canto has a very full performance schedule, and performs regularly at school services, as well as community events. Their participation at Summa Cum Laude has been a highlight of her time at Firbank. Philippa is currently singing with Concordis Chamber Choir, Melbourne.