Well, if you ever wondered what teenagers can do in the performing arts, you need look no further than the Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority’s (VCAA) Top Acts concert at Melbourne’s Hamer Hall each year.
The 2010 Top Acts concert occurred last Friday May 28th and once again showcased inspiring and amazing talent in the performing arts. Quoting VCAA Chair, Adam Shoemaker, in his opening address, Top Acts truly represents the “very best of the best” in the previous year’s final examinations in Drama, Theatre Studies, Dance and Music solo and group performances.
Highlights in Friday’s program for me were:
- Rob Clifford (St Michael’s Grammar School) and his fabulous rendition of George Harrison’s ‘When My Guitar Gently Weeps’ on the ukulele
- Caitlyn Petrie (Avila College) and her highly sophisticated and focused drama solo performance of Grand Duchess Anastasia Romanov
- Che Steer (Blackburn High School) and his sumptuous music solo interpretation of Rogers and Hart’s ‘My Funny Valentine’
- Mark Yeates (Donvale Christian College) and his wickedly hilarious drama solo performance of ‘Dennis’ and his funeral home for pets
- James Dong (Camberwell Grammar School) and his disciplined and skilled violin sonata by Eugene Ysaye
- Bonnie Leigh-Dodds (St Michael’s Grammar School) and her beautifully timed drama performance of school girl Mary O’Donnell from the play ‘Bombshells’
- Josephine Grech, Georgia Wilkinson and Zoe Drummond (Victorian College of the Arts Secondary School) and their classical voice music group performance of Handel’s ‘Consolati i O Bella’
- James Hazelwood-Dale (Wesley College) and his electric bass arrangement of ‘Amazing Grace’
- Brodie King (Ballarat Grammar) and his Phythonesque rendition of Sergeant Major from the play ‘Oh What A Lovely War’
Not being any sort of dance expert, I don’t feel qualified to comment on the dance pieces in the Top Acts concert, so excuse me for omitting them from my highlights. Having said that, it feels mean to select any highlights at all, because the quality across the various disciplines and 28 performers at this year’s Top Acts was consistently strong and of a very high standard.
On a personal note, I was immensely proud to have one of my own students in the 2010 Top Acts concert. Caitlyn Petrie (Avila College), who performed the drama solo performance Anastasia, was the only female out of 1,500 students who undertook Year 12 Drama in 2009 invited to perform at Top Acts. She did a fantastic job and ‘nailed’ her solo on the big night!
Each year I attend the annual Top Acts concert with about 70 or 80 Drama and Music students from Years 10, 11 and 12 at my school, plus about a dozen staff, for a fabulous night of talent. Top Acts represents some of the best professional development a performing arts teacher can receive. Highly recommended.