Geelong Seniors Festival Event – A Concert amid History

On Thursday 12th October was Diversitat Aged Support’s contribution to the Geelong Seniors Festival – which runs annually for the entire month of October.
As part of the festival, we co-hosted an event titled ‘A Concert amid History’ which was a special performance by music students of Geelong High School, from years 9 through to year 12. The concert featured a mixture of instrumental and vocal performances including solo acts, and the ‘big band’ as a whole.
When I arrived at the beautifully restored and converted red brick church, which is now The Shenton Performing Arts Centre, the students were busily setting up their equipment and sound checking their instruments. There was quite the excited buzz in the air, with students working together as a team to get everything in position and working. I got to work setting up the morning tea stations in the foyer, where guests could help themselves to a cuppa and a biscuit. As soon as I started to set up, two students introduced themselves and offered me a hand. It was so thoughtful and lovely. Guests started to arrive early, and were encouraged to take a seat in the foyer whilst the students finished up with their sound checks.
Everyone made their way through to the beautiful performance area, whilst students took to the stage and also lent a hand to assist seating their guests. The concert started off with a bang, and the momentum kept going throughout the one hour music extravaganza. Carmel Cranage, the students’ music teacher and conductor, did a fabulous job of introducing each song and solo performer; explaining what the song was about or why the student had chosen that particular song. Carmel communicated incredibly well with the audience, using wit and a touch of reflective questioning, to involve and encourage chatter and laughter between each song. The year 12 students performed their solo pieces, which will be performed as part of their VCE practical examinations. The younger students made up the big band, and also performed some solo pieces throughout the concert.
The talent was outstanding, and I was actually brought to tears by a couple of the purest voices I have heard. There was also a rock band that performed one of their favourite songs. When introducing the band, Carmel explained to the audience that the boys desperately wanted to perform for the crowd, and begged her to be able to. How could she deny them?! Before they started, Carmel and a few students handed out ear phones to audience members, joking and laughing: “it will be very loud, so you may need some headphones!” The front two rows put headphones on, laughing as they did. However it turns out, the headphones were not needed in the end, as the boys had turned their volumes down significantly – in respect of the older audience members.
Once the concert wrapped up, the performing students and audience members congregated in the foyer for morning tea. There was lots of congratulatory chatter; creating a warm, encouraging and inclusive atmosphere. A few of the students offered to make the older guest a cuppa, this was truly lovely to see.
Diversitat Aged Support would like to thank Carmel and her Geelong High School students, for coming together with us to create such a special event. It was very much enjoyed by all, and we look forward to having them out to perform at our new Healthy Living Centre soon.

Jasmin Findlay
Aged Support Project Worker