July 31, 2020

The online Loreto Kirribilli Music Festival livestreamed to students and families with solo performers, House Choirs, Music Captains, the Year 12 Choir and many more amazing performances enthralling the Loreto community.

School Captain Charlotte Ross introduced the event, here is what she said.

Good evening and welcome to the 2020 Loreto Kirribilli Music Festival. 

When I was elected as School Captain nearly a year ago, one of the first things I thought about was delivering this speech, my love letter to this Music Festival, on the Town Hall stage. For year 7s, or parents and relatives who have not had the joy of attending the Music Festival in past years, the festival is the ultimate show of spirit at Loreto Kirribilli. 

Preparations for the festival officially start in Term 1, with bands and ensembles rehearsing for six months in anticipation of the concert. Under the leadership of Music and Dance Captains, who dedicate all of their free time to planning the festival for two terms, hundreds of girls from every House learn a dance or a song and a prayer, whether they can sing or dance or have never tried either before. And for soloists and small group performances, the Music Festival is the culmination of years of practise. You know it is Music Festival season when the House Choir songs are echoing through the hallways between classes, or the Finale is being sung on the flat roof.

But if you ask me, the most special Music Festival moments are the ones that were not meticulously planned or practised. 

About two years ago now, I was standing backstage with one of my best friends, who I coincidentally met because for a long time we were the only two trumpet players in the school. That Music Festival, after walking on to stage to find that we were going to have to share an already tiny chair, playing an entire ensemble piece without the solo guitarists amp switched on, compounded by me singing the entirely wrong section in the Senior Choir within the opening 20 minutes of the show, we were both wishing we could start the night again. But with both of us flustered to say the least, and having a solo each remaining in the night, we were stopped by a Music teacher, who pulled us aside and said ‘I would have been so lucky to find a friend like you two have found in each other when I was at high school.’ 

Whilst, in hindsight, the minor inconveniences that we experienced on that night do not compare to the challenges we have faced in the production of this year’s Music Festival, the message has stuck with me. We as Loreto girls are so lucky to have found such incredible young women as our friends so early in life. Friends who, like my Vice-Captain last year, are willing to squat on the Music Festival stage in front of the entire Town Hall audience to pin my sash back onto me, and friends who lose their voice cheering for a soloist who is finally recognised after years of practise. 

The Loreto value of this year is verity, which essentially means truth, and the truth is that sometimes life isn’t fair and things don’t go to plan. What matters most is what you make of it when things fall through, and what you are watching tonight is an exceptional show of resilience, friendship, community and most importantly spirit. 

If you ask me, the 2020 Music Festival is a greater show of the friendship, sense of community, and spirit that exists at Loreto than any music festival that has come before. It is easy to come along to House Choir rehearsal, and stand in a crowd of 100 of your friends and sing. What is not easy, is sitting in front of a camera in complete silence, whether you are a confident singer or not, singing into your headphones and having the courage to submit that video for someone else to watch. What is not easy, is performing a solo without accompaniment or an audience, or conducting a choir over video call. But as you will soon see tonight, the girls of Loreto Kirribilli have done just that, in support of each other. 

A special thanks is also due to the Performing Arts Staff. As a Music Captain last year, I am very aware that in a normal year, the Music Festival is a tremendous amount of work, but I cannot begin to explain the amount of effort and work that has been put into the production of the Music Festival this year. We could have so easily let the Music Festival pass by this year due to the circumstances, but the music staff have worked tirelessly to put hundreds of individual singing videos together into a choir, collate solo adjudications and put the entire show together, so on behalf of all the students, we thank you.

Although for many weeks we were at home and apart, in the famous words of showbiz, the show must go on, and the Loreto community is stronger than ever. Of course, I wish that we could all be together tonight, as the Music Festival is undoubtedly my favourite night of the year, but I am so proud to be a part of this school, who didn’t let even a pandemic stop us from celebrating our school spirit. 

It is incredibly difficult for me to put into words what the Music Festival means to me, as for my past six years at this school, the many hours I have spent practising the trumpet with friends, planning House Choir, watching friends practise and perform and of course performing myself have been some of my greatest memories of this school. Ultimately, the Music Festival is a show of friendship and felicity, more so than ever this year. In 2020, as a school we have proven that even singing alone on camera is not too much to ask of a Loreto girl to do for her school community and in the words of the Beatles, which I have fond memories of performing with my Music class a few years back, “… we get by with a little help from our friends …”.

Charlotte Ross
School Captain