Senior School Wednesday, 31 May 2023

2023 Photography Competition

This year's photography competition had a focus on nature and wildlife. In conjunction with the Arts & Culture Council and the Sustainability Council Captains, the theme was aimed to encourage students to engage and explore their surrounding wildlife. With a huge number of amazing entries from Year 7 to Year 12, the guest judges, Mr Paul West and Mr Cyril Hitie, had the tough task of choosing the winners for 2023.

Staff and students were able to vote for their favourites in the People’s Choice Award. The Captains of the Arts & Culture Council and the Sustainability Council gave out a special award this year as well.

The winners were:
1st Place: Tobias Melang Year 12 "New Holand Honey Eater"
2nd Place: Noah Myers Year 8 "Lets Hop to the Beach"
3rd Place: Kha Pham Year 8 "Natures Symmetry"
Highly Commended: Isaac Valente Year 9 "Through the Rock"
Peoples Choice Award: Charles Maverick Year 11 “Reverse Ducked Air Con”
Arts & Culture and Sustainability Council Captains Award: Hanvin Ryu Year 7 “Flower”

Congratulations to all the winners, and a huge thank you to all of the students who entered this year! All awards will be officially handed out at the end of year presentation evening.

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Arts Monday, 29 May 2023

Aquinas College Schola Cantorum with WASO

On Friday April 28th and Saturday April 29th, the Schola Cantorum had the honour of performing with the West Australian Symphony Orchestra at the Perth Concert Hall. Whilst the Schola had done this twice last year, this 2023 performance was particularly special – the choir were involved in the world premiere of a piece of music called The Tides of Longing, written by Perth composer and rising star of the Classical Music world, Lachlan Skipworth.

The Tides of Longing tells the story of a refugee who travels to Australia by boat, and is performed by orchestra, adult chorus, boys chorus and a single actor. At about 35 minutes in length, the music takes the audience on both a physical and emotional journey, as the protagonist survives storms and relives the horrors that he has fled on his journey to Australia.

The Schola were featured prominently at four different sections of the piece – as well as beginning and ending the whole piece, they also sang two different solo sections. One of these, called Ayee Bird was so well received that it will now be recorded as a stand-alone piece to be heard on ABC Classic FM. The fact that these sections were composed specifically for the Schola makes them even more special.

These two performances, which were to a combined audience of about 3,000 people, prepared the boys in the Schola well for their upcoming tour to England and Ireland, where they will perform seven times inside two weeks.

Hugh Lydon
Director of College Schola Cantorum

Photo credit Linda Dunjey

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Junior School Monday, 29 May 2023

From the Page to the Stage

‘Seussical Jr’ Comes to Life at Aquinas College

“Imagine a sky, imagine bright blue. It’s the Jungle of Nool near the river Walloo. Now imagine an Elephant lumbering through. It’s Horton, yes Horton, and Horton hears a Who.” These were the words of the Cat in the Hat that brought audiences into the quirky and colourful world of Dr Seuss for the 2023 Junior School Production of ‘Seussical Jr’. Over four days in Term 2, over 50 boys from Year 3-6 acted, danced and sung their way through the bright and fun musical which combined many of the beloved stories and characters of Dr Seuss into a truly memorable musical experience.

The process of bringing ‘Seussical Jr’ to the stage began in the first weeks of Term 1. After the return of the Junior School Production in 2021 and the huge success of ‘The Lion King’ (2021) and Shrek (2022), a large number of boys enrolled to participate in the production this year. After auditions took place in Week 1, the process of blocking scenes, learning songs and mapping out choreography begun. The music itself was a great challenge for the boys with plenty of wordy lyrics, tricky rhythms and syncopation. However, the boys rose to the challenge and by mid-term, the characters and songs were starting to come to life.

The support of the Aquinas College staff and parent community was absolutely outstanding. Throughout Term 1, a small army of parent helpers gave up their evenings and weekends to paint, sew and glue, creating a dazzling array of Seussian style costumes and props for the show. Special thanks go to costume and prop coordinators Laura Alvin and Polly Chan who were instrumental in leading the parent team and creating some truly special aspects of the production.

The Aquinas Arts Staff team were truly a force to be reckoned as always. Musical Director Chris McMillan lead the way, dedicating an incredible amount of time to work with the boys on perfecting the songs as well as directing the talented band which included piano tutor Cate Carboon and percussion tutor Dan Harrison.

Assistant Director Emma Leopardi proved instrumental throughout the rehearsal and performance process with her artistic eye and rapport with the boys shining through.

Choreographers Chanel Turner, Travis Leggett and Hannah Sibbald brought the moves, working in Dance Club and Production rehearsals to teach the boys about safe dance practice and bringing the show to life with some highly creative movement.

Mark McAndrew worked tirelessly to ensure this ‘sung through’ show sounded impeccable, working with Year 9 student Harrison Agnihotri to balance not only the band but multiple headset microphones and teaching the boys about microphone technique.

Lachlan Bowyer, with the assistance of Year 12 student Dillon Thiel ensured the show looked incredible with a dazzling Seussian set design, with the talents and support of Lucy Hughes, Bina Butcher and John Van Dyk, as well as a vibrant lighting design.

The promotion of the show was integral to the full houses. Thanks to Sheree Kendall for her creative photography and design work, as well as Year 12 Media Captain David Scott for his behind the scenes photography.

Finally, the show could not have happened without the support and efforts of Isa Main in ticketing, programs and administration, and Rebecca Watson, working tirelessly on Front of House for each show.

Just as important as the action onstage was the amazing efforts backstage. Led by Nicole Monzu and Arts and Culture Captain Rory Watson, an incredible team of Middle and Senior Students and Staff were a well-oiled machine, keeping things running smoothly behind the scenes.

Production week was an absolute treat, with a buzz in the air, Seussical posters lining the balconies and a sold out season ahead. The boys were well rehearsed and excited to bring the words of Seuss from the page to the stage. From Whos to Jungle Citizens, Fish to Circus Animals, all these zany characters were on display to delight audiences. The story followed Horton the Elephant, who, after discovering the tiny world of Whoville inside a speck of dust, is ridiculed by the inhabitants of the Jungle and put on trial for insanity. The moral of the story was beautiful, with always standing up for your beliefs the key message and Horton’ mantra “a person’s a person, no matter how small” proving inspirational.

This year, with Aquinas College joining the Independent Theatre Association, we had the opportunity to have the show adjudicated. The production was described as “a welcome oasis from the stresses of the world”, “a feast for the eyes” and a “memorable experience” by adjudicators.

A big congratulations and thank you to all the students, staff, parents and community members that made ‘Seussical Jr’ possible. We can’t wait to see what 2024 brings for the Junior School Production.

Until then, just remember to cherish “the thinks you can think when you think about Seuss!”

Chris McRae
Production Director and Junior School Music Coordinator

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Senior School Thursday, 11 May 2023

Year 11/12 ATAR Art Excursion

At the beginning of the week 3, we were lucky enough to visit the Art Gallery of WA to visit the PULSE perspectives exhibition, which features a selection of the top Year 12 Art students from around WA. This was a great experience for the students to view other artworks created by their peers.

They also participated in a workshop called “Exquisite Bodies”, curated by WA artist Bruno Booth. The students had to work collaboratively to create quick 3D sculptures exploring the form of the body.

Overall this was a great day out, which sparked several insightful discussions around the artworks they viewed and how they may have inspired them in their own artistic practices.

Bina Butcher
Art Technician

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Senior School Monday, 13 Feb 2023

Curtin Fine Arts Conference

The Year 11 & 12 art students had the opportunity to visit Curtin University for a Fine Art Conference on campus last week. They first had a lecture from Dr Keiran Broadhurst on analysing artworks and some tips for art exam prep. They then had a life drawing workshop with Di Cubbit, and still life painting workshop with Tori Benz in the University studios. It was a great opportunity for the boys to learn some new skills and experience University life.

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Junior School Wednesday, 30 Nov 2022

Shrek Jr The Musical

We enjoyed some ogre-sized fun in the JS last week with the production of Shrek the Musical. What an amazing show it was! While some of the actors were a bit green (😜) the Junior School cast shone in the McAppion Theatre to a full house across three nights. Well done to all the staff and students involved in what was a spectacular show.

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Senior School Wednesday, 23 Nov 2022

Art Exhibition 2022

Aquinas Art, Media, Design & Technology Exhibition 2022

Thank you to everyone who participated in and visited this year's exhibition. We saw a wide range of work from Year 7 - 12 students in Visual arts, Media, Design, Woodwork and Metalwork. The graduating Year 12 students were able to see their work exhibited alongside their peers. Congratulations to all the students who won awards and to all the students who put in the time and effort to create some amazing and engaging work. We have some truly talented students!

The winner of the people choice award this year goes to Ben King in Year 11.5 for his Semester One work. Congratulations Ben!

A huge thank you to all staff and students who helped make this year's exhibition possible. It is a huge undertaking and we appreciate all the support in making such a fun night possible.

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Senior School Wednesday, 23 Nov 2022

Artist workshop with Andy Quilty

At the end of Week 5 Term 4, the Visual Arts ATAR students had the opportunity to attend an artist workshop incursion with well known WA artist Andy Quilty. Andy has been highly engaged and active in the art community in WA for a number of years now and is a regular lecturer at the University of Western Australia, where he teaches several units in the Fine Arts Major.

The Year 11 and 12 Art students participated in a three hour workshop where they built up their drawing and observation skills. They had to loosen up in order to discover new and creative ways of drawing and mark making. This was a great experience for the students leading into their projects for next year.

To check out Andy's current exhibitions take a look at his website for more info.

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Middle School Thursday, 04 Aug 2022

Year 8 Drama - Catholic Performing Arts Festival

Please take the time to read the article by Dashiell van Ingen about the Year 8 students who performed at the recent Catholic Performing Arts festival. To have a play written with great depth and a powerful message by one of our Year 8 students is outstanding. Well done to all the boys involved.

Michael Dempsey
Head of Middle School

Performing is not only a way to express yourself, but make known a message; something you are passionate about and wish to change; and this was a driving force for the creation of our short play, based on the song ‘Wayfaring stranger’, by Jos Slovick.

As part of year eight drama, we have been exploring the topic of World War One, and the atrocities that occurred, as well as the hardships people had to face. We were tasked to create a short play about the war, and as a small group, we wrote about a small family, with only their father with them. His two sons had to be sent to the war, and experience the hardships and trauma the war brought. After a year of fighting, only one of the sons returned.

As for the whole experience, it was truly a gift to be able to perform at the Catholic Performing Arts Festival, but what made it truly special was to be able to perform your own creation, as well as inform people of the injustices in the world and how we can make a change. It was an amazing journey to work with the teachers for the drama unit, Mr Mark McAndrew, Mrs Emma Leopardi, and especially Mrs Sonja Vaswani, who helped all the actors put together a play in the short amount of time we had. And it was amazing to share this experience with amazing actors also in year eight. Although this wasn’t our first time performing in front of an audience, it was as exhilarating as any other performance we’ve ever been in.

Overall, this was an amazing experience. To be able to choreograph and act in a play with such amazing actors truly was a gift, and an experience we’ll never forget.

Dashiell van Ingen and Thomas O’Neill

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