When I started at St Peter’s in Year 9 I told myself that I would take every opportunity that came my way. Now I’m in Year 13 and I’ve been heavily involved in the music side of performing arts every year. I have been in our school choir, Petra Voce, since Year 9 and our ukelele ensemble, Petra Uke, for the last three years. I was in a male choir in Year 9 and Rock Band tuition in Year 12. This year I’ve joined Impact, a percussion group.
I’ve also been taking individual singing, guitar and songwriting lessons. The itinerant music programme at St Peter’s has worked well for me as a day student. I’ve been able to develop these areas of learning while making the most of a full day at St Peter’s. This year in the lead up to our production Into the Woods I was able to board for three weeks. This made focusing on the production much easier. It gave me a chance to experience a different side of life at St Peter’s and helped me stay on track with my academic commitments.
The performing arts facilities at St Peter’s accommodate whatever type of practicing you need to do, from quiet rooms with a piano, to a drum attic where you can let loose. Having space to relax and creatively brainstorm has been beneficial to my development as a musician. The staff have been supportive every step of the way. Their passion and joy for music is extremely contagious. I don't think I would love it as much as I do if it wasn’t for them. The benefit of St Peter's is that even if I wanted to learnt a specialist or unorthodox instrument, I know the diversity of experience and knowledge within the department means someone would be able to help me achieve my goals.
The catalyst for my performing arts journey was being in the school production CATS as a Year 9 student. That show inspired me and I performed in the next two productions, Pippin and The Wedding Singer. Each year, everyone who goes to see our productions walks out of that auditorium believing that they have not seen just a ‘school show.’ Ours are so much more than that.
I have also devoted my time to dance. I grabbed the opportunity to take dance as an NCEA subject because it is not often offered to secondary school students. Studying dance has been unbelievably helpful to add to the depth of my knowledge of dance that I can then apply outside of the classroom.
In Years 9–11 I enjoyed being in the dance troupe All That Jazz. Now, in Year 12, I’m part of Dynamite Senior and we’re currently working towards regional competitions and St Peter’s Dance Showcase. Another big part of my performing arts experience has been cheerleading, which I’ve been doing since Year 10. The St Peter’s cheerleading squad competes at three competitions every year — national and international — and we’ve been hugely successful. I’ve also danced in a student-led group called Unified Harmony. Unified Harmony has won numerous competitions around the Waikato. We’ve won the danceNZmade regional competition and came second in the national competition in 2015.
I’ve been involved in speech and drama for two years and I’ve also been studying Performance Drama since Year 9. I’ve enjoyed competing in St Peter’s annual Drama Cup Day for the last two years, reciting a poem and performing a play with a group of actors. Highlights of my performing arts experience are winning the Drama Cup junior poetry competition and placing third in the junior drama category with my group as a Year 9 student. It was a real honour to be named ‘most promising junior speech and drama student.’
The amazing performing arts facilities here at St Peter’s have enabled me to accomplish all of my performing arts goals and excel to a level I never knew possible — getting honours in my speech and drama exams in Year 9 and 10 is another highlight for me. Having so much on offer at St Peter’s has given me the little push I needed to get me to where I am today. The performing arts staff have given me lots of different opportunities to perform. For me the standout feature of the performing arts programme at St Peter’s would have to be the amazing staff. They give you every opportunity to perform at a high level and will back you every step of the way to reach whatever goals you aspire to.
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