All students must participate in a choir plus a specialist ensemble which may include orchestra, band, or guitar ensemble. Piano players are the exception as there is no "ensemble" specifically for them.
The role of the instrumental and choral ensembles at Churchlands Senior High School is not only to support the musical development of students in the music program, but also to provide support for school, public and community events. These formal ensembles are expected to provide appropriate extension and performance opportunities for students at their level of musical development.
Band, orchestra and auditioned choir placement auditions take place at the end of term 3 each year. Students select from provided repertoire and may also be tested for music reading skills through graded sight-reading. Ensemble placement is determined by student ability and attitude, not by year level or course.
Students unable to attend their audition must contact the Director of Music BEFORE the scheduled audition. A student missing an audition will be auditioned at the panel's convenience with final placement at the Director of Music's discretion.
Students not enrolled at Churchlands Senior High School may be invited to join a Churchlands ensemble in a supernumerary capacity at the discretion of the Director of Music. This is likely to be limited to students of above average ability who have expressed their intention to enrol at Churchlands when able, or students who have been approached to fill specific vacancies for specific events.
Students starting a new instrument will join their instrumental ensemble as soon as their instrumental teacher feels they are ready - typically at some point during their first semester of learning.
Choral training is a very important part of music education. All music students must participate in a choir. Other students interested in joining a choir should approach the choral directors to arrange an audition.
- The Dooverlackies (Year 7 students)
- The Matildas Girls Choir SA (Year 8 & 9 girls)
- The Larrikins Boys Choir 2-Part (Year 8 & 9 boys)
- Year 10 Choir SATB
- Year 11 & 12 Choir SATB
There is a specialist vocal ensemble for voice students and they participate in this ensemble in addition to their compulsory year group choir.
There is a chamber choir with entry by audition only.
- Churchlands Chorale SATB that will split when required to form a TTBB choir and a SSAA choir.
There is a Junior and Senior Jazz ensemble, and maybe another one in the future.
These are formed from year to year according to student interest and available staff. They include chamber orchestras, string trios/quartets, and woodwind or brass quintets. For the purpose of continuity, the membership of a chamber group is often limited to students from the same year level.
The most capable students are placed in Fretwork One. The least advanced students will start in the Strummers and will move up to Fretwork Two once they have developed the necessary skills. Year 7 students will typically start in the Strummers.
These involve students learning brass, percussion and woodwind instruments.
Wind Orchestra 5 caters for year 7 students and beginning instrumentalists. Wind Orchestra 5 provides an introduction to a wind band sound, helping the students to develop their aural and literacy skills, along with interacting with a conductor and experiencing both rehearsal and performance etiquette. It provides a suitable level of challenge for students with foundation level skills on their instrument and limited or no prior ensemble experience. Students starting a new instrument can anticipate being placed into this ensemble early in term 2.
Wind Orchestra 4 provides an introduction to the processes of rehearsal and interaction with a conductor as well as to both rehearsal and performance etiquette. Wind Orchestra 4 is typically for year 7 and 8 brass, woodwind and percussion students as well as any year 9 students who have not been placed into a higher ensemble. It provides a suitable level of challenge for students who have developed their instrumental and ensemble skills beyond a foundation level. The standard of repertoire is usually C Grade.
Wind Orchestra 3 is an intermediate ensemble that provides opportunities for brass, woodwind and percussion students to develop the skills necessary to participate in the school's senior ensembles. Wind Orchestra 3 is a balanced group in which the ensemble skills continue to be developed as well as rehearsal and performance etiquette. Wind Orchestra 3 is typically for brass, woodwind and percussion students in Years 8 – 10. The standard of repertoire is usually B Grade.
Wind Orchestra 2 is a balanced ensemble that typically caters for brass, woodwind and percussion students from years 9 to 12. Opportunities are provided for students to refine their ensemble skills and etiquette. The standard of repertoire is A grade, which is commensurate with most senior ensembles in other schools.
Wind Orchestra 1 rehearses and performs high level repertoire written for brass, woodwind and percussion. This band is typically open to all year 10 to 12 students with advanced instrumental and ensemble skills. Wind Orchestra 1 is a balanced ensemble that performs repertoire which is of Premier Division standard.
Churchlands Marching Bands 1 & 2 are drawn from the members of Wind Orchestra 1 and Wind Orchestra 2 respectively. They rehearse in terms 4 and 1 each year after the wind orchestra rehearsals on the Saturday mornings. Their purpose is to support the state Anzac Day Commemorative Parade each year. Marching Band 1 students wear a uniform provided specifically for this event through the generosity of the RSL of WA.
Memorial Band performs at the series of memorial services that Churchlands supports throughout the year. This is a small (30-32 piece) short-term ensemble is typically composed of the most able students from years 9 and 10. This ensemble rehearses 2 or 3 times before each event and provides background music both before and after the services, as well as music to accompany wreath laying, hymns and national anthems as required. These are important formal public events attended by state, national and international representatives.
Tapestry Strings - This is a development orchestra that is targeted at year 5 and 6 string students. The aim is to provide motivated and capable students with an extension opportunity.
Tutti String Orchestra - The Tutti String Orchestra provides a suitable level of challenge for Year 7 and 8 string players who need an introduction to playing in a string orchestra, or those whose skills are not yet sufficiently advanced for the Ripieno String Orchestra. The aim of this ensemble is to develop the basic ensemble skills including tuning skills, consistency of bowing within an ensemble and working with a conductor. The performance opportunities for this orchestra are at the discretion of the conductor in consultation with the Director of Music.
Ripieno Strings - The Ripieno String Orchestra continues the development of fundamental rehearsal skills and performance etiquette. Ripieno Strings typically caters for Year 7-9 string players with some previous ensemble experience, and provides a suitable level of challenge for students with approximately a Grade 2 AMEB minimum playing standard. This ensemble usually plays ‘B’ Division repertoire.
Sinfonia Strings - The Sinfonia String Orchestra typically includes string students in Years 9-12. This is an intermediate ensemble and opportunities are provided for students to further refine their ensemble skills and concert etiquette. The usual standard of repertoire is ‘A’ grade, which is commensurate with most senior string ensembles in other schools.
Chamber Orchestra - The Chamber Orchestra typically caters for advanced string students in Years 10-12 and aims to give them an extension opportunity with regard to string orchestra performance, communication within an ensemble and performing with and without a conductor. This ensemble plays repertoire of a Premier Division standard.
Symphony Orchestra - The Symphony Orchestra is a balanced group catering for advanced string, brass, woodwind and percussion players. Positions in this group are selected on merit and are not limited to student year levels. This ensemble plays repertoire of a Premier Division standard.
Community based ensemble - The Western Australian Charity Orchestra and Chorus (WACO) provides an opportunity for our senior and recently graduated students to donate their time and talents to raise funds for local and national charities. The orchestra, choir and committee include many former and current Churchlands students in both support and leadership roles.
- The student must abide by the requirements set by the ensemble director.
- Attendance at ensemble rehearsals is compulsory and forms part of the assessment of the performance component of the course.
- A note is required if the student is unable to attend a rehearsal. If the student has a prior appointment, early notification would be appreciated.
- If a student accumulates 2 unexplained absences within a semester parent and students can be asked to attend an interview with the Director of Music. For post-compulsory students, an unexplained absence will be treated as truancy and as such may affect the student's Good Standing in the school.
- If the student is frequently absent from or late to rehearsals without prior notification, the student may be removed from either the ensemble and/or the music program.
- A student who is considered by their ensemble director to have attended insufficient rehearsals may be excluded from a performance at the discretion of the ensemble director/s.
- Attendance at performances as requested by the school is compulsory and absentees cause problems for the whole ensemble.
- A request not to attend a performance must be forwarded to the ensemble director a minimum of 14 days prior to the performance.
- Failure to attend a performance may result in the student being removed from the ensemble and/or the music program.
- The student must be dressed in the appropriate performance uniform as outlined on the music web page. This includes appropriate socks/stockings and shoes. Students who do not comply with the school uniform guidelines may be excluded from performing.
- Students should be picked up no later than 20 minutes after the conclusion of rehearsals and concerts. The School is not obliged to provide supervision of students beyond this time.
Over the years the School of Music has commissioned works for band and choir for special occasions or to have something "local" to take away with us overseas. It is our intention to continue this practice into the future. The works commissioned so far and the ensembles for which they were composed are listed below.
- 1993 Scherzo (for the symphonic Wind Ensemble) Ralph Hultgren
- 1994 On the Banks of the Condamine (for the Senior Choir) Iain Grandage
- 2011 Catalpa (for the Senior Choir) Iain Grandage
- 2014 Moondyne Joe (for the Senior Choir) Mark Puddy