Music at st Alban's
We believe that in preparing young men for life, we should strive to develop well balanced individuals. Emphasis is placed on a holistic approach to music allowing the boys to participate in many different genres underpinned by a solid knowledge and critical evaluation of the subject, but with a balanced appreciation and a supportive environment in which to perform. Musicianship should be cultivated in every young man and their musical achievements celebrated.
Music plays a part in every boy’s life at St Alban’s College, be it for hymn practice or singing in Chapel, war cries, including proud renditions of the school song, or performing in our world class auditorium. Music adds traditional, creative, social and personal value to life in general.
St Alban’s College aims to give a balanced, all-round education to its students. This includes developing the musical talent and potential of all the boys whom we are privileged to teach. The St Alban’s College Music Department strives to develop excellence through instilling a love, enjoyment and appreciation of Music amongst all its students. We believe that excellence grows from enjoyment, and our focus therefore is on allowing boys to experiment, find their own niche, and through that develop into passionate and accomplished musicians and entertainers. The Cultural Festival is one such event where hidden musical talents suddenly spring to the fore from students who would otherwise remain under the radar. This is one opportunity where we can pick up new talents and nurture them, and thus play a part in developing all-round education and creating responsible citizens, ultimately playing our part in preparing young men for life.
Instrumental music @ St Alban’s College
St Alban’s College offers instrumental lessons in a variety of instruments. Our teachers are specialists in their specific instruments. Apart from our classrooms, the Music School offers six individual practice rooms, a Percussion practice room and an Ensemble practice room as well as a music technology room, fully equipped with the latest technology to assist the boys with improving their composition and improvisation skills.
Boys have the opportunity to make music together in the Choir, Barbershop, Band, Guitar Club or one of the smaller instrumental ensembles.
The Chapel Choir plays an integral role in College Chapel services; performs at internal and external functions, including PR tours, concerts, festivals and eisteddfods, where they have won many awards and other accolades; was selected over several longer-established choirs to shoot a television commercial for M-Web that was shown on South African national television; has featured on 6 CD recordings and enjoyed a highly-successful Tour to the World Choir Games in Austria, where it won a Silver Medal in 2008, a tour to USA in 2010, and a combined tour with the St Alban’s College Band to China in 2015. The Choir is renowned for its energy and passion.
The Barbershop is a small group of selected voices from the members of the Choir. Only boys with exceptional voices achieve the distinction of being a part of this group of accomplished singers. Established in 1996, the group was an overnight success and is expected, as a matter of course, to perform regularly at internal College functions, musical evenings and concerts. They are regarded as one of the College’s best Public Relations assets; enjoyed highly successful and publicised Tours to Argentina, Austria, the USA and China; have appeared on national television on the entertainment programme Kyknet; have featured on 6 CD recordings; have appeared as guest artists at several national and international events and conferences; have performed at numerous International Expos in and around the country; and have participated in numerous festivals and eisteddfods, where they have won many awards and accolades. The Barbershop is called upon frequently to perform at corporate functions and public events.
This outstanding group of musicians performs on a regular basis and frequently provides light musical entertainment at major College events. It has a varied repertoire, including Jazz, Blues, Ballads, and Rock pieces, and performs with distinction at many functions. It is increasingly called upon to participate in festivals and functions outside the school.
With the ensembles, our aim is to create opportunities for boys to perform in a small group and to cater for different tastes. Besides the Gumboot and the Drum Circle, which are permanent groups that function as ensembles, other ensembles change regularly, depending on the instruments and players available to make up an ensemble.
External Music Groups
Passionate musicians have the opportunity to audition for music groups outside the school. There are several projects, orchestras and choirs in Gauteng that offer membership to accomplished high school musicians, amongst others: Orchestral Youth Programs like the Sinfonia Juventi and the National Symphony Orchestra; Pretoria Symphony Orchestra; Gauteng Philharmonic Orchestra; UP Symphony Orchestra and the UP Youth Choir.
The Guitar Club caters for beginners and more advanced musicians and they regularly perform at functions and often go on specially planned outings.
To stage a full-on Musical production requires talent, dedication, hard work and time management in an already busy school. Yet the educational value and personal development is of immense benefit to our students. In collaboration with our sister school, St Mary’s DSG, we have staged the “Elvis” Musical All Shook Up! in the Brooklyn Theatre in 2011, and Copacabana by Barry Manilow in the Atterbury Theatre in 2013.
The St Alban’s College Music Department has produced six CDs in the last 15 years. These CDs feature works by the College Choir, Barbershop, Jazz Band, Rock Band and a variety of soloists. They are a wonderful celebration of the immense musical talent at the College and we are justifiably proud of, and thankful to, all those who made these possible.
Formal music education starts with the junior boys who have the option to take music as a module. It is also an elective subject for senior boys.
We follow the IEB syllabus concentrating on three major components and promoting several opportunities for the boys to achieve:
Music performance and improvisation
Development in solo and ensemble performance
Development in improvisational skills
Music theory and notation
Harmony and knowledge of music terminology
General music knowledge and analysis
Form and structure
History of Western art music, jazz, rock, contemporary twentieth century styles, indigenous African music and urban South African styles and the respective composers or performers
South African music industry
Subject Music is a demanding but fascinating and rewarding subject.
One of the main requirements of subject music is to learn an individual instrument which is recognised by the IEB (Independent Examination Board). Every Subject Music student is therefore expected to take individual practical lessons, which also has cost implications.
The minimum requirements for Subject Music are:
Form 1 – Grade 8: None
Form 2 – Grade 9: Practical Music Grade 2; Music Theory Grade 2
Form 3 – Grade 10: Practical Music Grade 4; Music Theory Grade 4
Form 4 – Grade 11: Practical Music Grade 5; Music Theory Grade 5
Form 5 – Grade 12: Practical Music Grade 6; Music Theory Grade 5
The above Grade levels are based on the following examining bodies for music:
The Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music
Trinity College of Music (Classical and Rock and Pop Syllabi)
A student may choose pieces NOT included in the syllabi of these institutions, but the pieces have to be at the required standard.
Our current staff complement associated with the Music Department:
Rainer von Schlichting Director of Music; Subject Music; Brass; Band and Ensembles
Carin van Graan Subject Music; Music Modules; Piano; Accompaniment
Nico du Plessis Director of Cultural Activities; Guitar Club
Ilse Marlow Administration
Lhente-Mari Pitout Choir; Barbershop
Stephan Gericke Classical Voice; Piano; Theory
Tessa Olivier Piano; Keyboard
Herman Swanepoel Classical Voice
Elrine Lottino Contemporary Voice
Jean-Pierre Rossouw Classical and Contemporary Guitar and Bass Guitar
Pieter Botha Drums
Adell le Roux Flute
Simoné Nel Saxophone
Jeff Cole Trumpet
Hester Wohlitz-Udal Violin
Jeanine Coghlan Violin
Mietze Dill Cello
Werner Spies Double Bass
Extramural music lessons
It is our policy that any St Alban’s boy who wishes to learn an instrument should be catered for. Should a St Alban’s boy require lessons in a musical discipline not covered by the current teachers, we will make every effort to find a suitable teacher, wherever possible.
The fees for instrumental lessons in 2017 are R370/hour, R277.50/45 minutes and R185/30 minutes. The length of lessons depends on personal needs and ability of the student. To register for Music Lessons, please sign the registration form, after carefully reading the Policy and Fee Document.
Performance is integral to playing an instrument. It develops self-discipline, confidence, musical understanding and self-discovery. Those who feel overwhelmed by the idea of individual performance can perform in groups, where they will feel less vulnerable. During the year, there are many opportunities to perform, and some concerts are solely for the purpose of allowing less confident performers the opportunity to perform in a less threatening environment.
Music Groups and Clubs
The current official music groups are:
Choir and Barbershop (Mrs Lhente-Mari Pitout)
Band, Ensembles, Drum Circle (Mr Rainer von Schlichting)
Guitar Club (Mr Nico du Plessis)
Jazz Club (Ms Elrine Lottino)