Oct 172023

The text below was written by John Baird, with the photo by Stuart Winstanley.

The annual school concert of St Helena Secondary College was held on Tuesday evening, 17th October. St Helena Secondary College has an extensive music program and, on the evening, six different school bands performed (e.g. Show Band, Concert Band, Jazz Band, SuperSax Band), involving around 100 students.

One novel feature of this year’s concert involved a series of presentations of Excellence Awards on behalf of our Jazz Appreciation Class. John Crichton, tutor of the class, described the development of Jazz By The Green, a joint initiative of the Jazz Appreciation Class and the Eltham Bowling Club. This initiative was the idea of the late Mal Harrop and continues to be organised by John. Over the last seven years, it has resulted in around 60 monthly live jazz events involving scores of different Victorian jazz bands, each playing to a usual audience of about 120 people.

The Jazz Appreciation Class’s share of the profits from these Jazz By The Green events is used to promote and foster jazz education at government secondary schools in Nillumbik. The recent presentation at St Helena Secondary College is an example of this commitment.

On the evening, John presented four awards. Each award (entitled The Harrop-Crichton Award) was for a student in each of the four senior school bands who had shown exceptional promise and expertise in improvised music. In addition, funds from the Jazz By The Green events were given to the school to purchase a new string bass – an instrument that the school did not possess, but that was highly desired as part of the music program. The evening was an example of how Nillumbik U3A can contribute to the local community.

The Harrop-Crichton Awards will be made available in the future, depending on the continued success of the Jazz By The Green program.

The annual concert evening was a great success, and the awards delighted the whole school and, particularly, the students who were their recipients.