In early June, schools involved held the grand finale – a jam session for Ping – a massive ‘hands-on’ concert with all the students involved from Casterton High School, Casterton PS, Heywood and District College and Hawkesdale P12 College.
Sheldon, a capable conductor led 3 Melbourne Symphony Orchestra instrumentalists and the 60 odd students attending in a grand musical production. As we started to settle and await instructions, I thought that this is just not going to work. 60 excited students from years 6 and 7 were all talking and sections were not listening very attentively to group instructions. The first exercise was a warm up where stretches were undertaken and then rhythms of words practised.
Students were gradually asked to seat themselves at instruments that had been carefully laid out on the floor. The majority of students had not learnt an instrument and their only exposure to composing had come throught the Ping project. Within minutes, the talented Sheldon, had those students ‘in the palm of his hands’. They listened intently and actually played a fabulous piece based on word jingles set to short sentences. Shiles suggested they needed a segment on a space theme and so, in it went.
How great it all sounded! It was recorded and can be heard here. The home economics centre prepared a wonderful fingerfood lunch. This was a gesture of thanks to our students for being involved in the project.