Music rang strong and proud on the evening of April 4 at the official opening of St Paul’s Collegiate School’s Mary Hornsby Music Centre.
Over 100 people filled the new space, which has taken just under a year to complete. Guests were welcomed with performances from various St Paul’s student musicians including the big band, guitar group, orchestra, choir and newly formed drum line.
St Paul’s Headmaster, Mr Grant Lander, accompanied by renowned opera singer Dame Malvina Major, led the evening’s presentation by unveiling the Mary Hornsby Music Centre donors’ board and officially opening the new Evan McCulloch teaching room – named after the school’s first music director.
Dame Malvina was extremely impressed with the new facilities.
“St Paul’s already has a great music programme, now with these fantastic new facilities it will be even better – it makes me want to come back to school! School years are an important time for any young musician, as this is the time for them to truly master their instrument,” she said.
To top off the musical theme of the night, all guests joined in with the school choir to sing the hymn Jerusalem.
The Mary Hornsby Music School was established by Mary and Reginald Hornsby in 1976, at a time when the roll at St Paul’s topped 446 students. Music director Evan McCulloch, who began teaching at St Paul’s in 1961, had fought long and hard to establish the construction of a music building within the school and it was described as one of the finest of its kind in the country.
With a roll now just under 750 students, St Paul’s had outgrown the pre-existing music building and an expansion was required to be able to accommodate the growing number of students taking lessons and music groups requiring practice facilities.
The expansion includes the Evan McCulloch teaching room, which doubles as a band practice facility, recording studio (to be completed) to allow for the implementation of the new music technology curriculum, three group practice rooms, student storage, music office and toilet facilities. The large foyer can be used as a teaching space and for performances.