The Thistle - An E-Newsletter of Scotch College, Perth, Western Australia

Performing Arts

Often the first conversation topic when meeting someone for the first time relates to what occupation or vocation each person is pursuing. It is the ubiquitous "what do you do" question. I will answer that I am a teacher. The follow up question comes right away: "what do you teach"? "Music" I tell them, before then listening as a long lament ensues about how this person wishes they played a musical instrument, or rues the day they gave up at the end of primary school. "But you do have the ability to play a musical instrument", I will tell them; "you can sing". "I can't sing mate, no way, I've got a terrible voice. I'm tone deaf. I've got no musical skill at all". This is a popular myth, but believed by the majority of the Australian population. It is completely false. The truth is everyone can sing, they just do not know how to sing. Sure, some may have all the tonal qualities of a chainsaw; however, they can sing if they know how to.

Aside from the fact that everyone can sing, it is actually of great benefit to our physical and mental health. Among other benefits, researchers at the University of Gothenburg (Sweden) found that singing has a dramatic effect on heart rate variability. Regular controlled breathing through singing (different phrase lengths and inhaling between phrases) gives the same effect as is achieved through yoga. It reduces the risk of heart disease. Who would have thought?

Similarly, there are educational benefits with regular singing supporting and improving language development.

One of my first priorities since arriving at Scotch College was to reboot choral singing across the school. I am pleased to advise the appointment of Mr Perry Joyce to the Scotch College Music Faculty, to take up the position of Choral Music Coordinator.

Mr Joyce comes to the College with a wealth of experience as a singer, composer and choral music specialist. He studied music at UWA, majoring in composition, before pursuing a performing career with WA Opera, the Giovanni Consort and various other ensembles and organisations. Mr Joyce is currently on the staff of Perth Choral Institute and conducts his own ensemble Quire - Vocal Addiction. He has experience across multiple contexts, including musical theatre, gospel singing and has worked on several projects and commissions. Mr Joyce has won Sydney Symphony's Young Composers Award, the Gondwana Voices Young Composers Award, and the WASO Education Chamber Orchestra Award.

A former student of Trinity College, Mr Joyce understands the boys' school environment well. He has also collaborated with several of the PLC music staff on musical projects unrelated to school. Mr Joyce's responsibility will initially see him take on the directorship of Scotch Vox, Scotch Youth Voices and the Senior Choir in a peripatetic capacity. The scope of Mr Joyce's role will no doubt expand as we review and restructure the choral music programmes at Scotch in the near future.

Scotch Youth Voices and the Senior Choir are fantastic opportunities for boys to develop singing skills in a supportive collegiate environment. These ensembles are not auditioned and are open to new members. Yes, if boys elect to be involved, we do want them to commit for the remainder of the year. Perhaps have a conversation with your son and see if it is something he would be interested in doing. Drama students should certainly be looking at involvement in choral singing to prepare themselves for future productions. Parents or boys can contact Music Administration for further details.


Kyle Imlah (Year 12, Keys) - 2018 Music Captain. Kyle was successful in his recent audition for the guitar chair in the Australian Navy Band (WA). Kyle will now complete a series of fitness assessments, then complete Defence Force Recruit Training over a period of five weeks before taking up his post as a paid musician with the Navy Band. Kyle will balance this with his Year 12 studies, his existing commitments with the West Australian Youth Jazz Orchestra and the numerous music ensembles he plays in at Scotch College.

Mr Scott Loveday
Head of Performing Arts