Meriden students perform Beethoven learnt in lockdown

29 June 2020

Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony is instantly recognisable for its drama. But the famous score was not the cause of emotion for Meriden’s Director of Music when the School’s Symphony Orchestra performed under the baton of renowned conductor, Guy Noble.

For Ms Jodie Spooner-Ryan, the performance at the School’s Music Festival in the final week of Term 2 was especially meaningful because it embodied the students’ triumph over adversity.

“We are living in challenging times and the performance was a reminder of the incredible resilience of our young people and their dedication to music,” she said.

“The fact that the girls learnt and rehearsed this sophisticated work individually during the coronavirus lockdown speaks of their commitment to music. The students knew there was a possibility that the Music Festival would not go ahead. Despite this, they were committed to learning this complex repertoire.”

“For the girls to then return to school to perform it to such a high standard is a testimony to their passion for music and their commitment to each other as an ensemble,” Ms Spooner-Ryan said.

Conductor Guy Noble, who has worked with professional orchestras around Australia, rehearsed with the orchestra during the festival and congratulated Meriden’s musicians on their exceptional performance.

“They are one of the finest school orchestras I have heard, right up there with professional orchestras, actually,” he said.

Meriden Music Festival is held every two years to highlight the importance of music at the School and celebrate the achievements of Meriden’s outstanding young musicians. Nearly four hundred girls attend Music lessons at Meriden each week and the School’s dedicated Music Department supports the students to perform at their highest level. Many girls continue their studies with orchestras and other professional ensembles in Australia and overseas.

In 2020, the Music Festival was planned to honour the 250th anniversary of the birth of Beethoven, culminating in a performance of the Fifth Symphony as part of a gala concert to be held at City Recital Hall. Instead, the School’s music ensembles had an opportunity to perform and attend workshops and masterclasses on the school grounds with visiting artists. These included Dr John Lynch, Clemens Leske, Elizabeth Scott, Kerry Martin, Rowena Macneish, Ella Macens and James West. The event lent a sense of excitement and energy to the end of term for Meriden students and staff who enjoyed performances of every genre throughout the school day, while parents tuned in via livestream.

Music has always had the power to move us. Meriden’s Music Festival was a reminder of the power of music to forge strong communities, sustain us in our separation and help us to rejoice in our togetherness. 

Click here to watch the Meriden Symphony Orchestra, led by Guy Noble, perform Beethoven's Fifth Symphony.