They’re no strangers to the discipline and commitment it takes to succeed after singing in Australia’s oldest musical ensemble – St Mary’s Cathedral Choir – from age 10.
Meet the four St Mary’s Cathedral Choir Scholars who continue to strike the balance between their chosen creative outlet and school life in their HSC year.
The Choir Scholars are an elite choral ensemble made up of students in Years 8 to 12 at St Mary’s Cathedral College Sydney, who elect to continue their singing commitment once their voices move from the treble of a chorister to an alto, baritone or tenor.
They give about eight hours each week to rehearsals and Cathedral liturgies, including Wednesday night Vespers. For concerts and major feast days they join forces with the main Cathedral Choir.
They have toured internationally, cementing all the skills expected of a professional musician.
“Juggling HSC and choir teaches you a lot of organisational skills” – Antonio Guarino
MEET THE CHOIR SCHOLARS
Dylan Ford, Antonio Guarino, Reilly Bashall and Marciano Flammia joined St Mary’s Cathedral College – and the St Mary’s Cathedral Choir – in Year 5.
Two now hold school leadership positions. All four are studying Music for their HSC and say the skills they have learned through the choir program have helped in the subject.
“The singing lessons we do through the Cathedral help us with our practical exams,” said Dylan, who is also the college’s music captain.
“Going in, you don’t know what the commitment is like but you see the image and it’s exciting,” he said.
“As you go through the years you get used to the process and fall in love with it” – Dylan Ford
“There’s a sort of passion that has to be there for us to spend so much time in the choir.
“We toured Belgium and that was pretty exciting. But it’s just fun to sing with everyone, to be honest.”
Antonio Guarino said his time in the choir had been extremely valuable.
“Juggling HSC and choir is pretty hectic,” Antonio said. “It teaches you a lot of organisational skills and a sense of responsibility.”
Tenor Reilly Bashall is also a house prefect at school, and 6am starts to make choir rehearsals have been a normal part of his day since Year 5.
“I was always screaming in the house, so my mum thought I should try to use my voice for something good,” he said of why he joined the choir.
“It’s good practice for after school, the professionalism involved. It shows that you can be committed to things” – Reilly Bashall
“It’s also good practice for the HSC. It’s good to keep my voice in tune.”
Marciano Flammia took part in musicals before joining the choir and college.
“It’s a great experience and you build strong relationships – that is probably the main reason I stayed on with the scholars,” Marciano said.
“Because you build the skills to sight read, it becomes easier to learn music” – Marciano Flammia
“It’s a good, diverse thing to do. The HSC keeps you busy, and sometimes it’s an escape to come to choir. It’s nice to sing with people and relax.”
By: JADE RAMIREZ
- Choral Scholars are a part of the Cathedral Choir and participate in the liturgical life of the cathedral and the Catholic Archdiocese of Sydney
- Boys are accepted in Year 3 only for choir positions
- Year 3 and 4 choristers learn the piano
- All choristers receive a private singing lesson as a part of their scholarship
- Choristers are expected to study a musical instrument as a part of their overall music education
- Continued enrolment is conditional on remaining in the chorister program
Hear from Sydney Catholic Schools’ Executive Director, Tony Farley, about the program structure and benefits of the St Mary’s Cathedral College Choral Music Program: