An audience of more than 1,500 people were treated to vivid vocals, drama, and dance – alongside original radio-quality songs written by students with the help of industry mentors in just five weeks and sung by their peers at CaSPA Live.

The annual showcase of Sydney Catholic Schools Creative and Performing Arts (CaSPA) program ensembles was staged at the Sydney International Convention Centre for the first time, the production acting as a large-scale dress rehearsal for the program’s 20thanniversary showcase next year.

More than 650 students took part in the showcase on 18 June, each tutored in their fields by educators and professional performers before taking on the challenge of a varied live production themed ‘The things we do’.

CaSPA secondary coordinator Elizabeth Mullane said the event showcased the depth and diversity of the program’s workshops and ensembles.

“CaSPA Live 2019 gave students the opportunity to perform in an internationally distinguished professional venue,” she said. “To see all the elements of the program coming together so spectacularly on stage and through visuals is a testament to the students.”

For almost two decades, students from primary and secondary schools across the Sydney Archdiocese have honed their skills and stagecraft through CaSPA music, dance and drama ensembles.

De La Salle College Ashfield Year 12 student Tresnadi Nugraha is among the current crop of students in the vocal ensemble.

“This is my third year directly in the program but I’ve worked alongside CaSPA my entire high school life,” he said.

“It has taught me more than how to perform. You really delve into the inner workings of a show. It’s one of the richest environments I’ve ever been in to nurture a skill of being able to think under pressure and adapt to change in an instant.”

For Bethelehem College Year 12 student Caitlyn Joseph, CaSPA’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait islander ensemble, Murawadeen Goodjarga, has provided ample opportunity to connect to culture and fulfil her love of dance.

It’s one of the richest environments I’ve ever been in to nurture a skill of being able to think under pressure and adapt to change.

– Tresnadi Nugraha

The Live showcase was her last after six years in the ensemble. The performance included a mix of traditional and contemporary dance, one to a rendition of Nat King Cole song Nature Boy.

“Every time we come it’s always something different,” said Caitlyn who is of the Dharug nation.

“I love doing my cutural dance, but I think the whole concept and strength of Goodjarga is learning about different aspects of your culture. When we do performance out in the community we have a lot of elders there. At the end they will always come up and say how proud they are – for me that’s the highlight, seeing the elders be proud of us.”

Evie Corradin, also in Year 12 at Bethlehem College,  plays bass in the newly formed Youth Ministry Band. Their first performance was in December when St Mary’s Cathdral was lit up for Advent.

“The collaboration and getting the opportunities to perform at different events – I’d say those two things are the biggest strength of the program,” she said. “It builds your confidence and makes you more comfortable with your talents. You learn a lot of different things about the industry.”