Musically gifted students from Berinba, Yass Public School and Yass High School are looking forward to taking their place at the Schools Spectacular Arena this year. The Guinness World Record holding event is returning to Qudos Bank Arena in Sydney with the 2022 theme ‘Creating the Magic.’

Talented Yass High School student and guitarist Ben Gillard has been selected as a ‘feature instrumentalist’ this year out of many students across New South Wales. 

Yass High School, Yass Public and Berinba Public School will also be represented by a specially selected Schools Spectacular choir. Students will leave on Tuesday the 22nd of November and return on Sunday. During the week, they will rehearse, participate in the two-day event, and have fun visiting Sydney. 

This year, Schools Spectacular will be celebrating youth, education, culture, and young Australian talent. The show will feature over 5,000 students from across New South Wales public schools performing before a live arena audience. The event will be televised nationally in prime time on Channel 7.

Berinba stage 3 teacher and choir leader Miss Grace Armour explained students took part in an audition process to create a smaller Schools Spectacular choir from within the existing Berinba school choir. 

At Berinba, students attending Schools Spectacular are from years four to six, so fall between the ages of nine to twelve. Leading the Berinba choir alongside Miss Armour will be the highly experienced Mrs Sharman Dawes, who has been selecting, leading, and training School Spectacular choir students at Berinba for over a decade.

“In terms of practice, we’ll be meeting weekly to go through songs and learn them just as usual, watching the videos and doing the hand movements,” said Miss Armour. 

Berinba Public School will have a fair amount of fundraising to do to prepare for the Schools Spectacular. The school is looking at organising a few cake stalls at the Rotary stall booth on the Main Street and organising a wood raffle. They are yet to determine a target amount, but according to Miss Armour, it will cost around $10,000 to accommodate and transport eighteen children and two teachers to Sydney. 

“We’re looking at raising a couple of grand if we can, just to cover costs, because it is quite expensive to send the students,” she said.

Berinba has not been to Schools Spectacular since 2019 because of Covid and is excited to be heading back. 

“It’s always been a fantastic experience. The kids love it; it’s a huge eye-opening experience going to Sydney and being with thousands of other students. They have a great time, they love it and it’s exciting,” said Miss Armour. 

She added that students are most excited about getting to see the performance, seeing Sydney, and meeting the other kids. 

Yass Public School Spectacular breakout choir auditioned with a song by the artist “Pink” and are also excited to be selected.

Eight members of the Yass Public School Schools Spectacular choir for 2022

Choir Leader Ms Beth Bird will be taking ten students aged 10-12 children to Sydney for the five-day event.

Ms Bird has been involved twice before with Schools Spectacular; then, Covid saw a break of two years. 2022 will be her first taking the lead.

“We have seven girls and three boys going and they are very excited,” said Ms Bird.

Ms Bird said the biggest challenge for the children will be off-stage,

“They’ll be in Sydney without their parents for five days. The rehearsals and concerts can go quite late into the night and trying to get them into bed and get back up again will be challenging as it’s physically and mentally rigorous.”

However, Ms Bird said their efforts would be rewarded.

“The opportunities are endless, it is a professional concert with all the bells and whistles, sound and lighting. Being a part of it is something I can’t give them here.  They are part of the Arena choir so they will come down from the concord area and students will flood the arena and Yass students will be a part of that.”

Like Berinba, Yass Public will need to fundraise “to help the kids get there and support them.”  

Ms Bird described the opportunity to perform at Schools Spectacular as “a life experience.”

“They will come away with a new respect for the music industry and what’s involved in a performance behind and on stage, not just what they see on TV.”    

Presented by the New South Wales Department of Education, Schools Spectacular is a world-class arena production and one of the largest annual events of its calibre anywhere in Australia and arguably the world. Since 1984, it has continued to produce national and international stars and incorporates students from a variety of backgrounds and communities across New South Wales. 

Schools Spectacular showcases a cast of 2,300 dancers, a combined choir of 2,500, an 80-piece full symphony orchestra, and a 25-piece stage band. It delivers outstanding, cutting-edge artistry in dance and musical performance and features state-of-the-art sound, lighting and staging. 

Southerly Jones