St Agnes’ Parish Schools Drum Line national champions for the third time

Students from St Agnes’ Parish Schools won the national championship for the third year in a row at the National Percussion Eisteddfod in Sydney on 2 August.
Schools from across Australia competed at the Eisteddfod convened at St Ignatius College in Lane Cove.

St Agnes’ Parish Schools Drum Line Coordinator Mark Spence said the result exceeded all expectations. “To be announced as national champions for the third time running is testament to how hard the students have worked over the past months and also an indication of the depth of talent and commitment that exists at St Agnes’ Parish schools,” Mark said.

“Seeing the way they rehearsed, I knew we had another win in us. Collectively, we performed well but there were also a number of outstanding individual performances as well.”

Mark said in addition to winning the ‘Own Choice’ category, the ensemble also won the ‘Test Piece’ section and scoring well in these two performances contributed towards the overall score for the championship.

“The cherry on top was winning the ‘Best Snares’ and ‘Best Tenors’ group categories and great performances in the individual categories of ‘Open Tenor Solos’ and ‘Open Snare Solos’,” Mark said.

Harry Amon and Nicholas Murray from St Joseph’s Regional College won first and second place in the ‘Open Tenor Solos’ and Harry Amon and Isaac Clarke (MacKillop College) took out second and third place in the ‘Open Snare Solos’. Nathan Brumby and Michael Nixon both represented MacKillop College strongly in the snare solos.

“As if the weekend couldn’t get any better,” Mark continued, “The following day, as guests of the GWS Giants, the group took part in the 2019 Sydney AFL derby between the Giants and the Sydney Swans and performed their show to 16,000 people in the pre-game festivities.”

“It was a great afternoon and we were all thrilled to be a part of such an amazing afternoon.”

Coordinating Executive Officer for Parish Education Stephen Pares congratulated Mark Spence and the Drum Line for their excellent results.

“For the St Agnes’ Parish Schools Drum Line to be crowned national champions for the third time in a row is an outstanding result,” Stephen Pares said.

“It shows that with great dedication and support, regional schools can successfully compete on a national stage. We are so proud of the efforts of the students, teachers and parents that have come together to make the Drum Line such a success.”

“Mark Spence especially should be recognised for his efforts in imparting his musical knowledge and expertise, but also his creative skills in writing and arranging this year’s show, called ‘The Velocity Sonnets’, which involved flag bearers and dancers as well,” he concluded.

St Agnes’ Parish Schools Drum Line were awarded Overall Open Champion Drum Line. Category results included:

  • 1st place – Own Choice – “The Velocity Sonnets” by Mark Spence
  • 1st place – Test Piece – “Hustle and Bustle” by Travis Opocensky
  • Best Snare Section
  • Best Tenors Section
  • 2nd place – Open Drum Line Snare Solo – Harry Amon (Yr 11 SJRC)
  • 3rd place – Open Drum Line Snare Solo – Isaac Clarke (Yr 9 MacKillop College)
  • 1st place – Open Drum Line Tenor Solo – Harry Amon (Yr 11 SJRC)
  • 2nd place – Open Drum Line Tenor Solo – Nicholas Murray (Yr 10 SJRC)
  • 2nd place – Senior High Drum Set Solo – Harry Amon (Yr 11 SJRC)

In addition to the results on Friday in the drum line events, on Sunday 4 August, Michael Nixon (Yr 9 MacKillop College) picked up:

  • Highly Commended – Intermediate Concert Snare Drum Solo
  • Highly Commended – Junior High Drum Set Solo
  • MacKillop College Senior Percussion Ensemble was awarded 3rd place – Intermediate Percussion Ensemble for “Scuttlebutt” by Jim Casella