The Performing Arts at Southwell provides students with a range of high quality learning experiences in the disciplines of Dance, Drama and Music.
Children are inspired to achieve artistic excellence whilst developing the confidence and creativity to freely express their ideas and feelings.
Performing Arts courses are taught by qualified, experienced specialist teachers in a well resourced, nationally acclaimed teaching facility which consists of purpose built Music/Drama classrooms, a Dance space and a fully functional proscenium Theatre.
Southwell Students enjoy learning about and through the Performing Arts and engage deeply in the many exciting opportunities available to them.
Junior Performing Arts (Years 0-2)
Performing Arts education at Southwell starts in the Junior School where students study Junior Performing Arts on a weekly basis. All Junior courses are taught through the Kodály method which is music based but also involves aspects of movement and dramatic play.
Drama (Years 3 – 8)
Between Years 3 and 8 students study both Drama and Music on a weekly basis. The Drama programme encompasses the elements of language, movement and theatre and includes a syndicate production experience which is designed to give every child the opportunity to perform in a live theatrical event.
Music (Years 3 – 8)
At Southwell School every student has a weekly lesson with a specialised classroom music teacher.
Music lessons use the Kodály and Orff methods of music education with a focus on singing, movement, speech, rhythm, performance and simple notation through use of untuned and tuned percussion instruments in a context which is similar to the child’s world of play.
Music continues to develop knowledge of singing and basic theory however each year has its own particular focus:
Year 5: Maori Music, Recorder,
Year 6: Ukulele and a range of different styles of music including Celtic, reggae etc
Year 7: Keyboard, Music Theory, Orchestra, and the Pipe Organ.
Year 8: Guitar, Rockband, Songwriting and Garage Band.
Dance (Years 3 – 8)
A schoolwide Dance programme is taught in Term 3 and provides students with an in depth experience to create and perform dances within a range of genres.
Southwell School has a number of music groups that cater for a range of musical abilities and interests, including:
Boys’ and Girls’ Choirs of All Hallows Chapel (Years 5-8)
The Southwell Chapel Choirs are renowned nationally for being among the best Primary School Chapel Choirs in New Zealand. During the week both Choirs sit in the Choir Stalls and support the School Chaplain at daily Chapel services in the All Hallows Chapel. At weekends they regularly participate in Sunday services. The choirs are auditioned and made up of students from Years 5-8. Auditions take place at the beginning of each year in front of a selection panel. Selected students then undergo a period of probation and will only be admitted to the choir if they meet the requisite attitudinal and musical criteria. Being a part of these prestigious choirs is a huge achievement at Southwell and it is expected that students involved demonstrate commitment by attending all rehearsals and Chapel Services. There are generally two practices per week for each choir and two Sunday Chapel Services per term. Both choirs are affiliates of the Royal School of Church Music and choristers are able to participate in the Voice for Life training scheme. All choristers are robed in the traditional manner of the Anglican Church and are often invited to sing at concerts, functions or parish churches within the Diocese of Waikato. For the students the highlight of the choral year is taking part in the annual Choir Trip. These performance tours are focused on particular parts of the country and enable the students to demonstrate commitment, service and excellence. For the last two years both choirs have also taken part in the annual Kids Sing Choral Festival and won the Gold award which is the highest recognition of singing ability at Primary level.
Mrs Julia McIntyre (Director of Music) directs both of these groups to a high standard. She is an experienced Choir Director of ten years who has a passion for singing. Dr Greg Neil is our official accompanist and is also a piano tutor at Southwell.
Junior Choir (Years 3-4)
Southwell also has a Junior Choir for younger students. This choir is led by Mrs Julia McIntyre and they practice once a week. The Junior Choir predominantly performs at in-house events.
Southwell Symphony Orchestra
The large and highly accomplished Southwell Symphony Orchestra is an auditioned group. The required standard is generally from Grade 3 but anyone who plays an orchestral instrument (strings, woodwind, brass and percussion) is welcome to audition. This group annually takes part in regional primary and intermediate competitions and is a leader in orchestral performance. We cover a wide range of repertoire from various genres including contemporary music, film music as well as the more traditional classics. It is led by Mrs Victoria Trenwith (Music Teacher) who is a very experienced musical director.
Southwell Jazz Band
This small and sophisticated Jazz Band is an auditioned group made up of students from around Grade 3 up. Instruments generally include Trumpet, Trombone, Flute, Clarinet, Saxophone, Piano, Guitar, Bass Guitar, Drums and Percussion. This group annually takes part in regional primary and intermediate competitions and plays a wide range of repertoire from contemporary styles to more traditional Jazz pieces. It is led by Mrs Victoria Trenwith (Music Teacher) who is a very experienced musical director.
Southwell Wind Band
This group is open for beginner wind players up to Grade 2 and gives students experience in ensemble (group) playing. It is open to any wind (woodwind and brass) players. Instruments included are flute, oboe, clarinet, saxophone, bassoon, cornet, trumpet, french horn, trombone and tuba. The group is accompanied by piano and limited percussion as required. The Southwell Wind Band was created to give beginner students a group to play in, enable them to meet other students who also play wind instruments and generally have fun sharing their talents. The group has competed in regional events and has done very well. The Southwell Wind Band is led by Mrs Victoria Trenwith (Music Teacher) who is a very experienced musical director.
Please be aware that this group is auditioned to check the level of repertoire and assess position within the group itself. Once the Director feels the student is ready they will be moved up to the Symphony Orchestra.
Southwell String Orchestra
This group is open for beginner string players up to Grade 2 and gives students experience in ensemble (group) playing. It is open to any orchestral string players – violinists, violists, cellists and bassists and is accompanied by piano and limited percussion as required. The Southwell String Orchestra was created to give beginner students a group to play in, enable them to meet other students who also play string instruments and generally have fun sharing their talents. The group has competed in regional events and has done very well. The String Orchestra is led by Mrs Victoria Trenwith, Music teacher at Southwell and an extraordinary violinist.
This group is auditioned to check the level of repertoire and assess position within the group. Once the Director feels the student is ready they will be moved up to the Symphony Orchestra.
The Rockbands (generally two) are led by two of our Itinerant tutors at Southwell, Mr Jeremy Badger and Mr Sam Trenwith, and are a great starting point for our young contemporary musicians. Each group is auditioned from Year 6-8 students and generally consists of the following instruments; voice, guitar, bass, keyboard, and drums. As well as developing instrumental, ensemble and performance skills, students involved are also given opportunities to write their own songs. Each year the Rockbands compete in regional contemporary music competitions and are encouraged to perform within the school at assemblies, lunchtime concerts and other key school events.
This ensemble is for advanced players only and participants must play at Grade 5 and above. The group is generally made up of violin, cello and piano. Each year this ensemble competes in the Hamilton Music Competitions and so far groups have enjoyed a high level of success. They also play at various other concerts both within and outside of school. This group is led by Mrs Julia McIntyre, Director of Music.
For the past few years Southwell has entered a team into the popular national Performing Arts event “ J Rock/Stage Challenge”. Students have thoroughly enjoyed these experiences and won many awards over the years. Participating in J Rock allows students to develop new dance/performance skills whilst also building their self esteem and increasing their confidence. The children involved co construct a performance piece in conjunction with a professional choreographer. Recent performances have been put together by the amazingly talented Sonja McGirr-Garrett. Year 5 -8 children are eligible to audition for this team.
In Year 8, Southwell students have the opportunity to play competitive Theatresports. A training squad is selected in Term 1 to take part in training workshops during Terms 2 and 3. In Term 4 a team is selected to participate in inter school fixtures and the regional Intermediate Competition.
Contact for further information
Mrs Angela Walker – Dean of Performing Arts
Mrs Julia McIntyre – Director of Music
Mrs Victoria Trenwith – Director of Instrumental Music
Mrs Kerry Jurgensen – Music & Performing Arts Administrator