Cultural catch up

30 November 2023

St Andrew's College student Hayden Lam performing at the New Zealand Battle of the Bands competition in 2023.



Aiden Jia (Year 5) won gold at the H. C. Andersen International Art Exhibition in the Junior group.

Aurora Music Festival

The Symphony and Concert Orchestras had a wonderful time at the Aurora Orchestra and Concert Band Festival where they performed pieces by Beethoven and Tchaikovsky (amongst others) and saw the conducting debut for Sea-am Thompson (Year 12). After their performance they had a workshop with Pablo Ruiz.


In her first year of major competition, Alyssa Geddes (Year 8) competed in the South Island Ballet Awards, where she was one of the youngest dancers. Alyssa made the semi-finals against tough competition and was awarded the Associate Intensive Program Short-Term Scholarship at Melbourne Academy of the Arts 2023/2024. Alyssa also won a trophy for her Neoclassical this season.

Ballet Academy dancers (Years 1–13) achieved wonderful Ballet examination results, with Femke McLean (Year 9), Neve Aitken (Year 10), Charlotte Kyle (Year 10) and Siara Clarke (Year 12) also receiving a Scholarship Nomination. This is a special acknowledgement, awarded by the examiner, to a select few considered to be amongst the top level of New Zealand ballet dancers.

Tavé Stuart (Year 11) achieved High Distinction for her RAD Advanced 2 Ballet examination. This examination is usually taken by 18-year-olds, and it is difficult to earn a Distinction.

Ballroom Dancing

Holly Hembry (Year 8) competed at the top-level Ballroom Dancing Examinations, Oscars. Holly achieved an Honours level pass in all three types – Ballroom, New Vogue, and Latin, which is the highest pass mark able to be attained.

Battle of the Bands

Rock band, The E.C.H.O., consisting of Hayden Lam (Year 12), Ethan Lam (Year 10), Oliver Woodgate (Year 12) and Cadence Zhou from Papanui High School, played at the national finals of the New Zealand Battle of the Bands competition in Wellington in October. They competed in three knock-out rounds against many established adult bands to qualify for the finals, playing a 25-minute set consisting of six original songs and a cover.
Hayden Lam (Year 12) of The E.C.H.O.


Sea-am Thompson (Year 12) was one of nine choir members to sing in the first Choral Evensong service to take place in the Christchurch Cathedral since the 2011 Christchurch earthquake. This was a one-off service until the Cathedral is repaired and opened in 2028, and only members of the choir and clergy were allowed into the Cathedral for this experience.

Encore Choral Festival

In mid-September, hundreds of Year 7–11 students from St Andrew’s College, Christ’s College, Rangi Ruru Girls’ School, St Margaret’s College, The Cathedral Grammar School, and Medbury School performed at the Independent Schools’ Encore Choral Festival in the Christ’s College Assembly Hall. This included three group pieces as well as each choir singing two pieces. It was a delightful evening and celebration of song.


Bede Miller and Jonah Cropp (both Year 13) were nominated for the International Youth Silent Film Festival (IYSFF), a global competition that challenges young filmmakers from the USA, Australia, The UAE, and New Zealand to create a three-minute silent film, set to one of 10 musical scores composed especially for the festival. As well as being selected as a Top 16 finalist, Bede’s film, The Swap, won Best Cinematography and was nominated for Best Director, Best Shot, and Best Production Design, with Jonah nominated in the Best Actor Category for the same film. The top three winning films will compete in the Grand Final to be held in Portland, Oregon, USA.

Highland Dance

The following students passed their Academy of Highland and National Highland Dancing examinations with success:

  • Grade 5 and Irish Stage 1: Honours – Charlotte Kyle, Emily Brook (both Year 10), Samantha Bilton (Year 9);

  • Elementary: Merit Plus – Charlize Blakely (Year 11);

  • Intermediate: Merit Plus – Gemma Lewis (Year 13);

  • Irish Stage 3: Honours – Charlize Blakely (Year 11), Siara Clarke (Year 12), Hayley Nolan, Gemma Lewis (both Year 13); Merit – Madison Hughes (Year 12);

  • Sailors Hornpipe Stage 2: Honours – Siara Clarke (Year 12).

  • Georgia Gregg (Year 6) was runner-up U12 Most Points Overall at the Ashburton Highland Dancing Competition.

At the same competition, Adelyn Abrahamson (Year 5) was runner-up Most Points U10 and Iaera Abrahamson (Year 3) won runner-up Most Points U8. Iaera also won the U8 Highland Fling Trophy.

Two St Andrew's College Highland dancers had outstanding success at the Highland Dancer of the Year Competition:

  • Iaera Abrahamson (Year 3): Overall Champion 7 Years;

  • Sarah McCarthy (Year 8): Overall Champion 12 Years.


Mia Walker (Year 13) gained her ATCL in Musical Theatre with Distinction, an achievement requiring hours of dedicated work.

The following Preparatory School students successfully auditioned for representative groups in the 2023 Christchurch Schools’ Music Festival:

  • Junior Representative Choir: Annabelle Laurenson, Jessica Whitehead, Ruby Richards (all Year 5), XiaoYa (Cynthia) Zhou (Year 6);

  • Senior Representative Choir: Joy Zuo (Year 7), Matilda Atkins, Jacob Triplow (both Year 8);

  • Symphony Orchestra: Chloe Sha, Jacob Wang, Yunze Li (all Year 6), Ethan Waines, Ethan Zhao, Lexie Dong, Cong (Zilong) Chen, Baizhen (Tony) Chen (all Year 7), Annie Zhang, Anthony Song, Jaden Jia, Yutian (Tianna) Chen (all Year 8).

Pipe Band

Georgia Eagle (Year 13) has been appointed Drum Sergeant for the New Zealand Police Pipe Band. Georgia also competed in Juvenile Section 5 at the World Solo Drumming Championships in Glasgow, Scotland, placing fifth against the top Juvenile group of 19 competitors.

The following students won top placings at the following competitions:

Canterbury Drummers Club

Snare Drumming

  • Georgia Eagle (Year 13): third A Grade March, Strathspey and Reel, Hornpipe/Jig and third overall A Grade aggregate;

  • Connor Higgs (Year 13): first B Grade March, Strathspey and Reel, Hornpipe/Jig and first overall B Grade aggregate;

  • Ethan Lam (Year 10): first C Grade March, Strathspey and Reel, and overall C Grade aggregate;

  • Daniel Liu (Year 10): first C Grade Compound March;

  • Matthew Bluck (Year 10): first Novice Drum Pad;

  • Hunter Donnithorne (Year 6): first Novice Drum.

Tenor Drumming

  • Harrison Justice (Year 12): first Intermediate March, Strathspey and Reel, first Intermediate aggregate;

  • Lucy McIntyre (Year 12): first Intermediate Hornpipe/Jig.

Bass Drumming

  • Quenn Lovatt (Year 13): first Open Bass March, Strathspey and Reel, Hornpipe/Jig, first Open Bass aggregate.

Highland Piping Society of Canterbury

  • Lucas Paterson (Year 12): first B Grade Piobaireachd;

  • Sam Foote (Year 10): first C Grade Piobaireachd, 2/4 March;

  • William Nicholls (Year 8): first C Grade Strathspey/Reel;

  • George MacLean (Year 9): first D Grade Novice.

New Zealand Young Piper of the Year

A group of 15 St Andrew’s College pipers competed at the New Zealand Young Piper of the Year 2023, winning several podium placings. Those to finish in the top three were:

  • Lucas Paterson (Year 12): third U21 March, Strathspey and Reel;

  • Cooper Gallagher (Year 11): third B Grade 2/4 March, third Hornpipe/Jig;

  • Sam Foote (Year 10): third B Grade Strathspey and Reel, first C Grade Strathspey and Reel, third C Grade Hornpipe/Jig;

  • Maggie McConnochie (Year 9): third C Grade Piobaireachd, second 2/4 March;

  • Toby Cammock-Elliot (Year 13): first C Grade 2/4 March;

  • Emily Brook (Year 10): third C Grade 2/4 March;

  • Williams Nicholls (Year 8): third C Grade Strathspey and Reel, second D Grade Strathspey and Reel;

  • Alice Glover (Year 7): second D Grade Piobaireachd, second 2/4 March.

St Andrew's College Pre-school student posing with artwork at the Pre-school Art Exhibition.Pre-school Art Exhibition

This year’s Pre-school Art Exhibition was a little bit different, aligning with the College-wide goal of moving towards more sustainable practices. All art pieces created by the children had an element of recycled or reclaimed materials. On Friday 15 September, Pre-school whānau and other special guests were invited into the Pre-school to view the children’s creative efforts.

Rock Night

Seven St Andrew’s rock bands performed a set of two original songs and one cover at the second annual Rock Night at The Rolling Stone. It was a superb night with a large crowd of around 200 friends and family in attendance. The quality of the rock programme has gone from strength to strength, with this year’s tutors, Georgie Clifford and Michael Sumner, having a big impact.

Speech and Drama

The following students won major prizes at the Christchurch Speech and Drama Competitions:

Senior Competition

  • Christchurch Competitions Prize Own Selection Poetry: Oliver Wallace (Year 10);

  • English Speakers Union Scholarships: Aneel Bartlett (Year 6) Teresa Steiner (Year 10).

Junior Competition

  • Christchurch Competitions Scholarship and Christchurch Competitions Prize: Hudson Blyde (Year 7);

  • Gay Balch Scholarship: Anton Zhang (Year 9);

  • English Speakers Union Scholarships: Aneel Bartlett (Year 6);

  • Christchurch Competitions Prize Test Poem and Prize Light Verse: Reva Bartlett, Violet Winterbourn (both Year 3);

  • Christchurch Competitions Prize: Kevin Nguyen (Year 7);

  • Christchurch Competitions Prize Original Poetry: Jake Triplow (Year 8).

At the Christchurch Speech and Drama Competition, Violet Winterbourn (Year 3) won gold in four U8 categories and silver in two U13 categories. She was joint winner of the Trinity 125 Jubilee Cup for poetry recitals and won the Ann-Maree Bateman Cup for overall success in her age group. Ben McKendry (Year 6) was awarded the highest number of medals in the U12 category at the Christchurch Speech and Drama competitions – the Louisa Williams Cup, five gold medals, two silver medals, and one bronze medal.

A group of 11 Preparatory School students took part in the annual Papanui Rotary Junior Speech Contest for Years 5–8 at Heaton Intermediate School, with 77 students from nine schools competing. The following students were selected to appear in the finals in their age group:

  • Austen Fraser (Year 6) won the Year 6 Division;

  • Eva Crawford (Year 8) was third equal in the Year 8 Division;

  • Jessica Whitehead (Year 5) was Highly Commended in the Year 5 division.

Theatre Showcase

Year 12 students, Xanthe Pearce, Tamaroa Connelly and Jack Flanagan, organised an event for the College musical theatre community called Miscast. Students from Years 9–13, plus one staff member, sang songs that they would not usually be cast in. There was an enthusiastic turnout, with some fantastic performances, including a whole-group singalong at the end.

Vocal Concert

The annual Vocal Concert was held in the Centennial Chapel in September. The concert featured four St Andrew’s choirs, two barbershops, and nine soloists. The performers were applauded by an appreciative audience, and the evening was full of enthusiasm.

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