Cultural catch up

1 May 2024

St Andrew's College 2023 Ballet Production, Trilogy.

REGULUS // ISSUE 1 // MAY 2024

Late 2023*

* Please note the use of 2023 year groups.

Ballet Production – Trilogy

At the end of 2023, the Ballet Academy dancers delivered exceptional performances in the Ballet production, Trilogy, which showcased three different performance presentations in one show. These were Kaleidoscope – a colourful fusion of dances, creating a kaleidoscope of artistic endeavours across the diverse genres of lyrical, contemporary, and jazz; Peter and the Wolf – a delightful ballet that tells the story of Peter, his animal friends, with a score composed by Sergei Prokofiev through which each character is represented by a distinct musical theme; and Winterscape – an original ballet created and choreographed by Ballet Academy Artistic Director, Dr Carolyn Cairns, which captured the spirit and beauty of winter, journeying from a misty landscape to an enchanting skating party. Public audiences were delighted by the shows.

St Andrew's College 2023 Ballet Production, Trilogy.Ballet

Femke McLean (Year 9), Charlotte Kyle, Neve Aitken (both Year 10), Tave Stuart (Year 11) and Siara Clark (Year 12), were selected to compete at the National Scholarship Awards in Wellington. Femke McLean and Tave Stuart progressed to the finals, with Tave achieving second place in the Ballet section. Neve Aitken (Year 10) and Cameron Lyons (Year 8) both gained entry into the Associates Programme with the New Zealand School of Dance for Contemporary and Classical respectively. Tave Stuart (Year 12) won second place in the 2023 New Zealand Classical Ballet Awards for NZAMD, held in late November in Wellington.

Ballroom Dancing

Holly Hembry (Year 8) competed in 17 events at the Aotearoa New Zealand Ballroom Dancing Championships, winning 12 national titles, three second placings, one third place, and a fourth place against tough competition.

Highland Dancing

Samantha Bilton (Year 9) won the New Zealand Highland Dancer of the Year U16 Championship in Nelson during the Term 3 holidays.

Hayley Nolan (Year 13) received a Diploma for Highland and National Dancing at the New Zealand Academy of Highland and National Dancing Conference. This means she is now fully qualified to teach and adjudicate Highland Dancing. At the Temuka competition, Hayley won Most Points U18, Most Points on the Day, and Most Points for the Year. She also competed in Ashburton where she won Most Points for Highland events U18 and Most Points local U18.

The Julie Hawke School of Highland Dance presented the Button Box at St Andrew’s College on Sunday 3 December. This involved performances by 22 students from the Preparatory School and six from Years 10–13. Each button from Granny’s ‘Button Box’ told a magical story of family history and travels through dance.

St Andrew's College student Hayley Nolan received many accolades for Highland Dancing.Music

Tamaroa Connelly (Year 12) had the national release of his track that made it onto the Play It Strange Peace song competition album. This was professionally produced as part of being a national finalist.

Ethan Waines (Year 7) and his brother, Caleb, received a standing ovation for their piano recital as part of the Rising Stars Concert Series.

Ethan Zhao (Year 7) earned Distinction in both ABRSM Piano Grade 7 and Trinity Violin Grade 7.

Pipe Band

Two key solo piping events were held over Labour Weekend. Top placegetters were:

Silver Chanter Solo Piping Championships

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

  • Tayla Eagle (Year 11): fourth B Grade 2/4 March, Strathspey/Reel;

  • Maggie McConnochie (Year 9): first C Grade Piobaireachd and 6/8 March, second 2/4 March and Hornpipe/Jig, Overall winner C Grade;

  • Sam Foote (Year 10): first C Grade Hornpipe/Jig, second Strathspey/ Reel, third 6/8 March;

  • Emily Brook (Year 10): second C Grade Piobaireachd;

  • Alice Glover (Year 7): second D Grade 6/8 March, third Piobaireachd;

  • George MacLean (Year 9): second D Grade 2/4 March;

  • Sam Jaspersmith (Year 13): third D Grade 6/8 March.

South Canterbury Solo Piping Championships

  • Maggie McConnochie (Year 9): first B Grade 2/4 March, second Hornpipe/ Jig, 6/8 March, third Strathspey/Reel, first in C Grade 2/4 March, Strathspey/ Reel, Hornpipe/Jig and 6/8 March;

  • Tayla Eagle (Year 11): second B Grade Strathspey/Reel, third 2/4 March, Hornpipe/Jig, 6/8 March.

Hororata Highland Games

The Hororata Highland Games in November 2023 was the first event of the new season for the Pipe Band, with many students competing for the first time and achieving some great results. The A Band won Grade 2, the B Band won Grade 4, and in the Juvenile Grade, the A and B Bands were first and second respectively. Individual placings were:

Solo Drumming – Snare

  • Daniel Liu (Year 10): first March, Strathspey and Reel, first C grade 2/4 March;

  • Theodore Lagias (Year 11): third D Grade Simple Time March.

Solo Drumming – Tenor

  • Alanna Brook (Year 10): second Open Grade, first Intermediate Tenor.

Solo Drumming – Bass

  • Quenn Lovatt (Year 13): first Open Grade, first Intermediate.

Solo Piping

  • Maggie McConnochie (Year 9): second B Grade March, Strathspey and Reel, first C Grade 2/4 March;

  • Anthony Song (Year 8): second C Grade 2/4 March.



Holly Thirkell (Year 9) was awarded a scholarship to a ballet school overseas.

St Andrew's College student Holly Thirkell ballet dancing.Choir

Matthew Lee (Year 13) was selected for the New Zealand National Secondary Schools’ Choir, which only auditions once every two years. Matthew rehearsed with the choir over the summer holidays and will be part of a national tour later in the year.


At the Evolution Dance National Finals held on the Gold Coast at the start of January, Jack Flanagan (Year 13) was first in the 16–20 years Novice Vocal Solo, first in 16–20 years Novice Any Style Solo, and Highest Scoring Novice Soloist 16–20 years. As part of his dance company, Jack’s group placed first in Adagio, Musical Theatre, and Broadway Jazz, and second in Musical Theatre.

Lucy Margison (Year 10) and Tave Stuart (Year 12) were in a dance team which provided entertainment at the opening game for the Canterbury Rams basketball team.

Highland Dancing

Georgia Gregg (Year 7) won the South Canterbury Championship Irish Jig U12 Georgia also won the U16 trophy and Most Promising Dancer at the Oxford Show.

Iaera Abrahamson (Year 4) won Most Points U10 and the Championship Sailors Hornpipe, and Nayana Abrahamson (Year 2) won Most Points 6 and Under and was runner up Most Points U8 at the the Balmoral Club Highland Dance Championship.

Siara Clarke (Year 13) won seven out of 10 dances at the Hastings Highland Games, including two North Island Championships and two Hawkes Bay Championships. She won the trophy for Most Points Under 18 years.


Hao Bo (Terence) Yang (Year 9) won a gold medal at the Trinity International Music Competition. Terence was also selected for the New Zealand Secondary Schools’ Symphony Orchestra 2024 (for flute).

Following a highly competitive audition process, a small group of students were chosen to participate in the New Zealand Secondary Schools’ Symphony Orchestra (NZSSSO) course to select a national full size orchestra made up of 80 secondary students from 33 schools from across New Zealand. The students were: Hao Bo (Terence) Yang (Year 9), Yuxin (Alice) Chen, Xinyi (Alicia) Chen, Ary Son, Cheryl Teng (all Year 10), Selena Zhang (Year 11), and Jasmine Hooker (Year 12).

Ethan Waines (Year 8) passed his ABRSM Violin Grade 8 examination and Trinity Horn Grade 5 examinations with High Distinction.

St Andrew's College student Ethan Waines passed his violin and French horn examinations with High Distinction.Orchestra

Ary Son, Xinyi (Alicia) Chen (both Year 10) and Alexander Allan (Year 9), spent a week in January attending the Auckland Philharmonia Summer School. The programme included rehearsals and coaching with players from the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra and culminated with a public concert in the Auckland Town Hall.

Pipe Band

Hawke's Bay Easter Highland Games

Piper, Maggie McConnochie (Year 10) won the Comunn na Piobaireachd Silver medal and the John Allan Magee Memorial Trophy at the Easter Hawkes Bay Highland Games competition. She also won the Under 21 New Zealand Championship Piobaireachd. These outstanding national achievements are unprecedented for a Year 10 student.

St Andrew's College piper Maggie McConnochie won a silver medal and a trophy at the Easter Hawkes Bay Highland Games competition.Placegetters were:

  • Maggie McConnochie (Year 10): first Comunn na Piobaireachd Silver Medal and Under 21 New Zealand Championship Piobaireachd, second B Grade Strathspey and Reel, first C Grade Strathspey/Reel, second C Grade 6/8 March;

  • Lucas Paterson (Year 13): third Comunn na Piobaireachd Silver Medal, second Under 21 Piobaireachd and Under 21 Strathspey and Reel;

  • Sam Foote (Year 11): third B Grade Medley, second Comunn na Piobaireachd Bronze Medal, first C Grade 6/8 March, third C Grade Strathspey and Reel;

  • Cameron Sharpe (Year 10): second C Grade 2/4 March;

  • Alice Glover (Year 8): first D Grade Piobaireachd, second D Grade 2/4 March and D Grade Strathspey and Reel, Overall Most points D Grade.

  • Finlay Trewinnard (Year 9): third D Grade Slow March.

Following is a wrap up of summer results:

Waipu Highland Games

Solo Piping

  • Maggie McConnochie (Year 10): third B Grade Piobaireachd, second U12 Piobeareachd and Hornpipe/Jig, winner of C Grade Fleming Shield for Aggregate Most Points, and Rev. MacFarlane Cup;

  • Emily Brook (Year 11): second C Grade Strathspey/Reel;

  • Alice Glover (Year 8): first D Grade Strathspey/Reel, second 2/4 March.

Solo Tenor Drumming

  • Alanna Brook (Year 11): first Open March, Strathspey/Reel, Hornpipe/ Jig, winner of Tony Purvis Trophy for Aggregate Open Grade champion.

Turakina Highland Games

  • Lucas Peterson (Year 13): first B Grade Piobaireachd, Hornpipe/Jig, fourth Strathspey/Reel, Aggregate B Grade champion;

  • Maggie McConnochie (Year 10): second B Grade March, third Piobaireachd, first C Grade Piobaireachd, second 2/4 March and Slow Air.

Provincial Championships

A group of 77 students competed at the two-day Pipe Band Provincial Championships in the lead up for the Pipe Band Nationals. On both days, the A Band won Grade 2 and Juvenile Grade, and over the two days the B Band was runner-up and winners of Grade 4 and second and third in Juvenile Grade.

Mackenzie Highland Show

Placegetters were:

Solo Piping

  • Charlie Gregg (Year 9): first C Grade 2/4 March and C Grade Strathspey/Reel;

  • Emily Brook (Year 11): first C Grade 6/8 and C Grade Piobaireachd, second C Grade 2/4 and C Grade Strathspey and Reel;

Tenor Drumming:

  • Alanna Brook (Year 11) first Intermediate March, Strathspey and Reel, and Open March, Strathspey and Reel.

National Youth Pipe Band of New Zealand

Harrison Justice (Year 13) and Daniel Liu (Year 11) have been accepted into the National Youth Pipe Band of New Zealand alongside existing members from St Andrews, Tayla Eagle (Year 12), Sam Foote (Year 11) and Lucas Paterson (Year 13). The band is preparing for a trip to Canada in July.

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