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Cultural catch up

Regulus // Issue 2 // August 2023

More news for Cultural

Arts in Action

Just over half of the Year 7–8 students shared some of their in-class arts learning with family and friends in the Centennial Chapel. The wide-ranging performances were enjoyed by the audience and included short drama scripts, puppetry, films, chamber music, ballroom dance, and musical performances with xylophones, ukuleles, and boom-whackers.


A group of 27 Secondary School Ballet dancers, Years 9–13, enjoyed their two-night performance at the Dancing Like the Stars event at the Christchurch Town Hall – James Hay Theatre. The dancers performed a new contemporary piece as invited 'Guest Artists’. For most, it was their debut on this iconic stage.

Tave Stuart (Year 11) was first in the Ballet Championship (15 years and over), Ballet Variation (15 years and over), and Champion of Champions, at the CTDTA competition. Tave also competed in the South Island Ballet Awards 2023, where she reached the semi-final in a touch competition. She also did well in Christchurch competitions, receiving the following results:

  • First in Neo-classical, and Barefoot;
  • Second in Variation, and Ballet Championship;
  • Best All-rounder Performance;
  • Committee Choice Cup.

Alyssa Geddes (Year 8) was part of the Canterbury Ballet Junior Contemporary Team, All Human Beings, who received the first nomination at the Christchurch competitions to compete at PACANZ – New Zealand’s National Dance Competition. They head to Palmerston North in October to compete against some of the strongest dance teams in the country.

The Ballet Academy enjoyed three full days of classes with Specialist Dance Educator, Neve Pierce, from the Royal New Zealand Ballet (RNZB). Year 3–8 dancers experienced new repertoire from the RNZB production of Romeo and Juliet, and the Secondary School dancers learnt new ‘concerto’ style performance pieces, for presentation later in the year.

Ballroom Dancing

Holly Hembry (Year 8) competed at the 2023 Kiwi Classic Ballroom Dancing Championships in Auckland, winning six events against competitors from Auckland and Australia, including Pro/Am events, while being partnered with Enrique Johns from Dancing with the Stars. Holly was also crowned Juvenile Princess for being the most outstanding female juvenile competitor at the competition. Holly’s outstanding success continued at the New Zealand One Dance Ballroom Championships, where she took part in 28 events over two days and came away with 28 first placings. This meant she won the Champion of Champions trophies in two age divisions – Pre-Teen (up to 13) and Teen (up to 16).

Big Sing

Our three choirs performed at the regional Big Sing competition, which involves schools from across the Canterbury region. During the day each choir shared their competition set of three songs and in the evening, they joined all other choirs who each shared one song from their set. It was an enjoyable evening with a wide range of music, with VOX16 winning Best Mixed Choir.

Cathedral Tour

Sea-am Thompson (Year 12) was one of the first 20 people chosen to have a guided tour of the damaged Christchurch Cathedral in late May. Previously only engineers, architects, and workmen were allowed onsite.
Sea-am has been a member of the Cathedral choir since he was eight years old and is currently a choral and organ scholar, singing at six services a week.

Chamber Groups at the Great Hall

Chamber groups 9 Valves 3 Bells – Naomi Dana (Year 13), William Ruge (Year 12) and Yuxin (Alice) Chen (Year 9), and Trio de l’Aube – Miu Kim, Jasmine Hooker (both Year 11) and Sea-am Thompson (Year 12) performed at The Great Hall in The Arts Centre in the Rising Stars Chamber Music Lunchtime Concert.

Chamber Music Contest

Seven groups from St Andrew’s College took part in the Canterbury District round of the 2023 NZCT Schools’ Chamber Music Contest, the largest number yet. This included two groups from the Preparatory School. There was a high quality of musicianship from the members of 9 Valves 3 Bells, and Trio de l’Aube. Pickle – whose members include Hao Bo (Terence) Yang, Alexander Allan (both Year 8) and Cong (Zilong) Chen (Year 7), received the Best Newcomers Award. Hidin’ In Strowan, made up of Baizhen (Tony) Chen, Lexie Dong, and Ethan Waines (all Year 7) received the Adjudicators Award. This is the first time a St Andrew’s group has received this award in over a decade.


The senior choirs, Stacchorus and VOX16, went ‘on tour’ to Oamaru, Dunedin, and Waihi School. Their tour concluded with a performance in the Centennial Chapel on Friday 2 June.

The Staccoro, Stacchorus, VOX16 choirs, and the Senior and Junior Barbershops performed at an annual lunch-hour concert at St Mary’s Pro‑Cathedral. The performance was well received and finished with a combined item of the three choirs singing My Heart’s in the Highlands.

Cultural Showcase

In late June, the Cultural Council put on their second Cultural Showcase for the year, which consisted of Theatresports games, a trumpet trio, a jazz combo, senior hip hop, a singing duet, and a monologue from a Year 10 Drama student. Donations of $65 were collected for the Christchurch-based charity, Full Bellies, which supports school children by providing packed lunches.


Zhenan (Jayden) Lai (Year 6) is featured in a new dance show, KPA Battle Squad, which launched on TVNZ in June. KPA Battle Squad features children aged seven to seventeen who do street dance styles and compete in Dance Battles. There are eight 15-minute episodes, and each episode is accompanied by eight five-minute tutorials/lessons by some of the best street dancers in New Zealand.

Highland Dance

Siara Clarke (Year 12) performed with the Highland Dance Company of New Zealand at the Virginia International Tattoo, held in Norfolk, USA. Siara successfully auditioned to be a member of this touring team, along with Old Collegians, Milly Christie, Brianna Sloper (both OC 2022) and Charlotte Sloper (OC 2020). The Highland Dance Company of New Zealand was among a cast of more than 800 performers, with bands from the US Army, Navy, and Marine Corps joined by civilian and military performers from seven nations.

Siara then had outstanding success at the Highland Dancing New Zealand Championships in Tauranga, winning the 2023 Overall New Zealand Champion of Champions U18 title. She won four individual New Zealand Championship titles in the U18 Highland Reel, Irish Reel, Irish Jig Single Time and Irish Jig Double, and won Best Presentation and Interpretation over the 10 events.

At the same competition, Charlize Blakely (Year 11) achieved a ninth national ranking in U16 grade. Sarah McCarthy (Year 8) won the South Auckland Championship Highland Reel and was Runner-up in Champion 12–14 Years. Iaera Abrahamson (Year 3) was the Runner-up U8 Champion.

The following students have had success at various competitions:

  • Iaera Abrahamson (Year 3) was the overall U8 champion at the Marlborough Nelson Championships. She was Runner-up Most Points U8 at both the Otago Centre Annual Championship Competitions and the North Canterbury Highland and National Dancing Association Competition. Iaera also won the U8 Highland Fling and was Best Dressed at the Christchurch Competitions Society Highland Competition;
  • Nayana Abrahamson (Year 1) won Most Points 6 and Under at the North Canterbury Highland and National Dancing Association Competition. She also won the Youngest Competitor Trophy at the Otago Centre Annual Championship Competition, Most Points 6 and Under at the Christchurch Competitions, and was Runner‑up Most Points 6 and Under at the Caledonian Competition;
  • Adelyn Abrahamson (Year 5) won the Highland Fling trophy U10 and a summer school dance scholarship at the Christchurch Competitions Society Highland Competition;
  • Sarah McCarthy (Year 8) won Most Points 12 and U14, and the Seann Triubhas Trophy, receiving a special medal for the most outstanding performance in the Highland Fling at the Otago Centre Annual Championship Competitions;
  • Georgia Gregg (Year 6) won the U12 Sword Dance Merit Award and was second in the U14 Sailors Hornpipe at the Fairlie Show Competition.

The following Preparatory School Highland dancers all successfully passed their New Zealand Academy of Highland and National Dancing examinations:

  • Getting Started in Dance Level 1: Nayana Abrahamson, Alissa Alborough, Sophie Bennett, Ruby Bradbury, Eleanor Nortje, Riley Squire (all Year 1), Ava Blyde, Iselle Bromhead (both Year 2);
  • Initial Honours: Iaera Abrahamson, Emily Syme (both Year 3);
  • Initial Merit Plus: Violet Winterbourn (Year 3);
  • Preparatory Merit Plus: Adelyn Abrahamson (Year 5);
  • Preparatory Merit: Agnes Buist (Year 4);
  • Grade 1 Honours: Georgia Gregg, Sarah-Charlotte McKay (both Year 6);
  • Grade 1 Merit Plus: Tayla Ford (Year 7);
  • Grade 1 Merit: Aysha Adair (Year 7), Chloe O’Donnell (Year 6);
  • Grade 3 Honours: Sarah McCarthy (Year 8);
  • Grade 3 Merit: Alice Glover (Year 7).

Conductor, Mark Hodgkinson, with with chamber group Hidin’ in Strowan – Ethan Waines, Baizhen (Tony) Chen, and Lexie Dong (all Year 7).Music

Christine Jeon (Year 12) performed as a soloist with the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra (NZSO) in the Michael Fowler Centre. She performed the Elgar Cello Concerto in a stunning performance as part of the NZSO’s Young Artist Showcase series. Christine says the performance was a dream come true, made even more special by the fact she had been struggling for months with a hand injury and wasn’t sure if she would be able to perform. However, as soon as she started playing, she says she felt comfortable and that the performance was an amazing and emotional experience.

Tamaroa Connelly (Year 12) was named as a finalist in the Play It Strange Peace Song Competition and has won a recording contract to the value of $750.

Luke Brown (Year 13) was awarded Best Bassist at the Ara JazzQuest Gala Concert.

Chloe Wang (Year 5) received a Gold Award at the Christchurch School of Music (CSM) Music Festival, in the woodwind beginner class.

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

  • Junior Representative Choir: Annabelle Laurenson, Jessica Whitehead, Ruby Richards (all Year 5) and XiaoYa (Cynthia) Zhou (Year 6);
  • Senior Representative Choir: Matilda Atkins, Jacob Triplow (both Year 8) and Joy Zuo (Year 7);
  • Symphony Orchestra: Annie Zhang, Anthony Song, Jaden Jia, Yutian (Tianna) Chen (all Year 8), Ethan Waines, Ethan Zhao, Lexie Dong, Cong (Zilong) Chen, Baizhen (Tony) Chen (all Year 7), Chloe Sha, Jacob Wang and Yunze Li (all Year 6).

Cheryl Teng (Year 9), was second in the Concerto Movement Performance 12 Years and Over for violin, as well as the Most Promising Award, at Hutt Valley Performing Arts Competitions.

Sea-am Thompson (Year 12) was third equal in the NZCF Big Sing choral composition competition.

Pipe Band

Maggie McConnochie (Year 9) won the Comunn na Piobaireachd Bronze Medal event at the Hastings Easter Highland Games. This highly technical competition attracts the best solo pipers from around New Zealand and to win it at such a young age is an outstanding achievement. Competitors display musical and technical skills in Piobaireachd, the ancient, classical form of bagpipe music. Sam Foote (Year 10) placed third in the same event which was also a great achievement. Pipe Band Director, Richard Hawke, says Maggie is developing into an outstanding piper. “Maggie is naturally talented with her very musical ear for tone and musical interpretation. She is dedicated and ambitious. This has resulted in her achieving major solo piping successes during 2023, including her winning the B Grade Strathspey and Reel event at the 2022 Piper of the Year Competition, and being the youngest piper in the successful St Andrew’s A Band which won the National Juvenile title and was runner-up in Grade 2 at the National Contest.”

Pipers, Samuel Jaspersmith (Year 13) and Sam Foote (Year 10), performed at the Rangi Ruru Girls’ School Founders’ Day Assembly in May. St Andrew’s College has provided pipers for this event for more than 10 years.

Highland Piping Society of Canterbury Indoor Solo Piping Competition

Students to achieve a first placing in an event at either of the Society’s two competitions were:

  • B Grade: Lucas Paterson (Year 12), Sam Foote (Year 10);
  • C Grade: Maggie Connochie (Year 9), Sam Foote;
  • D Grade: Alice Glover (Year 7), Ryley Medland (Year 10);
  • Novice: George Nicholls (Year 5);
  • Practice Chanter: William Keir (Year 5), Liam Stronach (Year 5).

Canterbury Drummers’ Club Solo Drumming Competition

Students to achieve a first placing in an event at either of the Club’s two competitions were:

Snare drumming

  • A Grade: Georgia Eagle (Year 13 – first overall A Grade Aggregate at both events);
  • B Grade: Hayden Lam (Year 12), Daniel Liu (Year 10);
  • C Grade: Daniel Liu (Year 10), Ethan Higgs (Year 11);
  • D Grade: Radha Gamble (Year 9), Benjamin Edward (Year 7), Femke McLean (Year 9), Jack Shearer (Year 10), Konnor Chamberlain (Year 11);
  • Novice: Hunter Donnithorne (Year 6), Oliver Gilbert (Year 8).

Tenor Drumming

  • Open: Harrison Justice (Year 12): first Open Aggregate at both events;
  • Intermediate: Emily Watt (Year 10), Dara Ballard (Year 12);
  • Novice: Sophie Barnes (Year 10).

Bass Drumming

  • Intermediate: Quenn Lovatt (Year 13);
  • Novice: Alanna Brook (Year 10).

Piper, Maggie McConnochie (Year 9) with her bagpipes.Otago King’s Birthday Annual Solo Piping Competition

Twelve St Andrew’s College pipers, with support from bagpipe tutors, travelled to Dunedin to compete in the Otago King’s Birthday Annual Solo Piping Competition. There was a great deal of success with the following students achieving a top three place. First placegetters took out Otago Championships:

  • Cooper Gallagher (Year 11): first U12 Strathspey/Reel;
  • Maggie McConnochie (Year 9): third B Grade Hornpipe/Jig, first C Grade Strathspey/Reel;
  • Tayla Eagle (Year 11): first U16 2/4 March;
  • Sam Foote (Year 10): third U16 2/4 March, first C Grade Hornpipe/Jig, second C Grade Strathspey/Reel, third C Grade 6/8 March;
  • Charlie Gregg (Year 8): second C Grade 2/4 March;
  • James Anthony (Year 11): third C Grade 2/4 March;
  • Cameron Sharpe (Year 9): third C Grade Hornpipe/Jig;
  • Alice Glover (Year 7): first D Grade Strathspey/Reel, third D Grade Piobaireachd, Most Points D Grade Lady Piper;
  • William Nicholls (Year 8): second D Grade 2/4 March.


Nine St Andrew’s College bands performed at the Rockquest Canterbury heats, with three bands The Afterglows, The E.C.H.O., and Adrenaline, selected out of 80 bands to be among those qualifying for the regional finals. Of these bands, The E.C.H.O. placed third, and was invited to submit a music video of three original songs for the national finals.

Recent happenings and cultural successes at St Andrew's College.