Hunter's music students showcase their star power

REPRISE PERFORMERS: Jake Cronin and Teya Duncan. Picture: Marina Neil
REPRISE PERFORMERS: Jake Cronin and Teya Duncan. Picture: Marina Neil

THE Hunter’s most talented music students have come together at the inaugural Reprise showcase, to perform works by artists ranging from composer William Schuman to rock band The Mars Volta.

Warners Bay High music teacher and Reprise founder Chris English said he was a ‘‘big supporter’’  of Encore, an annual program at the Sydney Opera House of outstanding performances and compositions by students from the previous year’s Higher School Certificate Music examinations.

‘‘But it can be difficult for schools around the Hunter to get to,’’ Mr English said.

‘‘This was an opportunity to showcase the outstanding talent we have in the region, in front of Hunter school groups to give them a tangible idea of the calibre of what is expected from them in their upcoming studies.’’

The 14 state school students who performed on Friday were selected for inclusion by a panel of HSC markers, after their teachers sent in video submissions.

Teya Duncan, 18, said she was ‘‘honoured’’ to perform at Reprise, where she sung Popular from the musical Wicked.

‘‘I remember seeing a solo female vocalist at Encore and that really showed me what I needed to do to get a band six mark,’’ she said.

‘‘Music was my favourite subject at school, it was a bit of freedom’’: Teya Duncan. Picture: Marina Neil

‘‘Music was my favourite subject at school, it was a bit of freedom’’: Teya Duncan. Picture: Marina Neil

The former Merewether High student received a mark of 95 for Music 1, with her four performance majors comprising Popular, On My Own from Les Misérables, Who You Are by Jessie J and Laura by Bat For Lashes.

‘‘Music was my favourite subject at school, it was a bit of freedom,’’ she said.

‘‘I would sing as a break from studying, because it didn’t feel like studying.’’

Teya has been acting since she was seven years old and started singing lessons three years ago.

She is now studying a combined Bachelor of Politics, Philosophy and Economics and Bachelor of Arts majoring in Sociology at the Australian National University.

She plans to become a political adviser but continues to be involved in music, performing acoustic gigs in Canberra and participating in musicals and competitions at her university.

Drummer Jake Cronin, 17, played Wax Simulacra by The Mars Volta.

The former Muswellbrook High student started drumming in year seven and was encouraged at the end of year 10 to consider the piece as one of his performance majors.

‘‘I heard it and asked my teacher, ‘Are you joking?’’’ he said.

‘‘Many hours of work went into getting it right and then on the big day my stick snapped, but I held it together for dear life and just kept playing, I was too scared to stop.’’

TALENTED: Muswellbrook High's Jake Cronin. Picture: Marina Neil

TALENTED: Muswellbrook High's Jake Cronin. Picture: Marina Neil

Jake chose a variety of performance majors for his HSC to show the breadth of his skills; Set Fire To The Hive by Karnivool; Chameleon by Herbie Hancock and his own drum solo.

He received a mark of 97 for Music 1 and starts a Bachelor of Music at the University of Newcastle’s Conservatorium next week.

Jake hopes to become a professional drummer and tour the world.