Creative Generation – State Schools Onstage

Image Credit: Queensland Government
Rhonda Davidson-Irwin
| July 17, 2018

I went to a fantastic performance on Friday afternoon for the Creative Generation – State Schools Onstage (CGEN). CGEN continues to give students, teachers and school communities an outstanding performance opportunity to be involved in a professionally produced, award-winning arena style spectacular.

Since its inception in 2005, the large-scale event has grown from a cast of 550 students to more than 1800 and is nationally renowned for its outstanding and vibrant display of state school talent. Four performances in all took place on 13 – 14 July at Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre (BCEC).

The experience gives students the chance to acquire new skills by working with some of Australia’s leading performers in a world-class venue. For many students taking part, it is their first time performing on an arena stage, while for others it is a valuable stepping stone in their career as young artists in the performing arts industry.

CGEN rehearsals provide an opportunity for students to display their talents and extend their networks with musicians, dancers and professional artists. Auditions, workshops and rehearsals give students a taste of the wider performing arts industry that has seen many Queenslanders achieve great success on the international stage.

The Queensland State Government has funded music specialists and instrumental specialists in the state school system for many years. This outstanding developmental curriculum is an exception rather than a rule on the national landscape. CGEN gives the opportunity for children from the ages of kindergarden until 17 years old to showcase their high level musical skills which is a direct correlation with the outstanding music education curriculum implemented in Queensland. Queensland is well known for establishing strong models for music education programs in schools and it would be great to see other states adopt similar models to boost music education even further across Australia.

CGEN is an audition based performance which gives the most advanced students the opportunity to shine. This incredible program is a unique and rewarding experience for both students and teachers. It celebrates access to the arts and encourages students of all levels of performance ability to get involved. It really is a testament to the principals, teachers, parents, caregivers, and most of all, students that CGEN celebrated fourteen years in 2018, continuing to bring entertainment excellence to all.

The outstanding and vibrant display of state school talent was on show with an incredible showcase that included a 500 voice choir, 76 piece symphony orchestra, The James Morrison Creative Generation Big Band consisting of 17 student musicians, more than 700 dancers, 35 featured vocalists ranging from Year 5 to Year 12, a massed strings ensemble, 50 massed and featured drumline performers, a drama company and student media crew, who all worked together to bring such memorable performances over four shows.

The deaf signing choir has been inspiring audiences since its first performance in 2005, and remote and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students, and students from culturally diverse backgrounds, have delighted audiences in CGEN year after year.

Host for these performances was Emily Dickson, who is also a host of the Network Ten preschool program, Crocamole.

CGEN is proudly presented by the Department of Education and sponsored by QUT, AEG Ogden, The Courier-Mail, Network Ten, Nova 106.9, The Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre and QSuper. While there are number of large events involving many children throughout the country, CGEN is exemplary in the high level performances by all involved.

It was a privilege for me to witness so many talented children doing what they love.  It was also wonderful seeing the expressions on so many of the faces of parents, grandparents and friends watching their children in musical action.

Here are examples of some of the ensembles featured:

  • playing instruments
  • ensemble playing
  • big bands
  • chamber string ensembles
  • orchestras
  • vocal groups
  • massed choirs
  • music theatre
  • opera
  • country and western
  • hip hop
  • classical
  • drum line

If you would like to have a taste of what the production is all about please watch when Creative Generation – State Schools Onstage 2018 is broadcast nationally on Network Ten at 1.30pm, 27 October.

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