Co-Curricular Performing Arts

SCAS is known for its Performing Arts Program both in the region, across the state and nationally. It has been recognised in all three disciplines of Music, Dance and Drama by NESA (NSW Education Standards Authority) and continues to set the benchmark in the region for the delivery of an outstanding Performing Arts Program.

Performing Arts at SCAS provides an innovative continuum of teaching and learning from K–12, through our expansive curricular and co-curricular program.

The co-curricular program at St Columba is an ever expanding program that provides opportunities for all students across the school. It is known locally and nationally for its excellence.

PACE (Performing Arts Centre of Excellence) was launched in 2015 as a result of the amazing growth that we have achieved over the past 12 years. The school boasts an impressive co-curricular Program. We currently have 30 ensembles across these three disciplines with over 80% of students involved in one or more of these ensembles across the Primary and Secondary schools. The program includes Music, Drama and Dance. The program caters for students of all abilities and backgrounds. It offers a place for students that are new to the Performing Arts and also offers extension and enrichment activities that push our top students into the realms of professional performance.

In 2017 we opened the highly anticipated Performing Arts Centre (The Iona). This centre houses all co-curricular activities, PACE ensembles and also provides opportunities for community engagement and commercial use. The facilities of the new centre are outstanding and provide a wealth of possibilities for students within the program.

These include:

  • The 320 seat Black Box theatre
  • The Libby Baker Orchestral Rehearsal Room
  • Vocal rehearsal studio
  • Drama studio
  • Dance studio
  • 12 practice studios
  • Purpose-built instrument lockers
  • 3 state-of-the-art music classrooms
  • Entertainment industry and technology training spaces
  • Offices, staff room and kitchen facilities.


SCAS ensembles cater for musicians of all ages and abilities, and provide a great opportunity to meet other students. Our extensive co-curricular music program caters for students of different levels of ability and skill.

SCAS prides itself on the demonstrated excellence of its ensembles.

In order for students to be considered for inclusion in a specialist ensemble, it is an expectation that students will regularly attend at least one of the following ensembles:

  • Primary Choir - Years 3 to 6
  • Senior Secondary Choir - Years 7 to 12
  • 6-8 Concert Band - Years 6 to 8
  • Senior Secondary Concert Band - Years 9 to 12

Membership of elite ensembles is at the discretion of the Directors of our inclusive ensembles and is determined in consultation with Mr Mark Brown. If a student is not showing sufficient commitment the Director reserves the right to release that student from the group.

Band Program

The band program is designed to develop musicianship, ensemble skills, technique and leadership.

Concert Band Techniques Ensemble (Year 5+)

This ensemble meets weekly. It provides an introduction to the concert band and ensemble playing techniques and is for students from Year 5+ who have played a band instrument. These include trumpet, trombone, flute, clarinet, saxophone. Students should have at least one semester's experience.

Years 6 to 8 Concert Band Mrs Amy Corrigan

The Years 6 to 8 Concert Band program was developed as a new ensemble in 2016 to provide a pathway for Year 5 Concert Band class ensemble students and complements the already established Secondary Concert Bands. This ensemble aims to bridge the gap between the Primary School program and the Secondary School program.

Senior Concert Band (non-auditioned) Mr Mark Brown

The Secondary Concert Band is a group open to all students. This band gives students an opportunity to experience playing a wide range of musical repertoire. The Concert Band is under the direction of Mr Mark Brown and is suitable for students in Years 9 to 11.

SCAS Equinox Big Band Mr Andrew Blackmore

Formed in 2009, this is a specialist Jazz Ensemble. Membership is by invitation and provides opportunities for students to develop advanced ensemble and improvisational skills appropriate to the Jazz idiom. Students perform both at school and in the wider community at a variety of events and concerts.

Jazz Quintet - Student Led

This is a student led ensemble that performs at a variety of school events such as Columba Day, An Evening of Fine Music & Fine Food, Musical Magic at Bago and other social events.

Secondary School Stage Band Mr Mark Brown

The Stage Band provides further musical avenues for advanced music students. The ensemble is under the direction of Mr Mark Brown. The Stage Band consists of a standard rhythm section (drums, piano, bass and guitar) plus a full horn section (trumpets, saxes and trombone). In addition there will be two to three vocalists.

Strings Program

Primary String Ensemble Ms Amy Finnecy

The String Ensemble caters for novice string players in Years 2 to 5 with a focus on skills, music reading and ensemble playing in a small ensemble before progressing to the String Orchestra. Students also have a lesson with a private tutor on a weekly or fortnightly basis.

String Orchestra

The String Orchestra is for students in Year 5 to Year 12 who play an orchestral string instrument competently. The Orchestra enjoys playing in a broad range of genres from standard classical pieces, film and theatre music, folk tunes and popular numbers.

Da Camera Mrs Lassalian Ciampa

Da Camera provides an avenue for advanced string and woodwind players to perform chamber works from the Baroque and Classical periods. Membership to this group is by invitation.

Primary Guitar Club

Primary Guitar Club is for students in Years 3 to 6 wanting to learn some basic guitar skills in a fun environment. The club is open to anyone with an interest in playing guitar and guitarists master four basic chords to play songs that are current and would be still heard on the radio.

Rock Band - Student Led

This is a student led ensemble that performs at a variety of school events such as Columba Day and school socials.


St Columba Anglican School has one of the largest and most dynamic vocal programs in the state, catering for students of all ages and abilities. The standard of the ensembles is very high, as is the level of participation. We have an excellent balance of boys and girls involved. Developing leadership skills, musicianship and love of music is the main focus of all ensembles.

Primary Vocal Program

Stage 1 Choir (non-auditioned)

Our youngest students in Years 1 and 2 are catered for with weekly rehearsals. Singing from such a young age is good for the development of a child’s ear and overall musicality — and in a fun environment children learn quickly.

The focus in Stage 1 choir is on developing good pitch and a lovely clear tone. The music is simple but enjoyable and we strongly encourage boys to join at this stage. We work hard to make sure the music we sing is something both boys and girls enjoy. This is our most important choir as it sets the foundation for the rest of our program.

Stage 2 and 3 Choir (non-auditioned) Rose Wilson and Adam Kennedy

The Stage 2 and 3 Choirs are open to any students in Years 3 to 6 and there are no auditions.

Repertoire is more challenging than the Stage 1, and includes part singing and ear training exercises as well as learning good vocal techniques. Focus in the Stage 2/3 Choir is on pitch, tone and harmonising. We are very aware of selecting repertoire that both boys and girls enjoy and don’t classify voices into alto and soprano at this age. We encourage students to sing their full range and develop their ability to sing harmony lines. This choir also supports and extends the work students do in the music classroom. Boys whose voices have started to change are also carefully managed in this choir.

Iona Voices (auditioned) Rose Wilson

Iona Voices is a selective choir for students in Years 3 to 6. Members need to undergo an audition process.

In order to be eligible for selection, students need to be members of the appropriate Stage Choir. Repertoire is challenging and includes multiple part singing and a wide variety of repertoire.

Focus in on developing strong choral technique and musicianship as well as performance technique. Iona Voices will be developed into our main performance choir for Primary School and we plan to create several performance opportunities through the year.

Senior Vocal Ensembles

To be eligible to participate in other senior vocal ensembles you must be an active member of the Senior Choir. Any exceptions to this must be approved by Mr Mark Brown after application in writing from a parent or caregiver.

Senior Choir – Years 7 to 12 (non-auditioned) Ms Marie Van Gend

The Secondary Choir is a dynamic group of over 100 members and is dedicated to developing a love of choral singing in our Secondary students. Members of this group perform various styles of vocal music, gain an understanding of vocal techniques and develop confidence in their singing. The group performs music from a wide range of repertoire at school productions, workshops and concerts throughout the year. The Secondary Choir is open to any interested students without audition.

Commitment is important and participation in the Senior Choir assumes that students attend regular rehearsals and prioritise performance events throughout the year. (These will be published early in 2019).

The focus of the Senior Choir is on pitch, tone, harmonising, rhythm and adolescent voice management. All members of the choir have voices in a constant state of change, and we work hard to try to accommodate that and make singing enjoyable and comfortable.

Iintombazaan – Girls in Years 7 to 12 (non-auditioned) Rose Wilson

This ensemble is for girls who want to experience a female vocal ensemble but aren't ready yet to commit to Iintombi Zicula. There are no auditions and members are expected to meet once a week at lunchtime.

Iintombi Zicula - Girls in Years 9 to 12 (auditioned) Rose Wilson

Iintombi Zicula is an elite, auditioned ensemble for senior girls that performs both sacred and secular music. Rehearsing weekly, students have the opportunity to extend their vocal technique, develop sight singing skills, appreciate blending and balance in a vocal group, develop presentation techniques and enhance their understanding of different styles of music. This ensemble is re-auditioned each year.

Chamber Choir – Years 7 to 12 (auditioned Ms Marie Van Gend

This elite, auditioned ensemble focuses on the classical repertoire. It is involved in outside performances on a regular basis. Members have the opportunity to be challenged by some of the most beautiful choral repertoire written over the last 400 years as well as contemporary works. Commitment expectation is high.

Man Shed – Boys in Years 7 to 12 (non-auditioned) Adam Kennedy

Man Shed is a non-auditioned ensemble but they would probably still call themselves ‘elite’. It is a dynamic group dedicated to the art of male singing. Their repertoire ranges from the classical to the ridiculous and there is a strong emphasis on developing choral leadership skills. Man Shed is always a crowd favourite with exciting and dynamic performances, often full of humour and wit. Despite the light and relaxed atmosphere of rehearsals in Man Shed, commitment and attitude are still very important and standards are high.


Students on St Columba’s campus can participate in dance education across their whole schooling life. With age-appropriate training from preschool through to the Higher School Certificate and every special stage in between.

Secondary Dance Elective

“Dance as Study”

St Columba teaches the NESA curriculum for Dance in Years 8-12. As an Elective subject, Dance in these secondary years develops student’s capacity for performance, composition, technology and critical appreciation. It’s a great asset to have a syllabus, regulated by the NSW Education Standards Authority that identifies the crucial aspects of dance that students should know and understand about this artform and industry. Our dance education is aligned to a government developed syllabus, which has stage-appropriate outcomes and is taught by accredited, specialist teachers.

Co-Curricular Stream

“Dance as Theatre”

This Dance stream is open to any student interested in furthering their technique and stage experience.

Pre School STEAM Dance

Pre-school aged children from CCELC experience co-curricular exploratory dance for half an hour sessions throughout the week during the day.

Primary Co-Curricular Mrs Ashleigh Olsen (Kindy, Infants) , Mrs Danika Martin (Years 3/4 and 5/6)

There are four Primary Dance Ensembles: Kindergarten Dance, Years 1 -2 Infants Dance Group, Years 3-4 Dance Group and Years 5-6 Dance Group. Our Primary Co-Curricular stream offers before-school morning classes of 45 minutes duration. These groups are open to all Primary students in a completely inclusive dance environment.

Secondary Co-Curricular Mrs Brianna Lukes

Secondary Co-Curricular Stream caters for students entering the Secondary School Dance Program for the first time as a bridge from Primary School Dance and is suitable for students aspiring to develop and refine new skills that will perhaps lead them into other groups in the future.

For students in Years 7 to 12, co-curricular sessions run from 3.30pm to 5.30pm each Monday afternoon. Multiple groups will run during this time in our various studios.

The Co-Curricular Stream promotes dance as theatre and students who elect this stream are involved in an annual large-scale production at the Glasshouse Theatre, as well as school showcases and events. The Co-Curricular Stream is totally inclusive, absolutely free of competition and is designed around promoting each student’s exposure to different styles of dance, including jazz, musical theatre, lyrical, classical, contemporary and national character. Students enjoy the costuming, sets, props, spectacle and theatricality of dance.

Classical Ballet Ensemble Miss Elissa Pringle

The Classical Ballet Ensemble is available for students to learn classical ballet technique and artistry as well as pas de deux and corps de ballet repertoire. This group is open to all students from Years 5-12 wishing to develop and refine their classical ballet technique.

All Co-Curricular groups are open to new students until week 4 each year. After week 4 the groups will be closed and will be accepting no new members. If your child wishes to be involved in a Co-Curricular dance group they just need to turn up to rehearsals. Times for rehearsals can be found under 'Performing Arts Timetables'.

To find out what your child should wear to rehearsals in various groups please go to 'Policies and Procedures'.

Touring Stream

“Dance as Promotion”

The Touring Stream is an intensive program aimed at the extension and enrichment of our gifted and talented dancers. It aims to present elite routines in a variety of styles (including Contemporary, Musical Theatre, Lyrical and Jazz). These groups perform to a range of audiences including competitions, concerts and showcases, both locally and abroad. Students must be involved in ongoing, regular external tuition and/or Elective Dance study at school and must be undertaking the Co-Curricular program to be considered as a member of this group. The touring streams are selective groups, with selections being made from the Co-Curricular dance groups in term 3 of each year for commencement in term 4 that same year. If your child wishes to be a part of a touring stream they must be a dancer in the Co-Curricular groups in order to have a chance of being selected.

Primary Dance Touring Stream (years 3-6) Miss Roxanne Montgomery

Secondary Dance Touring Stream Miss Elissa Pringle

The Touring Stream has a Primary and Secondary Touring Stream who travel to participate in competitions, including the Sydney Eisteddfod and other events where dance is Promotion. We plan to expand where and when we travel and to diversify the competitions we enter.


Drama co-curricular opportunities run in conjunction with and in addition to the elective Drama program at SCAS.

Drama at St Columba Anglican School is a consecutive journey from the Primary School through to the Secondary School, building a body of knowledge of the elements of Drama and the theatrical traditions and performance styles of the world.

The collaborative nature of this artform engages students in a creative process where they can communicate in complex and powerful ways how they perceive the world. Learning experiences in Drama engage the whole person.

Throughout the year there are many opportunities to attend high quality professional productions and workshops as well as multiple opportunities to perform for a public audience.

Some of our past productions and musicals at SCAS include:

  • Godspell (2007)
  • Much Ado About Nothing (2008)
  • Antigone (2011)
  • Charlie and The Chocolate Factory (2012)
  • Glasshouse Spectacular (2012)
  • The Popular Mechanicals (2013)
  • Disney’s Aladdin Jr (2014)
  • The Government Inspector (2014)
  • The Caucasian Chalk Circle (2015)
  • Midsummer Night’s Dream (2016)
  • Beauty and The Beast (2017)
  • Matilda (2019)

Co-curricular Drama opportunities available at SCAS include:

Years 5 and 6 Drama Ensemble

The Year 5 and 6 Drama Ensemble is an ensemble formed in 2017 aiming to provide an opportunity for students to develop technique and build a love for theatre and performance. Growing in popularity each week since its initiation, the energetic students are learning the skills of improvisation and working collaboratively to physicalise their ideas. Laughter is shared as we explore the creation of characters and narratives which will culminate in a performance aiming to bring to life an intriguing children’s book.

Primary Drama Ensemble Mrs Isabella Mistry

Students from Years 7 and 8 who are keen to develop their interest and skills in Drama have the opportunity to be involved with Junior Drama Ensemble who become the Character Chorus for the biannual Musical. This group aims to build students knowledge of performance and their skills in an encouraging, ensemble focused environment.

Senior Drama Ensemble Ms Ella Lakin

Students from Years 9 and 10 who are part of the Elective Drama Course are able to take their love and commitment of the artform further through their involvement in the Senior Drama Ensemble. The Senior Drama Ensemble are members of the chorus and can have minor speaking roles in the Secondary Drama Production Showcase. They are also involved in a variety of sections at the Port Macquarie Drama Eisteddfod and possible other small public performances.

Students are able to audition for both of these ensembles at the beginning of the school year.

Circus Troupe Mrs Catherine Grootenboer Mrs Kylie Rosenbaum

The Circus Troupe meet weekly to train in using various circus equipment such as unicycle, poi and hoops with acrobatics and physical theatre to create a contemporary circus piece for a public performance. Any students from Years 5 to 12 are welcome to join Circus Troupe at the beginning of the year.

Blank Canvas @ SCAS Mrs Catherine Grootenboer

Blank Canvas is a theatrical/special effects make-up group who design, practise and then utilise their skills to support Performing Arts productions such as the Secondary Drama Production, Biannual Musical, Circus Troupe and Dance Showcase. Interested students from Years 7 to 12 are welcome to apply to be part of this group. All enquiries on how to apply should be made to Mrs Catherine Grootenboer.