2021 and on… Always United & Always Serving
ST DUNSTAN'S COLLEGE - PREPARATORY
St Dunstan’s College is a school dedicated to the Christian values of service, humility, and love in everything we do and at every level of our institution.
Our pupils strive for excellence in all aspects of their schooling including academic, cultural and sport.
Cultural activities usually take place from 14:15 to 15:00 each day (depending on the cultural programme for the term). Cultural activities take precedence over sport during these times – especially on Mondays.
The Cultural Department regularly participates in local, regional and national festivals during the course of the year.
The school offers a wide range of cultural and musical opportunities that allows our pupils to explore their unique talents.
The school now offers Music as a matriculation subject.
ST DUNSTAN'S COLLEGE
Drama & Eisteddfod
ST DUNSTAN'S COLLEGE - PREPARATORY
Cultural Report 2020
January 2020 started unlike any other year. The College Cultural Department welcomed the new Grade 8s with open arms at their Orientation Day in the style of an Amazing Race. The newly formed Cultural Committee, under the leadership of Joy Roberts, were bubbling with enthusiasm to get things underway. SDC’s Got Talent got a makeover and took us to Hollywood for a spectacular evening of entertainment. Congratulations to Mathabo Matlou, 2020’s winner!
Our Junior and Senior Debating Teams hit the ground running after a successful 2019, with every intention to improve on previous endeavours. The Choir, Starburst, Marimba Bands and Orchestra continued to build on the solid foundations they had been so earnestly nurturing years before. Our House Play directors, FEDA directors and casts were hard at work conceptualising and creating some of their best work yet, and it was finally time for our School Production, A Chorus Line, the Broadway musical. Yes indeed, 2020 was going to be the year to remember.
The Preparatory School was ready, the Music Department under the leadership of Mrs Susan van Straaten was well on its way, getting settled into another exciting first term. The E John Butler Centre for the Arts was awakened after its summer break with the sounds of flutes, clarinets, violins, pianos and for the first time, trumpets. The Junior and Senior Marimba Bands were back in the swing of things and the Preparatory Orchestra was going back to basics, strengthening the future of the ensemble. Performances were the norm, during assemblies, even a morning concert for parents to attend. The Grade 7s participated at the Public Speaking Festival and many were hard at work preparing for much anticipated eisteddfods, festivals and the St Dunstan’s College Concerto Festival together with the East Rand Youth Orchestra, who regularly fill the auditorium with orchestral delights reminding us to pause every now and then, to appreciate the gift that the centre, now officially two years old, had to give. The Junior Preparatory School were getting ready to fly a magic carpet in search of a mystical magic lamp and the Senior Preparatory were getting ready for a Shakespearean epilogue.
Then it all happened…just like that the rug was pulled from under us. Just as we gained momentum, we were told to stop…to stop everything. No piano. No violin. No singing. No dancing. No marimba. No orchestra. No plays. No debating. No public-speaking. Just silence. Silence. Quiet.
We have, since April 2020, been anticipating the return of many of our Cultural delights. This period has certainly taught us that the Arts is certainly not to be taken for granted. The students of the St Dunstan’s Community did not allow this pandemic of COVID-19 to put a stop to what they hold most dear…enriching their souls. Music eisteddfods continued online, debating continued online, singing, piano, drama and even violin lessons and sessions continued online. Our students are resilient beings. Their journey in the Arts has taught them to not allow the adversities of this world to hold them back but to rather dig deep and keep on pushing. There can be no success in the Arts without grit.
As the COVID-19 regulations were gradually relaxed, our students, with much grit, participated in the Noorderkruin Arts Festival, Con Grazia Arts Festival and the Youth Arts Festival, just to mention a few. Even Trinity College London developed an online examination platform, which allowed our students to further engage and complete their Music and Drama exams for which they have been hard at work preparing for. Our Junior Debating team continued with their competitions, albeit on an online platform. They consistently achieved excellent results, competing regularly. Ranked 7th in the province, only to be denied a place in the semi-finals of the Gauteng Schools Provincial Debating Championships. Congratulations to Jennifer Hintze who ranked 13 in the top 20 Junior Speakers and who was selected to attend trials to be a part of the Junior Gauteng Delegation.
Our Preparatory School’s DanceSport team continued to participate in online competitions. The results were outstanding with six dancers receiving their Gauteng Colours and invited to the Inter-Provincial Tournament in November. Congratulations to Alexandra Vinnicombe, Hunter Ellinas, Emily Geldart, Alyssa da Silva, Danica Adlam, Lily-Jane Scott and their coach Mark Dooley on this achievement.
The College Music Department ended the year with a musical soirée. This afforded the Grade 12 students with one last encore on the auditorium stage. After almost six months without a concert, the school community was taken on a whirlwind journey. The students of the Cultural Department were also given the opportunity to bid adieu and farewell to our College Director of Music, Mrs Denise Roderick. We wish Mrs Roderick well on her retirement and thank her for her dedication and love for music and in particular the passion to nurture.
Many thanks to all the teachers of the Cultural Department. Your determination and dedication towards your students is unending. You have remained steadfast as you accepted the challenges of this year. Thank you to Joy Roberts, our outgoing student Head of Culture. Joy has continued to lead ensuring that the students of the department do not lose sight of the bigger picture. Her resilience and focus has allowed her to be an outstanding role-model for our cultural students during this challenging period.
As we look back at 2020 we will certainly have moments of sadness, but let this not deter from what the Arts teaches us. Ronald Reagan said, “The arts […] teach us who we are and what we can be. They lie at the very core of the culture of which we’re a part.” At St Dunstan’s College, the E John Butler Centre for the Arts prides itself as being the soul of the school. If anything, it has been a beacon of hope of what we as a community are capable of. We must never lose sight of this beacon. The gift of the Arts has taken us, and will still continue to take us, on the journey of our lives…all we have to do, is to decide to hop on. Next stop…2021.
Amir Ruari Petersen
Director of Culture and Arts