Blackfriars music students have returned from the 2023 Generations in Jazz Festival, buoyed by their results and the experience.
And for Year 12 student and saxophonist Stefan Zienkiewicz, that experience was extra special, his outstanding performances earning him a place in the Generations in Jazz Division 3 Superband.
“After our performance, I felt like I did really well, like I couldn’t have played any better,” said Stefan, who is considering a career in music.
“When the time came to announce the Division 3 Superband, I was very happy to hear my name called. It was almost a feeling of relief, as I now know that I really did play the best I could.”
Blackfriars took 30 students, from Years 6 to 12, to the Mount Gambier festival, the first in-person Generations in Jazz since 2019. Of those 30 students, only four had previously attended the festival.
For Music Captain Harry Boyd-Turner, his final Generations in Jazz Festival was “incredible”.
“Generations is one of those things you just need to be there to experience,” he said.
“I previously went to generations in 2017, ’18, ’19 until covid interrupted it and we had the three-year break. Going back to GIJ this year was just incredible. I had forgotten just how fun it was and how many people you meet and reconnect with. The event will by far be one of my favourite experiences throughout all my schooling and the memories I made there will last forever.”
Led by Head of Performing Arts Lucy Pope, Stage Band 1 placed 4th of the 19 schools their division and was the 2nd-placed South Australian school. There were outstanding solos as part of the performance from Stefan, as well as Max Roque (Year 10), Edward Glatz (Year 11) and Matthew Wright (Year 12).
Stage Band 2, performing in a non-competitive division, also received excellent feedback and encouragement. Their performance included great solos from Simon Mazzarolo (Year 9), Finn Juhasz (Year 7), Ben Rodrigues (Year 10), Dominic Canil (Year 11) and Lucas Semcesen (Year 8).
“On Friday night, students attended a welcome dinner and opening concert featuring musicians from Victoria and South Australia,” Ms Pope said.
“Saturday night after the performances, we were treated to a concert from Swedish Funk/Fusion group Dirty Loops. This was their only Australian performance, and they blew the roof off the tent with their outstanding performance.
“Later that evening, we all debriefed at our accommodation about the highlights and successes from the day over pizza. This was a special bonding time for everyone and one of my most cherished memories from the weekend. It is what the weekend is all about for me – seeing that cross year level collaboration, culture and friendship that is built over the weekend.”
Ms Pope was “so proud of all the boys” and said every student took “something from the weekend”.
“All boys behaved so well the whole weekend and operated as a team and as a family,” she said. “They all played as well as they possibly could have and, at the end of the day, that is what matters, not the score.